Something wicked this way comes: frighteningly good theatre for half-term from Echo Youth Theatre
- Credit: (C) Echo Youth Theatre
Echo Youth Theatre bring Halloween thrills from Shakespeare and Roald Dahl to Norwich this half term with productions suitable for audiences young and old of Quick-Brewed Macbeth and The Witches.
It's going to be double double toil and trouble this October half term as Echo Youth Theatre conjures up the perfect Halloween treat in Norwich.
A cast of eight will be performing an abridged version of one of William Shakespeare's most iconic tragedies in Quick-brewed Macbeth while a cast of 16 other young people will bring one of the nation's best loved children's stories alive in Roald Dahl's The Witches.
Quick-brewed Macbeth tells the story of one man's rise to a position of power, driven by the prophecies of three witches. The lead role of Macbeth is played by 18-year-old Harry Wilson whilst Morven Renfrew, aged 17, takes on the role of the power-hungry Lady Macbeth.
The Witches follows the adventure of a young child trying to stop an army of witches, led by the Grand High Witch, in their attempt to eradicate the world of children. The Grand High Witch is played by 16-year-old Zoe Whiting, supported by a cast of young people aged from 10 to 16.
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Jo Myers, executive producer, said: "Performing two shows alternatively in one location across the October half term is going to be a fun and exciting challenge for all the cast and crew. As a youth theatre company, we want to give our young members the opportunity to learn new skills and experience many different aspects of theatre and it is a pleasure to be working with The Assembly House Trust to make this happen. These two plays complement each other perfectly and are the ideal pre-Halloween treat for audiences of all ages."
Both productions will be staged at The Assembly House during half term.
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Cris Davidson, Director of Macbeth said: "It's great to be working with a youth theatre group who embrace the works of Shakespeare and are taking on the challenge to perform his work. I am so proud of our small but incredibly talented cast and audiences can expect an immersive performance which has been very much influenced by Game of Thrones.
"If you want to see young people excel at Shakespeare and appreciate that young performers are just as capable of tacking this work, then you need to come and see this play."
Kerry Stanley, Director of The Witches, said: "The Witches is one of the best-selling children's stories of all time and our cast brings this to life with some spell-binding physical theatre, including puppetry and animation. Our audiences can expect high-energy comedy and chaos, with emotionally rich performances, which are faithful to Dahl's original ending.
"I am so proud of all the cast who have risen to the challenge of some physically exhausting and complex sequences as they use a minimal set to transform the Assembly House ballroom into this beautiful but terrifying world where children become mice or haggard old ladies."
Quick-brewed Macbeth and The Witches will be performed at The Assembly House from Wednesday 23 October until Saturday 26 October 2019. Shows are at 3pm or 7.30pm and tickets can be purchased from www.ticketsource.co.uk/echo-youth-theatre or on the door.
The Witches will be performed at 7.30pm on Wednesday 23 October and Friday 25 October and 3pm on Thursday 24 October and Saturday 26 October.
Macbeth will be performed at 3pm on Wednesday 23 October and Friday 25 October and 7.30pm on Thursday 24 October and Saturday 26 October.
Both productions are suitable for young audiences and are presented by cast members aged eight to 19, supported by industry professionals.
Echo Youth Theatre co-founder and company director Jo added that the group had been created to provide challenging and varied theatre experiences for young people without the burden of regular classes or term fees.
"It's a flexible way for young people to be involved in theatre which doesn't burden either them or their parents," she explained, "it's a great way to learn more about the theatre and to gain self-confidence and new skills.
"A huge number of the skills you need to be in a performance or to be behind the scenes of one can be adapted to everyday life. And it's so much fun - we all love what we do and being part of something that feels really special."
Young people aged eight to 19 are given a range of opportunities to learn about theatre, performance both off-stage, backstage and on stage by the group which launched in December 2017.
Performances have included A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hairspray, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and A Little Princess, and hundreds of local youngsters have benefited from expert tuition from industry professionals and established performers.
In addition to shows, the group also hosts workshops for young people throughout the year - past workshops have included stage make-up, musical theatre, acting and dance.
"We are so lucky that so many people give up so much of their time to help us with the group, sharing what they have learned and their enthusiasm," said Jo, who fell in love with theatre when her daughter became interested in amateur theatre as a child (she will shortly graduate from drama college).
Jo, along with co-founders Dave - her husband and a lighting and sound technician - and Dan Rayner, who is also company director, have gathered a dedicated team around them with a vast array of experience and expertise.
"It's such a proud moment when you first see a production come together after weeks and weeks of hard work. It's a privilege to be part of something so amazing."
* Tickets are available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/echo-youth-theatre.
Interested? How to join Echo Youth Theatre
You must be 19 or under and in full-time education to be a member of Echo UYouth Theatre. Membership brings access to a wide range of workshops and social events, including regular theatre trips with discounted ticket prices.
For just £15 a year, members will receive advance notice of audition opportunities, access to the workshop programme, with priority booking, and invitations to social events and theatre trips.
Membership comes with no obligation, so you can pick and choose which events you want to attend. For more information, visit www.echoyouththeatre.co.uk.