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Scottish Youth Theatre

Annual Review 2018–2019 Momentum and Transformation

MOMENTUM AND TRANSFORMATION There are years that ask questions and years that answer. ZORA NEALE HURSTON 2018/19 was a year of positive transformation for Scottish Youth Theatre, propelled by the overwhelming support given to us during a time of financial crisis in the early months of 2018.

impacting on the quality of their experience. That placed high demands on the staff team who remained in post and I thank them for rising to the diversity of tasks required to keep the show on the road.

We began our year attentive to the responsibility of meeting the expectations of all those who came out in support of SYT and determined to prove our worth to the Scottish Government, Baillie Gifford, Murgitroyd and others, who provided the financial support that kept us up and running. We seized the opportunity to look differently at how we work and restructure the organisation, to improve our resilience and sustainability and lay the foundations for further changes in the coming years.

Youth theatre changes people’s lives for the better; it is transformative in ways that should never be under estimated and, as a result of its growth over the last half century, there are thousands of us working both in and out of the industry whose participation in theatre at a young age gave us the confidence and resilience to succeed in later life. Who wouldn’t want that for their children?

Major milestones through 2018/19 included establishing a new business model which will see the future separation of our Glasgow venue into a trading arm to secure income for the main national youth theatre charity. We said farewell to our longstanding Artistic Director, Mary McCluskey, who left the organisation after 26 years of service. In February we launched our new National Artistic Programme. Through all this change, we remained determined to continue to offer a wealth of opportunities to children and young people without

Theatre in Scotland is an ecosystem which, like any other, doesn’t survive without the sum of its parts. The impact of shrinking funding on participatory arts programmes across the country, coupled with the continued lack of status of the expressive arts in schools, threatens the future diversity and stability of the sector and places more, not less, barriers in the way of our emerging theatre makers. We need to join the dots if we are to make more, not less, of these life changing opportunities for our children and young people. Jacky Hardacre Chief Executive





6837 Attendances OVER 135 Performances



UNLOCKING THE CREATIVE ENERGIES OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN SCOTLAND THROUGH THEATRE Ambitious New Programme In March 2019 we were delighted to announce our new National Artistic Programme for ages 14 – 25 which will roll out from 2019/2020. Participants, practitioners and partners co-presented the event, confirming our ongoing commitment to the National Ensemble and Making Space programmes and introducing exciting new projects that will be delivered across Scotland. Joining forces with a wide range of regional partners is key to strategically improving pathways in the industry for young people across the country. By combining resources and expertise and maintaining a flexible approach to delivery, we aim to co-deliver ‘next step’ programmes that build on partners’ existing provision as well as target local authority areas with limited opportunities. All programmes will enable participants to collaborate with acclaimed theatre specialists to create their own work and will support their progression into further development opportunities and the industry. Equality, diversity and inclusion are central to the national programme with no fees to participate and a range of practical support and delivery models to tackle barriers to participation.

Ongoing partnerships

In conversation

Spent the afternoon at a wonderful event and left feeling inspired and grateful. The future looks bright @ScottishYT LAUREN FLAHERTY



Emery Law (Left) and Heather Mitchell (right) in VENT.

Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble


Scotland’s national touring company for young people

The National Ensemble was an incredible year for developing my skills as a theatre maker. Ross MacKay was the perfect choice as Director – he really helped us grow. Every week we would experiment with new techniques including object manipulation, puppetry and soundscaping. When we started to devise VENT., we were so involved with every step of the process. One scene incorporated sign language which stemmed from improvising with my scene partner who used BSL. Touring to different spaces and venues was another great experience.

The second year of the National Ensemble saw seventeen emerging artists come together with professional Director Ross MacKay and other established practitioners, to co-create a new work. Focusing on mental health, the impactful production of VENT. explored diverse topics of living with debt, body dysmorphia, postnatal depression, abusive friendships and work stress. With sponsorship support from the Richmond Oaks Group plus match funding from Arts & Business Scotland via the Culture & Business Fund Scotland, the company toured the show nationally to arts venues in Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow. The year also saw national auditions for Ensemble 2019. The successful twenty diverse young artists met for four development weekends in different locations to get to know each other and explore themes for their summer 2019 touring production.

The National Ensemble has given me a strong foundation in devising my own material and what is required to create your own work. I am currently studying acting in LA which Scottish Youth Theatre helped support through references and guidance. When I started my course in LA, I already felt confidence and experienced in my abilities thanks to my participation in the National Ensemble.

It’s difficult to create good theatre about mental health problems, not least because every story is different, yet in VENT. the Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble has created a two hour devised piece of exceptional range and power for a cast of 17. JOYCE MCMILLAN, THE SCOTSMAN

Making Space An emerging artist residency programme 2019/2020 saw the completion of our pilot phase for Making Space. Eleven emerging artists benefitted from free rehearsal space, mentorship and the opportunity to share their work with audiences. We also successfully piloted the programme with our first regional partners Dundee Rep. Case Study: Ink Asher Hemp My name is Ink Asher Hemp, I use they/them pronouns, and I am a queer, self-taught theatre maker. In December 2016 I established Activising for Change – which aims to use theatre as a medium for empowerment, creatively embedding accessibility within the work we develop. I completed two Making Space residencies to develop 147Hz Can’t Pass – a piece which celebrates the queer experience and is an introduction through person not definition to trans non-binary gender identity. During the 2nd residency in June we received a week of space, support from two specialist practitioners of our choosing and a technically supported sharing. Making Space was instrumental in the development of the piece and was an opportunity we were only able to engage with because of its removal of barriers to access both educationally and financially. The piece went on to complete a successful two week run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was longlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. In November we performed the piece twice at the Traverse Theatre as part of Chrysalis 2018 – Scotland’s annual festival of youth theatre.

