About The Young Phoenix
The development, training and education of young people has been a fundamental aim of this organisation from not long after its inception in the late 1960’s. The first Young Phoenix was established in the 1970’s and its first ever stage production was “Rock Nativity”.
Numbering at the time some 40 to 50 young people, mostly from the town of Blyth, the company went from strength to strength, not only presenting musicals and plays – “Grease”, “The Sound of Music”, “The King and I”, “Half a Sixpence”, “Billy Liar” to name but a few – but also attending theatres and various other types of performances throughout the region, gathering experience and expertise as they did so.
Such was the strength and popularity of the group, probably going on to number over 100 in strength, it became unwieldy, almost unmanageable, or, in simpler terms, we just didn’t have a stage big enough to put them all on! Hence, the approach to what we offered young people was considerably revised, the emphasis shifting to development, training and education as well as performance. The group, which meets regularly, now has a theatre induction programme focussing on basics, including health and safety issues in the theatre, and auditions annually for membership. Currently, the membership stands at c 45 and has a three year waiting list of auditionees!
Soon to be added to the Young Phoenix curriculum will be the opportunity to work towards externally recognised and authenticated qualifications in drama and theatre arts.
Many of our young people go on to become adults in the Phoenix taking on all sorts of responsibilities, and many go on to full professional training, carving out for themselves a niche in the very competitive world of theatre and entertainment.
Experience of the Young Phoenix is not solely associated with creativity and progress as a performer or as part of stage staff. We hope that the youngsters leave us with enhanced levels of confidence and various skills, such as self presentation, which help to equip them for whatever confronts them later in life.
The theatre’s Executive Director takes a personal interest in this group and its development, and is currently Regional Youth Arts Champion.