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Life in lockdown for Young Everyman Playhouse: youth theatre to conclude season with theatre’s first radio drama

Young Everyman Playhouse will sign off their 2019/20 year with a radio drama recorded from their homes during lockdown.

Life in lockdown for Young Everyman Playhouse: youth theatre to conclude season with theatre’s first radio drama

by Culture Liverpool

In collaboration with the Liverpool Everyman playhouse’s Hope Street neighbours Liverpool Arts Bar and local freelancers, the youth theatre has created The Visit – a seven-part drama following student Ashley’s trip to a friend’s family home during reading week.

The audio drama was created at a time when projects the young theatre makers had been working on for some time could no longer take place. Following lockdown, the young actors, producers, directors, marketers, technicians saw their production of Macbeth and the annual YEP Directors Festival, postponed.

Despite this, YEP have continued to work on creative projects during lockdown, improving their own wellbeing and working with local organisations and other theatre-makers from across the country.

The team at the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse have kept in regular contact with YEP participant. Regular online meetings and workshops with Everyman & Playhouse staff have taken place, and theatre company Middle Child have provided specialist masterclasses for the YEP programme members.

Chris Tomlinson, associate director at Young Everyman Playhouse, said:

“Our activity has acted as a place to check in and be a touchstone for our young people to engage about their mental well-being and how it is affecting them being disconnected from friends, school, college and their place of work.

“For some of our young people this has been a vital connection for them to have whilst navigating these strange times and how we are going to emerge through the relaxing of lockdown and into a post COVID-19 world.”

Groups have also created small projects including a birthday tribute to Shakespeare, and a spoken word response to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, bringing all the hallmarks of a YEP stage play, The Visit takes us into the world of Ashley and her visit to friend Anabelle’s home.

In reading week, Anabelle has invited Ashley to stay in her family home for the break. Apart from an affluent lifestyle, The O’Reilly’s seem like a fairly normal family. But as the week ticks on, a series of bizarre events lead Ashley to a shocking discovery. Family grudges, things going bump in the night and a TV that’s never switched off. This is a home where nothing is as it seems.

Matilda Wilde, part of the YEP Producers programme, said:

“With the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatre closed and our YEP courses on hold we’ve had to get creative about how to continue making work together. Over the past two months, with the support of Liverpool Arts Bar, we’ve created a seven-part radio drama which has been completely written, recorded, performed, produced and edited by young people in YEP.

“What’s been brilliant about this project is that because we’re working remotely, we’ve been able to bring in people from across the strands to make the radio drama and got to know each other better in the process.

“With around 40 people working on the project, logistically, it’s been challenging to coordinate everything and keep on schedule, but everyone’s been amazing and we’ve properly pulled together to get it all done.”

 The first weekly episode of Young Everyman Playhouse’s The Visit premiered on Friday 10 July and is available at: www.everymanplayhouse.com.

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