Next Up Festival was Dundee Rep's first Youth | School's Festival for 11 to 19 year olds. Nine very different groups performed over the weekend. The groups had spent some time over the past months devising completely new work around the theme of the 'American Dream' inspired by Dundee Rep's recent Ensemble performance of 'Death of a Salesman' by Arthur Miller.
I think this is a wonderful opportunity for the young people to perform in a professional working Theatre. It is all fine 'performing' in the shcool hall or classroom but once you are put on a real stage with real lights shining on you that's when i think you seperate the wheat from the chaff and you truly know yourself if a life in the theatre is for you or if it's just a hobby. I remember it well and i was terrified back then but hey if you really love it you've got time to keep learning it and practising it!
I was leading workshops over the weekend on how to devise from the sensory led area of my practice. I had mostly 11 and 12 years old in my workshop who i think did exceptionally well as it is not an easy workshop. The groups were all very brave and focused during it and much like adults who experience a similar workshop of mine (and sensory led work) the response was mixed from loving it to look warm to a bit afraid and not too sure at all.
Hopefully everyone who took part in my workshops experienced something that they have not before which i feel is very important. If we don't keep putting different ways to make theatre in front of young people then how can they work out how to push boundaries, take risks and be the next visionaries when making theatre...
I have a soft spot for Dundee Rep; being originally from Dundee, my Mum took me along there as a child who was being bullied at school. It is where my love for drama and theatre began so it was really special to be working with the Rep and the young people on this project.