Crediton Youth Theatre (CYT) is a youth arts organisation which creates dynamic, original musical theatre with young people aged 7-18. The youth theatre is led by Jez Taylor and Adrian Jackson who have more than 40 years' experience between them. CYT meets every week throughout the year at Crediton Arts Centre. Crediton is a small market town with a large rural catchment area, including many isolated family farms and approximately 30 surrounding villages. CYT does not hold auditions and all members are eligible for singing and speaking roles in our productions. CYT strives to keep the cost of participation to a minimum, thereby ensuring access for all.
CYT provides the opportunity for young people in Crediton and rural Mid Devon to enjoy the dramatic arts, through weekly sessions and holiday projects. The Youth Theatre offers a safe space where young people feel a sense of belonging and make new friends. Each year we need to raise around £3,000 to keep participation costs low and to enable as many young people as possible to access and engage in high-quality arts activities, whatever their circumstances.
Since its inception in September 2007, CYT has grown from a small group with a handful of members to a thriving youth theatre with around 40 members at any particular time. We have staged 14 excellent, original musical productions over the past 10 years, and these have all been performed to public audiences in the local community. The themes we write about are timeless, and the issues we explore through our fictional plots and original songs resonate strongly with very real issues faced by young people today.
We have been invited to perform our latest original production, "Hopping Mad" on a purpose-built open-air stage at Newcombes Meadow on 8th, 9th and 10th June, as the theatrical centrepiece of Credfest 2017. The young cast will be supported by a chorus of adults drawn from the wider community, adopting the model of our previous highly successful 2015 show, "Operation Belinda". However, we are £1,000 short of our funding target to produce and deliver the show, and this is why we need YOUR help! We need funds to employ a set and costume designer, musicians and technical staff, to hire and purchase staging, sound and lighting equipment, costumes, props, and rehearsal space, and to pay for printing and publicity.
If we can reach our target through this campaign, we will be able to continue our work with these remarkable local young people and guarantee a fantastic show this summer. Thank you so much for your support.
Synopsis of "Hopping Mad" - a tale of hops, hope and harmony...
In 1932, a group of hop pickers from London descend on the village of Claygate, in Kent, for their annual working holiday. Joining them are a band of gypsies, who travel the countryside as work and the seasons dictate. Love blossoms in unlikely places, new friendships are made and tensions between the various groups of incomers and locals increase as the story unfolds, to the point where something has to give, which it does with tragic consequences. Only love, understanding and a new sense of community can save the day...
Feedback from some of our young members about Crediton Youth Theatre (unedited)
After the final performance I told my grandpa that we only prepared it in a week, he turned to me in shock and asked if I was pulling his leg. His reaction is similar to many, people wonder how a small group of 11-18 year olds from a Devon town can pull of a stunt such as that, and after being a member of cyt for almost a year I now understand. Of course these 'plays in a week' wouldn't be without the brilliant Jez and Adrian who support and direct the cast so well, but I am also incredibly proud to be part of the people who make up cyt and who inspire me every week. Drama has helped me grow in confidence, taught me respect, allowed me to express my thoughts and has gifted me with an amazing family of people who unite in drama but are all so interesting and individual in their own right.
Grace Scott Mcdowall
The things that make it so enjoyable and exciting are the storylines, the costumes and the lights but mainly the people. It is a group effort and everyone puts their share in. In a group with so many people it is amazing how close you can get with only a week together. Every single character is important and you get to spend time with people who enjoy performing as much as you. It is a stressful week but we all keep each other going and by the end you wish it wasn't finished. Jez and Adrian are brilliant at pulling everything together and although they may get frustrated at times because of our endless conversations it is impossible to put into words how much you appreciate them giving you the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful event. One of my favourite parts of performing is the audiences reaction to certain parts. When the audience laugh at one of your lines/actions you get a feeling of pure joy. Before starting Crediton youth theatre I was very shy but now I have the confidence to get involved in more activities. I think we could all agree that we can't thank Jez and Adrian enough for the memories that we will always have. I hope to be in many more plays in the future!
