Award-winning writer and Associate Director of Theatre Royal Plymouth, NICK STIMSON, chats with us about YMT's new musical FIGHT LIKE A GIRL, which will premiere at Dean Clough this summer.
We're looking for a group of young people who aren't afraid of a real challenge and want to tell a compelling contemporary story in a contemporary way. It's going to be a physically and emotionally demanding show with members of the company learning how to box and all will be heavily involved in the creative process - so, if you haven't already, you should book your audition and come join us.
About the show:
Fight Like a Girl is the story of Shan and her younger sister Jess. Shan’s been fighting all her life. Fighting the world around her. Fighting the system. Fighting herself.
Aged just 12 and 10, Shan and Jess are removed from their abusive home by Social Services and placed into care. Once in the system the two girls lose contact with each other as Shan is moved from foster home to foster home. Each failed attempt to settle ignites Shan's aggression and a reluctance to trust those around her. Shan’s overriding wish is to be reunited with her sister but, unable to control her anger, Shan finds herself locked in a Young Offenders Institution: the end of the line. In her cell her rage consumes her and she vows to take revenge on those who have hurt her.
Back on the streets Shan encounters a group of discontented young people. Among them she recognises Zoe, a friend from the past. Zoe takes Shan to a boxing gym and suddenly Shan’s life changes. Shan's a natural. A born boxer. A real talent as a fighter. Talent enough to go to the top. So begins Shan’s journey to being a champion. Along the way she is reunited with her sister and then, quite unexpectedly, for the first time in her short life, Shan falls in love...
Every character in this show, female and male, will have a complete journey. It’s a hard-hitting show in more ways than one, full of street dance, up-tempo music, heart-breaking story and comedy, but at its heart, it's a story about love.
Why should people get involved with YMT?
Being involved in a YMT show is the experience of a lifetime. It is very demanding but at the same time incredibly rewarding. To be involved is to shape new musical theatre. Company members will work intensively and will learn a wide range of new skills. They will also be working directly with musical theatre professionals and will discover they are not patronised but challenged to deliver performances of the highest standard.
What/who should young people research in the arts?
Go and see the great musicals. Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Oklahoma! etc. Go and see any musical - even if it’s terrible you’ll learn something.
A warn and deserted island miles from a phone.
THE most important question: Scone (as in stone) or Scone (as in gone)?
I’m from Devon, the home of the scone. (As in ‘gone’. Anything else is wrong.) Also it’s cream on first followed by the jam.
If you want to take part in FIGHT LIKE A GIRL or one of our other seven shows in the YMT 2016 Season, book your audition NOW!
Win a pair of top-price tickets to the smash-hit musical!
It’s Billy’s birthday! On Tuesday 12 May, Billy Elliot the Musical marks 10 years in the West End. One of the most celebrated, award-winning musicals on stage today, Billy Elliot has been dazzling London since 2005, and has gone on to captivate audiences around the world. Now we’re offering Youth Music Theatre UK members the chance to see the show in its 10th birthday year, with a pair of top price tickets up for grabs.
Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy Elliot the Musical is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dream come true. Follow Billy’s journey as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever. With unforgettable music by Elton John, sensational dance and a powerful storyline, Billy Elliot the Musical is an astonishing theatrical experience will stay with you forever.
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
Billy Elliot joins a class specialising in what form of dance?
Ts&Cs: Prize valid for Monday – Thursday evening performances only. Tickets are subject to availability; non-transferable and exclusions apply. Blackout dates apply (12 May; 25 – 30 May). Travel costs are not included in this competition.
***** (5 stars)
Shaftesbury Theatre, London - Thursday 23 October, 2014
Memphis is the story of the birth of rock 'n' roll, and a tale of two people trying to achieve their dreams set against the backdrop of 50s America and the brutal segregation of that time.
The show opens with a high-octane rip-roaring song and dance number that sets the tone for the entire piece abd this high energy remains throughout, only subverted during the more sombre, delicate moments, which are handled expertly by the performers. The show also uses some clever devices most notably a sliding skateboard to remove singers when the radio dial is changed during the department store scene.
