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Theatre group in desperate bid to find new home after OPEN collapse

PUBLISHED: 10:50 17 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:18 17 April 2020

Echo Youth Theatre has been forced to hunt for a new home following the collapse of OPEN Norwich Picture: ECHO YOUTH THEATRE

Echo Youth Theatre has been forced to hunt for a new home following the collapse of OPEN Norwich Picture: ECHO YOUTH THEATRE

ECHO YOUTH THEATRE

A volunteer-led theatre group which provides youngsters a springboard into the arts has been left with a fight to make the show go on following the collapse of OPEN Norwich.

Echo Youth theatre performance of Hairspray Easter weekend 2019 Photo: Mathew WoodmanEcho Youth theatre performance of Hairspray Easter weekend 2019 Photo: Mathew Woodman

Echo Youth Theatre launched in 2017 and has called the Bank Plain venue its home ever since, holding workshops, rehearsals and shows within the iconic building’s walls.

However, after the charity announced it was heading into liquidation, the group has been left to hunt for a new home - for both its on stage and off stage operations.

And if it is unable to do this it would see months of hard work and rehearsals go to waste, with the future of its upcoming production of Footloose now up in the air.

The group, which has more than 120 members aged between seven and 19, provides a wide range of activities for young people, from dancing, to acting and puppetry.

Members of Echo Youth Theatre, which is hunting for a new home. Picture: Echo Youth TheatreMembers of Echo Youth Theatre, which is hunting for a new home. Picture: Echo Youth Theatre

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Dan Raymer, its co-founder and artistic director, said it would be devastating for the young people involved if they were unable to find a new home.

He said: “It’s such a great shame things have gone the way they have for OPEN, because it has been our home ever since we started and the staff there have always been so welcoming.

“It’s such a great venue - we would use parts of it for rehearsals and workshops but it was also the perfect place for us to hold our performances and shows.”

The group is now having to search for alternative premises, even if it means having to hold rehearsals and performances at different venues.

Mr Raymer added: “The most important thing for us at the moment is to find somewhere to put on the show, but ultimately in the long term we need a permanent home. We really just need a space.

MORE: David Powles: Fantastic charity and venue MUST continue to be asset for city

“We began auditioning for Footloose in November and were rehearsing three times a week from January. The show was originally going to be in April but we had to postpone it because of the lockdown, but it would be such a shame for it not to happen at all.”

Can you help find the group a new home? Contact dan@echoyouththeatre.co.uk


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