The Young Pretenders journey to Connections 500!

A Film and Theatre project Exeter, United Kingdom

The Young Pretenders journey to Connections 500!

TYP is a small Exeter youth theatre looking to make a big impact with a production that tackles issues of teenage identity and belonging.

W H O    A R E    W E?

Please follow this link to hear personally from our TYP company: 

Established in January 2015 by Exeter University graduate Lucy Hirst, The Young Pretenders Theatre Company strives to inspire young people aged 11-18 to pursue a creative future.

The company’s aim is to use high quality theatre practice as a means of encouraging young people to form pop-up peer-led communities, develop advanced performer and social skills, create theatrical responses to prevalent youth issues in today’s society, and to ultimately create work that far exceeds what is anticipated of a youth theatre group.

Artistic Director, Lucy Hirst, asks her young company to push both their personal and creative boundaries in order to extend their theatre-making skills to a level far beyond their years. This training encourages TYP’s young people to question their creative content and to challenge both themselves and their audiences with extraordinary theatrical concepts and artistic commentary.

As a young freelancer who experienced first hand the difficulties of trying to gain professional establishment in a creative industry, Lucy has since developed ‘Creative Networks for Young Artists’ whereby TYP are able to offer work experience for aspiring directors, producers, stage managers, and visual artists aged 17-25. On this project alone, TYP have five young women aged 17-21 that work alongside Lucy on the project’s production team. Each of the five women have been partnered with London based mentors that are working in their role in a professional capacity, and who are on call to offer support, feedback, and encouragement.

“TYP has increased my confidence from almost breaking down when having to do a presentation at school to performing an actual play in front of a real audience!” (Izzy, 14, performer)

“I wish I could carry on doing TYP forever. I really hope TYP can continue and change many other kids lives and make them as happy as I am after every session.” (Katie, 12, performer)

“I’ve made great new friends and it’s inspired me to pursue acting/directing/teaching as a possible career even though I only started because I enjoyed my school play.” (Fraser, 13, performer)

"I'm so lucky to be working with TYP, I love what we do and it gives me the chance to develop my art and understanding of the theatre." (Livvy, 17, production team) 


W H A T ' S    T H E    P R O J E C T?

Connections 500 is a national youth theatre festival facilitated by the National Theatre. The festival aims to make the case for youth theatre, to demonstrate just how important it is that young people, wherever they are in the country and whatever their future path, have the chance to get involved in theatre.

As part of the project, TYP will be performing one of 12 Connections back-catalogue plays alongside 499 other youth theatres across the UK.  In February 2016 TYP will perform to their home audience in Exeter on three occasions before touring the production to their partner theatre, the Theatre Royal Plymouth, in April 2016. Out of the 500 youth organisations participating, a lucky group of 12 will be able to take their performance to the National Theatre’s stage in July 2016.

TYP have been allocated Stacey Gregg’s ‘I’m Spilling My Heart Out Here’ that looks at both the literal and metaphorical mess of being a teenager in a modern world obsessed with self-image and intoxicated with social media. As the play progresses, the nine characters begin to physically deteriorate leaving organs strewn across the stage.

The company have decided to tackle the script through an unusual lens that encourages the cast to work in detail with creative substances such as paint, and enables a great deal of room for devised work to instrumental music. We don’t want to give too much away but we warn you, things are going to get messy!TYP are also fortunate to be delivering the project in partnership with Young Devon, an Exeter-based charity that works towards changing the odds in favour of young people through challenging negative stereotypes and campaigning beside young people. TYP hope to raise awareness of the charity’s fantastic work through the course of their journey to Connections 500. 

W H E R E   W I L L   Y O U R   M O N E Y   G O ? 

Despite being extremely excited by the upcoming opportunities that Connections 500 presents, TYP are very aware that it’s an expensive process.

With your support, TYP are able to cover the costs of their participation fee, venue hire, rehearsal space, travel expenses to and from the partner theatre, costume and prop sourcing, publicity and printing, as well as funding the all important paint… and LOTS of it.

For both TYP cast and crew this is a rare opportunity to showcase the enormous ability of TYP’s ever-growing company. Your support is essential to their success. 

Thank you for taking the time to read about TYP’s journey to Connections 500. If you’d like to support them then please take the time to read through their rewards and donate in any way that you can.

For behind the scenes footage and an insight into how TYP are getting on with their project so far, please follow their social media pages:Facebook: 

Twitter: YOU!