As part of our #PlayaLeadRole Kickstarter fundraising appeal, we’ve been asking young people to tell us what impact youth theatre has had on their lives. Over to Laura Burns, a previous youth theatre member of Strange Town in Edinburgh. Laura is now studying to be a primary school teacher at Stirling University:
Undoubtedly, my experiences with youth theatre have positively impacted many areas of my life. Within Strange Town, at 14, I was able to develop not only friendships, but working relationships. These relationships are dependent upon trust, in light of a looming performance, or even during it. Having experiences in a cast – a team- is so valuable for young people. These experiences create an understanding of the benefits of an interdependent, supportive team- crucial life skills, needed outside and beyond the stage.
During stressful school exam years, youth theatre gave me a socially creative outlet. As increasing pressure is put on young people, it is important to remember how valuable and innovative their creativity can be. Without this outlet, so much creative capacity could be lost. Speaking personally, it was through opportunities to be creative with others that I was able to do well, the group being my distraction, creative project, and support network all in one. Performing as part of a cast gave me unprecedented confidence. I was able to experience performing in front of 100s as a character. Youth theatre enabled me, gradually, not to need the character to hide behind to be confident.
Throughout Strange Town, I was given the opportunities to attend events such as [Youth Theatre Arts Scotland’s] “youth theatre symposium”. I will always remember how refreshing and inspiring it was to be amongst as event where people were passionate about helping improve young people’s lives and future chances, through the medium of drama. I felt as though my creative potential was valued and recognised.
While youth theatre did not lead me to acting, the lifelong skills have enabled me to do and be so much more. I now know the importance of giving people an opportunity for a creative outlet. The powerful feeling of working cooperatively during a performance I am passionate about with people I am close to will stay with me.
You can play a lead role in transforming young lives by backing Scotland’s National Festival of Youth Theatre 2017 at www.kickstarter.com until 23 June 2017.