Liverpool based theatre company 20 Stories High is gearing up for a busy summer of performance and festivals with two brand new shows created and performed by the young people of Liverpool.
With the two charmless little sods next door having nothing better to do but witless scheming to break into my house on a regular basis these days, Home Alone Wet Bandits style, it is always nice to be reminded of the great opportunities for young people in this city – and also, the incredible talent that can be brought out with young people’s theatre.
20 Stories High is a local charity that works with and for teenagers and young adults, and has been working with young people from excluded communities since 2008, sticking firmly to their belief that “everybody’s got a story to tell, and their own way of telling it”.
First off the Young Actors Company will be presenting HEADZ – a series of new, contemporary urban monologues written by co-artistic director and award winning writer Keith Saha, at the Playhouse Studio. With 11 different monologues performed over 4 nights, HEADZ offers a gritty, challenging and humorous insight into the lives of young people in Liverpool 2014.
Saha says: “Our young actors often find it difficult to find monologues with characters that they recognise and who they can relate to that represent who they are and where they come from. So I took it as a challenge to write them. I was really inspired by Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads series when I was a teenager and took that as an influence. Young people are dealing with very complex situations and are living in extremely challenging times. Hopefully these stories will shine a light on some of the stories we don’t get to hear.”
Meanwhile over at the Bluecoat, the younger Youth Theatre will be performing STANDARD under the direction of guest director Rachel Brogan (Television Workshop, Salford and Working Girls Theatre Co) and 20 Stories High young assistant director Bradley Thompson. The show follows thirty young pioneers that have 3 days to create a new society during a residential. But what begins merely as a college exercise takes them to their emotional limits and changes their lives forever.
As well as these two show a third, Tales from the MP3, is also in the pipeline previewing at the Everyman before embarking on a national tour.
Co-artistic director Julia Samuels says: “Our professional touring shows have earned us a reputation for high quality, hard-hitting plays about the issues that affect young people today but it is our participatory work with young people from Liverpool and across the UK that really makes us unique in the theatre world – everything we do revolves around the young people we support and work with.
“This summer we’re heading to lots of festivals with our young people’s shows including Contacting the World in Manchester, The Big Event and FLUX here in Liverpool before we hit the road on our next professional UK tour, Tales from the Mp3 which will see us perform at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the very first time!”