Beverley Knight is incredible as Felicia; her vocal range and ability are as good, if not better as anyone I've seen in the West Eend... Yes, she is a recording artist but she is also without question a true leading lady. Killian Donnelly is also exquisite as the rebellious tour de force that is Huey Calhoun. Playing the role with all the charisma and punch that it so desperately requires.
The choreography is strong, the dancing breathtaking and the band is incredible. Other standout performers are Jason Pennycooke (Bobby) and Tyrone Huntley (Gator) who offer truly flawless performances that made me both laugh and cry.
The piece gives a candid representation of the division and hardship that was evident during that period in history and the writing, direction and delivery handle and serve it impeccably.
Whether you love the blues or not (and who doesn't?) all in all this is a show I would implore you to see. It received a rapturous standing ovation and never has it been so richly deserved.
Memphis is currently playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London. Book now: http://www.memphisthemusical.com/
**** (4 Stars)
Shaftesbury Theatre, London - Thursday 23 October, 2014
There was an air of excitement and expectation at the opening night of Memphis at the Shaftesbury Theatre and the London Premier did not disappoint.
Set in 1950s southern America in an era of racial hatred, segregation and violence, Memphis follows the story of a small-time DJ, Huey Calhoun, and his dream to share black music with his radio listeners. “White people won’t listen to black music” was the protestation from radio station owner, Mr Simmons. But of course, station ratings go through the roof as the catchy rock and roll music transcends racial divides.
Stunning harmonies, infectious rhythms and fantastic choreography are executed with skill and style. The eagerly-anticipated performance from Beverly Knight does not disappoint. Knight’s heartfelt portrayal of the conflicted star-singer Felicia Farrell is notable, fortifying and enriching with her breath-taking vocals. Killian Donnelly also gives a standout performance as the loveable rogue with charming quirkiness and offbeat comedy.
Not only a quality piece of West End entertainment, Memphis is rich with socio-political history and does not shy away from the horrific acts and injustices of the time. At times, the message of racial harmony is preaching to a converted cosmopolitan London audience, nevertheless, the song "Say A Prayer", which brought a close to Act One certainly made me sit up and listen. Huey and Felicia have been attacked by white mob for their interracial relationship, and in the chaotic aftermath, Gator (Tyrone Huntley) - a young man, mute since his father was lynched - breaks his silence with a beautiful message. "Say a prayer that change will come" resonated with the ongoing racial, religious and sexual discrimination that still troubles human-kind in modern times.
Far from the many juke-box musicals that crowd out the West End, Memphis is full of original hits, vibrant choreography and a story that will hook you from start to finish.
Memphis is currently showing at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London - tickets can be booked here: http://www.memphisthemusical.com/
*** (3 Stars)
Southwark Playhouse, London - September, 2014
Set in the vibrant city of San Francisco in the rock ‘n’ roll year of 1963, this remarkable show follows the complicated relationship of the eager young Marine, Eddie Birdlace, with the gentle, charming waitress, Rose. Along with his fellow Marine chums, ‘The Bees’, Birdlace embarks on his final night out, before leaving for Vietnam the following morning. Their journey takes them on a whirlwind ride, they’ll never forget.
The story is told effortlessly by the talented cast and flows smoothly through Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s beautiful music and lyrics along with, YMT's Catfish! The Musical’s own, Lucie Pankhurst’s, quirky and bright choreography. Although the show as a whole takes time to gather momentum, once it does you won’t want it to ever end! Each performer is as dynamic as the next and the chemistry between the entire cast was a joy to watch, both on and off stage. Combining a great balance of emotional solos along with high-energy group numbers, the show offers a splendid variety for the audience.
The wonderfully witty book, by Peter Duchan, questions the need for war, highlights the strain it causes on relationships and humans’ natural instincts; yet has the ability to make the audience both laugh and cry uncontrollably. I feel the show really captured the essence of the camaraderie war brought upon young men, against the realistic fear it held in the hearts of young women. Although it’s set in San Francisco, 1963, I feel the messages portrayed are universally relatable and current.
Located in the intimate Southwalk Playhouse Theatre this show is only available until Saturday 13 of September. Therefore if you’re in need of a stimulating, moving, fresh and captivating evening, book your tickets now!