Next month Sherman Youth Theatre will perform The IT (27-29 February), a timely new work by Vivienne Franzmann. The IT is the story of one girl’s struggle with, and mounting rage against, the pressures of growing up in our world today and the future that awaits her. The IT will follow the success of previous Youth Theatre productions including The Bangers and Chips Explosion and Ageless.
Performed by a cast of 18 young people, aged 16-18, the play follows Grace Freemantle, a teenager that feels something – a rage and frustration that starts to grow inside her. It becomes alive. But what is it? Why is it here? Is her future all planned? Perhaps the past holds her back? Should that matter with the world in chaos? Chaos, that like this thing inside she cannot control. This thing is The IT. The IT wants to speak and very soon she won’t be able to stop it. The IT is about the pressures and the uncertainty that young people feel about the world that is being left for them.
Sherman Youth Theatre’s production of The IT will receive its first performances in late February prior to further performances at Sherman Theatre as part of the National Theatre’s Connections festival in April. For the Connections festival each year the National Theatre commissions 10 new plays by some of the UK’s most exciting playwrights, which are for, and about, young people. Each play is performed exclusively by schools, colleges and youth theatre groups at regional festivals which showcase the best of Youth Theatre.
The IT, will be directed by Sherman Theatre’s Creative Engagement Manager Timothy Howe. Timothy said; “This play examines how the pressures of the world around our young people can foster a rage of frustration and hopelessness, ultimately leading to explosive results. Audiences can expect a visceral, honest and at times, disturbing physical production that makes adults feel uneasy and guilty, whilst making young people say “Yes! Yes! That’s me!”
Sherman Youth Theatre has been a springboard for many careers into the arts, on and off stage, with past members going on to drama schools such as Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and LAMDA, as well as having the opportunity to appear in Sherman Theatre’s annual Christmas shows through the highly coveted Apprentice Actor scheme. This year Youth Theatre participants have developed a wide variety skills through being involved in all aspects of the production, from creating their own marketing image, working collaboratively with a professional theatre designer (and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama graduate) Emma Thérése Boomer to create the set and costume designs, as well as creating their own unique sound design for the play too. Timothy explains: “The participants guide the theatre professionals to areas they want to explore – we then provide them with exercises or opportunities to look into this further. It is our role within the process to help them learn from these experiences and help them gather skills which they can apply to any environment, not just a theatrical one. Theatre is place for equipping our young people with skills that will make them better human beings.”
Sherman Theatre will host the National Theatre’s Connections Festival from April 16th – 18th.