For the last five years my daughter Joanna has been taking part in the anual shows of The Younger Generation Theatre Group, a Croydon based charitable company. This year, like in the previous ones, I volunteer as part of the back stage crew. After two very busy dress rehearsals at The Ashcroft Theatre tonight the show goes live.
I love the buzz and energy that the young people have, full of enthusiasm and sometimes a little nervous, but all keen to give their best despite the odd costume issue. (Sometimes just not cool enough for the modern teenager!)
This year as I call the numbers to the stage door, and attempt to keep each group quiet in the corridor I have been thinking about the cost to put on such a production. Not just in monetary terms which are pretty immense. There are other hidden costs too. For example, my daughter had to choose to make herself available for 18 Sunday rehearsals some compulsory, this meant missing out on her school production for the first time since she started at St Andrew’s. She clearly values the work of YG and enjoys doing the shows as this choice was a pretty tough one.
When it comes to show week the cost is stepped up once again. Costume fittings and final checks, transport to and from the theatre, dozens of adult helpers back stage and in dressing rooms, all co ordinated and with CRB checks and matron licences. The production team work both day and night to pull it all together so that the young people get to perform, with a live band, on a professional stage.
I have to admire their work. Seeing the cast of 80+ young people, (10- 18 year olds) from all over Croydon all happily working together on a common project is special in my eyes. The show doesn’t have a ‘leading lady’ ‘premadonna’ or one big part, all the members are given numbers and on stage time suitable to their age and ability, without raising any of then to feel they are more important than others. The result is fantastic!
This year’s show “Let’s go to the movies” is fast paced, fun, packed full of great music and well worth the ticket money for a night out..not only supporting a local charity (which in turn is raising young people who work together and respect each other) but an uplifting experience for all who participate and come to watch the show.
I find it hard to pick up on the negatives of the group as the positive by far out ways any negative thoughts I may have. Just one thing I would choose to mention though, there is, a shortage of lads amongst the cast, come on boys this is for you as well, I have seen friendships made that have been carried forward for many years. Two previous cast members of the 1990′s are now married having met at YG, with children ready to enroll in the future.
Please head to The Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon this year and support a local group that relies on volunteers, private fund raising and their TICKET SALES to keep their group alive.