National Theatre Connections 2015: Hood

In preparation for the unveiling of “Hood” next week, we recently conducted an interview with Jon Davies, a drama worker from Eden Court who has been the running Invergordon Youth Theatre for over a year now.

Have you enjoyed working with IYT so far?

Yes, absolutely! Invergordon Youth Theatre were the first youth theatre group I met and worked with when I first come into the Eden Court Arts Worker role back in October 2013. The youth theatre was already established, by my predecessor and there were already a core of dedicated and hard-working individuals within the group.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to work with young people who are enthusiastic about theatre and are willing to put in the dedication and graft that is needed to achieve good theatre.

What projects have you been doing with IYT?

IYT have done a lot in a short period of time really, we started by working on a devised piece inspired by the work of Rabbie Burns for the annual Eden Court Burns Extravaganza event, which was performed at Eden Court. We also learnt and recorded two flashmobs for Eden Court’s Commonwealth Flashmob Relay, which are still on youTube for all to see. As part of the event they attended the Queen’s Baton Relay event in Dingwall where they performed live with several other schools and Youth Theatre groups.

Our biggest performance so far, was our production of Michael Murpurgo’s Private Peaceful which we put on to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. We rehearsed twice a week and the pupils successfully put on a fantastic production over three nights to paying members of the public back in June 2014.

I’m extremely proud of the pupils in that production and the money raised from that show allowed us to apply to take part in the National Theatre’s Connections Festival in 2015.

IYT are currently working on Hood can you tell us what this play is about?

Well, without giving too much away, our main character is a girl called Hood, who’s Mother has run off with a bacon licking vegetarian and her Dad is spending his days and nights lost in a chair, feeding his addiction to the music of ‘The Waterboys’.

There’s no money left, Hoods four siblings are bouncing from pillar to post and interfering Father Tuck just won’t leave the dysfunctional family alone.

But our modern-day family of misfits are determined to keep the family together, whatever it takes…

How is the play progressing?

It’s progressing well, like I said the youth theatre are a dedicated bunch but I do ask a lot from them with regards to their commitment and time. It’s not easy to come to rehearsal and remain fresh after a long day at school and I’m really proud of the work, and subsequent play we have developed.

I really wanted the group to have ownership of this play rather than me shout directions at them and I think it has made a better, more energetic and engaging production having them incorporate their own ideas for characters and direction.

Can you tell us about NT?

NT Connections is the National Theatre’s annual festival of new plays for youth theatres and schools.

The 2014 Connections cycle involved:

• 10 Writers

• 230 Youth Theatre Companies

• 5,000 Young People

• 684 Performances

• 26 Partner Theatres

• 25,000 Audience Members

Connections began 20 years ago when teachers and directors told the NT that they wanted exciting and challenging new plays for young actors. Since then the NT has commissioned and published more than 140 plays for Connections, giving young people aged 13-19 across the UK and Ireland access to the very best new writing for theatre.

Invergordon Youth Theatre where accepted to take part in 2015 and we chose to perform Katherine Chandler’s new play Hood as part of the festival. This is a such a fantastic opportunity for youth theatre groups as they get to perform new work specifically for young people and perform it at our home venue (Invergordon Academy). But then take it to the four day festival held at Eden Court and perform on the OneTouch Stage to the other eight Highland youth groups, as well as visiting National Theatre directors.

Why should you go see Hood?

It’s young people you know, doing new and exciting theatre on your doorstep, for the price of less than a bottle of pop! Come and support  Invergordon Youth Theatre, Invergordon Academy and the young people who have been working so hard to make play for you! You never know… you might see the next Karen Gillian on stage!

Whats next for IYT?

I’ve already got ideas for the next production I would love to do with the youth theatre, but my focus is still on Hood, so ask me when we’ve struck the set next week!

PERFORMANCE WEEK:

Tuesday 10th March – Public evening performance 19.00, £2.00 per ticket

Wednesday 11th March – Public evening performance 19.00, £2.00 per ticket

Hood 3 Hood 2 Hood 1

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