Acting is not a hobbie it is a way of life and gives you happiness. It's a way to meet amazing people and learn so much! Cyt gives you confidence and it's a great place to express yourself.
I have been going to CYT for a long time , and have been involved in many of it's productions. Being part of CYT generally has taught me not only to love theatre, but to express myself , to work well in a group , learn hundreds of exciting songs and games and has also provided me with a base for many friendships, who all care for each other and support each other through everything and anything , however minor or major , both positive and negative. It has also provided me with a network of people or 'family ' of people who are always there. Being part of a group of people who both share hobbies and have also completely
different ones has helped me to become more confident, and to enjoy drama as an outlet for all manner of thoughts and feelings. Most of all , it is a place where I can be with people who share the same love as me and where we can be in crazy productions.
The latest play was exciting , rewarding and amazing to be a part of, working with a company of extremely talented people. It was mostly an incredibly comedic play , but did address many of the problems and opinions, in a child friendly way, that divide people. One of the main points it laboured upon was equality and diversity and beating stereotypes , which is very appropriate in today's world. The play shows many of the similar problems that are still ongoing today , and touched on many difficult topics that are usually either avoided, or that cause division or argument. This is another reason theatre is so important, as it helps to breach the subject of many difficult political and social situations. I hope that this continues to give opportunities to young people just like me , who can learn from and value drama for many years to come.
The youth theatre has been part of my life for over 12 years now. I have few memories from the time before I joined, so in many ways I have been brought up by it. A vast percentage of my most treasured memories & friendships have been spawned from my time with the group. I believe that drama with CYT is special, there is no hierarchy, everyone gets to join in, pretty much, on equal terms with each other. Emphasising the importance of ensemble in a world that concentrates so much on stardom is rare and precious. With CYT productions, it is all about ensemble, we are all working together and we all love each other, I have never experienced the utter joy of being part of such a close group until I had encountered CYT.
We had just finished our performance and I stood and watched the stage. The lights were still dimmed, creating a glow in the room. I stood with my friends staring at the set, tears streaming down our faces as we sobbed into each others arms. The best thing about CYT is that we are one massive family. It may sound cheesy but there is no other way to describe the utter joy of being with everyone.
I have grown up with CYT, I have been a member since I was seven. When I first joined I always looked up to the older members, hoping that one day I could have a solo or a main role, most of all to have people look to me for guidance. But now being one of the eldest at CYT, I realise that it's nothing like that. Yes, younger members may watch you because they don't know the dance moves as much as you do. But there is no hierarchy. Everyone is as important as each other and we all try our best to welcome new people.
It was my mum that thought I should join. She said to my brother and I, why don't you just go once, and if you don't like it you don't have to go back. So off I went, thinking I would absolutely hate it, but after the first session I was already falling in love with drama.
I was recently talking to one of my friends about how sad it is to watch the set, of a performance that you’ve loved, being taken down. We talked about this as we helped dismantle the stage and this is when I realised that what felt like reality was actually some far off dream. Acting for me is a world of make believe, I find it fascinating how I can just drop everything and take on the role of this made up character.
For those of you that don't know, the performances that CYT put on happen within a week. We are given our scripts on day one, and then we have five days to learn it all. For those few hours on stage, I can pretend to be someone that I'm not. After having five days to find out how my character would feel about certain things or how they would say certain words I can become part of the story until the play is over. Then I am back to being me, living a normal life again. Whenever I go to CYT I know I can just be my crazy self. No one there is self-conscious about what they look like, or jealous of each other. For me it is an escape, a place where no one is judgemental, rude or untruthful. So if someone asked me, what is CYT to you? I think I would have to simply say a family. No matter what happens we are always there to support each other. Each year we say goodbye to members as they move on with their lives. Those of us who are left work hard to keep the family going, but also welcome new members with open arms.