Leeds City Varieties Youth Theatre announces name change and summer production

A Leeds youth theatre is to change it name as it continues to provide a spotlight for nurturing young talent.
City Varieties Youth Theatre will now be known as Leeds Grand Youth Theatre.City Varieties Youth Theatre will now be known as Leeds Grand Youth Theatre.
City Varieties Youth Theatre will now be known as Leeds Grand Youth Theatre.

City Varieties Youth Theatre will now be known as Leeds Grand Youth Theatre as it works to build on its reputation as one of the UK’s leading youth groups; providing a platform from which to introduce young people to the world of professional theatre.

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Founded in 2012, the city-based group is headed up by artistic director Lizi Patch, and the Leeds Grand Theatre learning team.

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Rachel Lythe, Head of Learning, said: “The Youth Theatre allows young people from the ages of 8 to 17 to perform in some of Leeds’s most iconic venues, working alongside industry professionals. Our focus is on nurturing, supporting, and creatively challenging every individual who walks through our doors, regardless of experience.”

Run from Leeds Grand Theatre, members develop both performing arts and life skills through weekly term-time workshops, including acting, dance/movement, physical theatre and vocal/singing training.

Lizi added: “The Youth Theatre explores the notion of theatre as a tool for social change and personal development for a new generation of theatre makers and theatregoers. We give young people the skills, the time and the support to take creative and personal risks, enabling them to express themselves physically, verbally and through the written word.”

The newly named group has announced details of its next production. It will take to the stage with Into The Woods at City Varieties Music Hall on Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25, 2020 featuring a 40 strong cast and live orchestra with musicians from Leeds College of Music.

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The Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical tells the story of a baker and his wife, who, cursed with childlessness by the witch next door, embark on a quest to break the spell; lying, swindling and cajoling their way through the woods as a small army of Grimm’s fairy tale characters (each with their own agenda) lead them a merry dance.

“I have wanted to direct this show for some years now but knew it had to be the right time for the Company – that time is now,” said Lizi. “The trust and skills that run through our Youth Theatre - from the cast to the crew, visiting artists, Learning Team and volunteers – are quite remarkable; we have a collective vision.

“Into the Woods suspends the audience between tragedy and farce, and is undoubtedly an ambitious musical to get right, but we are completely ready for the challenge. Our production will be a visual and aural feast with plenty of food for thought!”

The Youth Theatre has produced many skilled young actors, including those who have gone on to perform with Opera North, train with Rambert and Pineapple Dance Studios in London, gain a scholarship at Phoenix Dance Theatre, Leeds, and even land a role in Game of Thrones.

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One Youth Theatre member said: “Being part of LGYT has meant a lot to me as it has felt like a second family that is so loving, caring and supportive of each other. It’s so exciting during production weeks to see the shows come together; when you feel that all your hard work has paid off. Knowing that you make audiences happy is one of the best feelings. Another added: “‘Every Saturday I get so excited to come to LGYT as I have gained so many skills and experiences that have led to me studying acting at college.”

For more information about Leeds Grand Youth Theatre contact James Whittle, Creative Engagement Officer, via email at: [email protected] or visit: leedsgrandtheatre.com

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