Forward Theatre Project presents Scarberia, The Studio, York Theatre Royal, May 24 to June 2 (From York Press)
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Forward Theatre Project presents Scarberia, The Studio, York Theatre Royal, May 24 to June 2
OU may recall Charlotte Bennett being the co-director of the first TakeOver festival at York Theatre Royal in the autumn of 2009.
Coming full circle, she returns to the Theatre Royal for TakeOver 2012 in her capacity as producer of Forward Theatre Project’s new production, Scarberia, a new play by Evan Placey, created through a collaboration between young people in the communities of both Scarborough, England, and Scarborough, Canada.
An associate company of Paines Plough, Forward Theatre Project is a collective of 23 emerging theatre directors, writers and designers that first formed to stage Five Star Werewolf at the 2009 festival and aims to develop relationships between emerging theatre artists and regional theatres.
The project was granted a residency at the 2012 TakeOver festival, whose board selected Scarberia from eight proposals to be the new piece of theatre for young people in the Studio.
The idea for the play came from Evan Placey, winner of the £6,000 Brian Way Award for plays for younger audiences for his production of Holloway Jones at the Unicorn Theatre, London, last year.
“He was interested in linking Scarborough with Scarborough because his partner was from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, and he was from Scarborough, Toronto, so he’d always been curious about twin places and how different they were,” says Charlotte.
“He wondered what young people did in Scarborough over here, as he thought of Scarborough as a place of retirement homes… …“Whereas Scarborough, Canada, is ethnically diverse and has a gang culture,” says director Gemma Kerr. “It’s a ghetto of Toronto, where there’s a lot of high crime.”
Charlotte, Evan, Gemma and designer Lydia Denno all worked on the creative process of the play, which was a collective process from the start, rather than a playwright presenting a play for a production team to develop. “It’s a form of making theatre that we’re pioneering and it’s what makes us different from Paines Plough in our working methods,” says Charlotte.
The creative team went first to Scarborough, Yorkshire, and then to Scarborough, Canada, in March to develop the play, working with young people in workshops in both locations over a five-week period, and encouraging an exchange of pen-pal emails between the two participating colleges before the writing process began.
“Evan knew he wanted to write a thriller with a coming-of-age story featuring two boys in each town, exploring how the place you grow up in affects the person you become,” says Gemma.
The resulting play will feature a cast of Harry Mcentire, Royce Pierreson and Samantha Pearl in the story of two teenage boys discovering a woman's body in Scarborough’s North Bay and two boys being questioned in Scarborough, Toronto, after the disappearance of a woman.
“Two boys try to keep a secret buried, while two boys try to solve the mystery. North American city meets the English seaside, two countries collide and four boys are changed forever,” says Evan.
The May 31 matinee will be streamed by Pilot Theatre Company from York to the young people Forward Theatre project worked with in Canada, and these students will then take part in the Q&A session after the show, using Skype to ask and answer questions.
In 2013, Scarberia will tour Canada, making TakeOver Festival and Forward Theatre Project international for the first time!.
Forward Theatre Project presents Scarberia in The Studio, York Theatre Royal, May 24 to June 2; 7.45pm, plus Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3pm.