December 8 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 2, 2013
A theatre group for budding performers and people who just want to have fun could be crowned a winner in the Stars of Norfolk awards.
Norwich Young People’s Theatre (NYPT), based at the City College performing arts centre, Ipswich Road, Norwich, has been nominated for the small business community support of the year award.
The group was set up 10 years ago by former Norwich High School for Girls student and musician Laura Hodges, 33, from St Andrew’s Way, Blofield.
It teaches five to 25-year-olds from across Norfolk musical theatre and acting skills as well as singing and runs the gospel/soul choir Voices.
Voices has performed at Big C fundraisers, Christmas light switch-ons and the Bridewell and Castle museums in Norwich.
Mrs Hodges, a music graduate from the University of East Anglia, started the group with two friends who have since left. She now employs three full-time teachers, who are involved in the professional acting world, and teaching assistants.
She said: “NYPT was set up with the aim of offering anyone of any age the opportunity to perform in a really supportive environment.
“The important thing is offering young people a safe environment where they feel part of a community. They don’t have to have any experience of performing, just the want to do it. I don’t get anything financial out of it. I do it because it is really important for young people to feel part of something.”
It started out in the Assembly House on Theatre Street, Norwich, and then moved to the Open Youth Venue on Bank Plain, Norwich, and then to the Hewett School in Cecil Road, Norwich.
The group has been at City College for just over two years and puts on three musicals a year at the venue, one for all the students and two for the older pupils aged 13 or above.
Previous shows have included the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Bugsy Malone, Little Shop of Horrors, Kiss Me, Kate, and Return to the Forbidden Planet.
About 150 pupils are in the main show, which will be performed in May next year, and about 30 are usually in the other performances.
Mrs Hodges said the younger pupils enjoy performing with the older students.
She added: “A complete range of people come to us. Some have had a bereavement in the family and a lot of children come if they have been bullied at school. That is what makes it nice because there is a great mix of people with a common interest. I see a huge change in people when it is needed.”
Some of her pupils are now going onto university courses, drama schools or to be a part of the theatre industry.
One of her former pupils recently sang in the Colour Purple show at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London and another is going onto the Guildford School of Acting.
“The Voices choir, for people aged 13 and over, practise during school term time on Mondays between 6.30-8.30pm. It costs £55 per term.
Non-musical theatre acting classes are held on Saturday afternoons during school terms and musical theatre sessions are held on Sundays from 11am during school terms.
Sessions are split between age groups and they cost £55 for five to 13-year-olds per term and £70 for people aged 13 and over.
The group will start again on Sunday, September 22 and for more information call Mrs Hodges on 07766 750717, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.norwichyoungpeoplestheatre.co.uk or search Norwich Young People’s Theatre on Facebook.
Other 17 categories in the Stars of Norfolk awards include volunteer of the year, outstanding sporting achievement of the year and team of the year.
The deadline for nominations is Monday, September 30 and the winners will be announced on Friday, October 18 at St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich.