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The Industry

Our favourite youth theatre stories submitted by Spotlight members

Spotlight recently partnered with Searchlight Pictures to celebrate the release of the brilliant Theater Camp, which film critics are calling a “comedy gift from god.” We gave Spotlight members the chance to win tickets to the Picturehouse Central screening of the film by sharing your best youth theatre memories with us. These could be the moment you first realised your love of acting, or times you were really excited about your role, or even just hilarious or embarrassing things that happened to you on stage.

We’ve now been through all the submissions, laughing, crying and wincing appropriately, and we’ve picked our favourite entries to share. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to share their youth theatre memories with us. To show our appreciation, we’ve got a special clip from the hilarious Theater Camp to share with you below, thanks to Searchlight Pictures.

We hope that clip brought back some fond memories!

Now, without further ado, here are your best youth theatre stories told by you – our members.

This one time, at youth theatre…

I played a Shakespearean punk
“When doing my last year of theatre in France at 17, my friend and I played ‘Romeo’ and ‘Tybalt’ in Romeo and Juliet. As Tybalt, I died very early in the play, so was also the ‘Apothecary’. Because we did a modern take on the play, we decided Tybalt would be a punk with a massive Mohican. To hide this during the Apothecary’s scene with Romeo, I decided to wear a bright pink raincoat, and tied the hood around my face to hide my hair. We had never practised this, and so me and my friend burst out laughing, and so did her mum. We still laugh about it to this day!” – Natasha Walker-De Bisschop

I gave it a Chica-go
“Growing up in Greece, youth theatre, local drama clubs or drama-related school activities weren’t really available. So in 2002, when Chicago was released in cinemas, my best friend and I spent hours learning all the songs and choreography and invited our family and school friends to watch us do a full lip-synced version of Chicago! Bless them – they all sat patiently through it and fully supported us, so, naturally, we did a version of Moulin Rouge the year after! I think they’d all had enough after that, but I’ll never forget the joy of getting to perform in front of people for the first time.” – Erifyli Gigante

I slammed poetry (and a bench!)
“The first time I was on stage in front of a big audience was at a spoken word poetry slam when I was six years old. I was down to the last four candidates to win, each of us going up to the microphone in turn. While waiting, we sat on a bench upstage. I was so nervous I had my hands gripped to the bench, rocking back and forth. Just before it was my turn I tipped the bench over and landed on my back. Cue laughter from 2000 people. Thankfully it didn’t put me off an acting career!” – James Glyn

I danced the night away
“We didn’t get much youth theatre in my remote village in Ireland back in the day, so I was overjoyed when The Young Americans (a travelling youth theatre/musical group) came to my school not once, but twice! Late nights spent in the school learning dances and chorus, and developing crushes on some of the group, with cute matching t-shirts to boot, felt like I had broken free of my mundane study-shackles and entered a whole new world of excitement, creativity and joy! Sadly my parents wouldn’t let me quit school to join them touring the globe…” – Marybeth Herron

I was a bandaged ballerina
“I won a scholarship to Blue Lake performing arts camp for two weeks in the summer of 1981 in lower Michigan, USA. I did eight hours of ballet per day with members of the New York Ballet Company, but had an operation on both my knees about six weeks before, so I had to go with bandages still on my knees. I loved it and worked so hard that I got a special mention at the end! Added drama – we ended up being in the middle of a tornado! Best summer of my youth!” – Sinead Maffei

I witnessed a newspaper duel
“Whether it was passing a clap around a circle, guessing who was at your dinner party, or pretending to be giants, wizards, and goblins fighting each other, the drama warm-up games were the best. There was one game we played to work on our ‘spatial awareness’, which was basically two kids being blindfolded and having to crawl around a circle made up of the other classmates. Then the two kids had to find rolled-up newspapers placed somewhere in the circle, and whoever hit the other player with their newspaper first won. It was seriously the most chaotic thing ever!” – Brooke McCloy

I couldn’t have bin happier!
“My first time on stage was during my theatre school’s performance of Cats. I was five, and utterly thrilled that I had a part. It got even more exciting when I was placed in a bin with a lid on, and then proceeded to be lifted out and held up Simba style on, ‘Jellicle cats come out tonight.’ Some kids would have been terrified, but I thought it was the best thing ever!” – Georgina Minter-Brown

I knew witch role I was born to play…
“When I was 13, I really wanted to play the role of the ‘scary witch’. But the director didn’t even let me audition, saying I didn’t look like a witch. She gave the role to someone else, but, by a twist of fate, the actress that was cast quit the play to concentrate on her studies. I went to the auditions again and was the last to go. I was like, ‘No matter what, I’m going to try.’ I changed my voice, added my witch movements, made my hair cover my face, and when I did the audition, all the audience applauded and laughed. I got the role!” – Ayse Muge

‘Theater Camp’ is in cinemas today! Take a look at our News and Advice section for industry news and casting advice.

Image credit: 20th Century Studios

Video provided by Searchlight Pictures