Youth Theatre Group

Since its relaunch last year, Shaftesbury Arts Centre’s 11 to 16 year old Youth Theatre group has swiftly expanded.

Passionate about music and drama, group leader Sophie Lester enjoys supporting and helping young people develop their skills and talents, which is why she was more than happy to take on the challenges of the role.

Sophie, who, by day is a Spinal Occupational Therapist, has lived in the area for approximately fourteen years and has been involved with Shaftesbury Arts Centre for almost the same length of time. An extremely accomplished performer herself, she’s a very familiar face in many local productions.

Now she’s delighted to be sharing her expertise and experience with talented youngsters and feels privileged to be a part of the group. But she’s also keen to highlight the fantastic help and support she has from group leaders Sammy Merry, Zoe Binns and Steph Prideaux-Aspinall.

Sophie says, ‘So far, working with the Youth Theatre has been really rewarding. The children are keen to be involved in drama and our aim is to allow them exposure to different types of theatre by experimenting, trying things themselves, watching others in action, participating in their own youth productions and having the opportunity to appear in the adult productions at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre’.

She emphasises that it’s vital that the children have the experiences of exploring a variety of aspects of theatre life such as prop making, costumes, make up, lighting, sound etc., enabling them to understand the bigger picture and enjoy the teamwork and camaraderie involved in working together to bring a production to life.

In the current crisis, Sophie and her team are exploring virtual workshops with the group, enabling them to continue working on aspects such as vocal projection, singing techniques and developing different vocals. These workshops will also aim to provide some of the social element that the Youth Theatre group normally presents. And there are also plans for a radio play in the near future.

Going forward, a group for 16 to 18 year olds will be created and future performances will include ‘Bugsy Malone’ plus a Christmas themed show.

Shaftesbury Arts Centre also runs a Youth Theatre group for 7 to 11 year olds so keep your eyes open for more information on this in the coming weeks.

If you’d like to find out more about The Youth Theatre, or if you have a child who would like to join the 11 to 16 year old group, or if you have some time to help run the group, please contact:
Sophie Lester on (01258) 821473 or email