Twenty-five unemployed young people and Elder Tree members took to the stage on Friday 14th February to create and perform a show about society and stereotypes at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
The performance, called ‘Limbo’, was the result of a three-week Truth about Youth ‘Experience Performing Arts’ course funded by The Co-operative Foundation and delivered in partnership with The Prince’s Trust.
The course saw young people partner with members of Elder Tree, a local over 50s befriending service, to launch a play that challenged perceptions and, increase skills and confidence amongst the unemployed 16-25 year olds to help them get into education or find employment.
Aaron Deakins, 18, from Estover, who heard about the course from Careers South West, says: “Before coming onto the course I’d been working in a warehouse, but then I lost my job and was applying for around five jobs every week with no success.
“I’ve always been interested in acting so doing this course, and working with professional directors, gave me a proper idea of what it’d be like and has also helped rebuild my confidence.”
Josie Taylor, 55, from Crownhill, who was part of the Elder Tree over 50s performers, says: “I enjoyed working with the young people, especially sharing stories with them during the practical sessions. The Truth about Youth project really highlighted how hard it can be for young people today, even for those with good qualifications. This performing arts programme is a great way for them to build their self esteem, boost their qualifications and give them a chance for their voices to be heard.”
Jane Pawson is Young People’s Producer at Theatre Royal Plymouth. She said: “This project has allowed the group to develop skills, not just in performing but also skills that will benefit them in lives going forward. They are learning about being creative, sharing ideas, listening to others and taking risks, all helping them develop their confidence. The performance they created brought the audience right into heart of the performance and hopefully left them questioning the views they came in with.”