Footloose fever gives youth theatre sessions a boost

The cast of Footloose at Grantham Guildhall Arts Centre.
The cast of Footloose at Grantham Guildhall Arts Centre.
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Youth theatre sessions at Guildhall Arts Centre in Grantham have been revitalised with sell-out shows of their latest production Footloose.

Down to Earth (D2E), the centre’s youth drama initiative, has been hailed for its adaptation of the American musical-drama, receiving a standing ovation from its audience on the final night.

With three shows at the Guildhall earlier this month, 33 members of the group produced two sold out two nights and a staggering 509 seats with an audience capacity of 95%.

The centre’s own 12 to 25 Youth Programme had been viewed as a struggling youth drama group with low attendance, little structure and no deeper engagement with the venue back in 2011.

But just 18 months later the group have produced Footloose as their most successful under 25 amateur production to date.

The group offers young people between the ages of eight and 25 the chance to develop new skills, perform in productions in a professional theatre environment and make new friends.

The Guildhall’s marketing and education/outreach team said they felt a sense duty to revamp its own in-house youth programme.

Education Officer and D2E Project Manager Anna Wilson explained the range of talent the group now attracts.

She said: “This year’s cast involved members from widely differing backgrounds and ranged from ages 13 to 22.

“Being a fully inclusive group has been and will continue to be one of our most important priorities.

“Our choreographer for the entire show was an 18-year-old former cast member who did an exceptional job.

“She said her experience with us was a key factor in Performer’s College, one of the top dance schools in the UK, accepting her to study there.

“There’s so much possibility for young people of all ages to get involved on stage and behind the scenes.”

The group intends to continue its success with more exciting projects lined up for the summer and autumn terms.

D2E welcomes young people of all backgrounds and abilities who are interested in any element of theatre, whether this is performance or producing shows.

For more information on how to join D2E please visit the Guildhall’s website at www.guildhallartscentre.com, or contact Anna by e-mailing a.wilson@southkesteven.gov.uk or calling 01476 406157.