Working in partnership with Leicester-based Hathi Productions and Newtown Youth Theatre, Art Asia (Southampton’s leading Asian performing arts agency) developed an exciting project which combined go-and-see elements with an intense theatre residency and performance. The residency engaged 5 girls and 6 boys to perform High Street Musical, a gritty but very funny play which explored issues such as knife crime and teenage drinking as well as a touching portrayal of a son’s relationship with his father who had dementia.
• Nine members of the cast were later invited to perform two of the dances from the show at Dhamaal (the Southampton Universities’ Asian Cultural show) at the Nuffield Theatre • The success of the initial production led to a second project, working with emerging venue Spinney Hollow Woodland Theatre, on a contemporary version of A Midsummer Nights Dream
• The young people gained a Certificate of Progression in Performing Arts as a Performer, awarded by the National Open College Network. This is 21 credits at level 3 and roughly equal to an AS level
• The mixed project was groundbreaking for Newtown Youth Centre as they normally run projects which are segregated into single sex groups
• Using local theatre practitioners alongside Hathi Productions is essential for project sustainability and also offers valuable CPD for local artists
• Adapting texts and making them relevant to the young people’s every day lives and environment is key to engaging and enthusing them
• An intense residency is an excellent model to ensure focus and a good quality end result