Big Spirit Youth Theatre
All Youth Theatres should be like this.
John Southland, National Theatre Director
The Big Spirit Youth Theatre was founded in 1984 at the Queen Mother Theatre to offer actor training and performance opportunities to young people aged 14 to 18. Since then, Big Spirit (formerly known as the Bancroft Youth Theatre) has helped actors learn the skills of performance and many have gone on use their talents professionally.
Training is given through a mixture of workshops and appearing in shows; so you are putting into practice what you learn in front of a paying audience as soon as possible. This unique approach means that virtually anyone can learn how to perform confidently and competently in a very short time. Of course, performance skills are useful for everyone, whether you are planning to become an actor or not and the social life of the group is great too!
Over the past few years the Big Spirit has presented several excellent productions including Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as an adaptation of Oliver Sachs’ book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Brecht’s Mother Courage and a physical theatre version of Golding’s The Lord of the Flies. In April 2006 Big Spirit performed Brecht’s Mr Puntilla and His Servant Matti.
Big Spirit have also written a number of original productions include the musical Half Moon Street whichs follows the fortunes of the Mazerin family and their neighbours in Half Moon Street as the bombs fall on London during the Second World War, and Runaways, which tells the story of a boy who runs away from home and lives on the streets of London.
Big Spirit regularly send productions to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and have scored some notable successes over the years:
- 1992: Teechers, by John Godber
- 1996: The Drowned and the Saved, by Primo Levi
- 1997: Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
- 1998: Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
- 1999: Beautiful Thing, by Jonathan Harvey
- 2010: Junk
Not sure about joining Big Spirit? Check out the Big Spirit FAQ, and if you still have questions or concerns you can contact the Youth Theatre Director using the “Contact Us” form.
A brief history of the youth theatre was written in 2006 — a lot more has happened since!