LAUNCH OF NEW BURSARY FUND Thanks to the generous donation of £41,712 from the Scottish Children’s Lottery, we were pleased to launch a new bursary fund that helps to remove barriers to young people’s participation across all of our programmes. Bursaries have provided one to one support for children with specific needs in Weekly Workshops; they have helped with travel and accommodation costs for participants whose home location is a significant distance from their activity and they have covered the cost of fees for venue based sessions for those from low income backgrounds. One hundred young people benefitted across the year and we continue to seek donations to keep the bursary fund flourishing. A huge thank you to the Scottish Children’s Lottery for getting this off to such a positive start.

FORGING STRONG PARTNERSHIPS FOR SUCCESS The year saw a drive to grow relationships with like-minded organisations and practitioners across Scotland and we achieved strong foundations to build on in future years. The partnerships enable a strategic approach to delivering youth theatre opportunities and progression routes bespoke to each location and make the most of sharing knowledge, resources and contacts.

Making Space at Dundee Rep Theatre Our first regional venue partnership for Making Space with Dundee Rep was a rewarding collaboration which saw the introduction of a new platform for the sharing of the artists’ work at the Rep’s festival, Rep Stripped.

Case Study: Lisa Williamson – Participation & Young Artists Associate, dundee rep Here at Dundee Rep Theatre our Participation & Young Artists strand is dedicated to creating a wide variety of opportunities for artists in the North East of Scotland. We felt we wanted to offer something for young people who were interested in making their own piece of theatre independently and felt that Scottish Youth Theatre’s Making Space model was already doing this brilliantly so we approached to discuss a partnership. It was fantastic to have the variety of artists sharing the work they had created as part of Rep Stripped Festival in April. I think it has allowed us to feel better equipped and more confident to offer independent but supported space in the theatre for the creation of brandnew work and that absolutely happened because of the fantastic partnership with Scottish Youth Theatre and their willingness to share resources, knowledge and support.

L-R Mitchell Robertson, Kirsten Hutchison and Andrew McLeish, participants in Making Space

Just saw Letters from the Trenches. Incredibly poignant piece of storytelling. Stunning performances from the young actors.

Saul Davidson in Letters from the Trenches © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection


LetterS From The Trenches It was an honour to be invited to perform as part of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum’s commemoration of the end of World War I. On the centenary day, in the charged surroundings of the Brushes with War exhibition, Saul Davidson, Lauren O’Donnell and Alexander Donaldson performed letters written by soldiers, nurses and their families and readings of famous works by Wilfred Owen and Lawrence Binyon.

Tell Us Who We Are


As part of Scotland’s Year of Young People and Glasgow’s Festival 2018, participants from Scottish Youth Theatre, National Youth Choir of Scotland, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and YDance collaborated for the first time to create and perform Tell Us Who We Are. The multi-disciplinary production showcased participants’ exceptional skills in their own art forms and enabled them to learn from each other in the creation of a piece that contrasted the experiences of today’s young people with their contemporaries from the First World War.

2018/2019 saw us increase our connections with private business and trusts who showed their support for Scotland’s emerging theatre makers.

…a powerful performance, produced for the Year of Young People… It was thought provoking from start to finish and the hugely talented young people performing all aspects of the production should be incredibly proud!” SANDRA WHITE MSP

Inspired by the creativity of the young theatre makers from the National Ensemble, Richmond Oaks Group pledged £15,000 in support of the creation of the new work. With a keen interest in the impact of living with debt on mental health, the company also shared their knowledge and experiences with the cast to inform one of the key narratives in the piece. The amount was match funded by Arts & Business Scotland via the Culture and Business Fund Scotland, providing the Ensemble with valuable touring experience and the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience.

With the development of the new business model we began to look at our Glasgow venue and regular activity with fresh eyes. Growing the venue’s role as a social enterprise to raise income for the charity, we continued to fill the spaces with the vibrancy of children and young people and the diverse organisations who held their own events and activities of all shapes and sizes.

Weekly Workshops

Holiday programmes

Each term, we continued to welcome over 200 participants aged 3 – 25 to our weekly drama sessions in Glasgow. June saw the marathon of 13 performances in one day as the Summer Stramash gave every workshop group the opportunity to perform to family and friends.

During the April and October school breaks, young people aged 8 – 11 enjoyed learning a variety of theatre skills in our Theatre Toolbox programmes.

FAMILY STORYTIME COMPANY 2018 Four emerging artists completed their year with us, learning skills in making interactive theatre for young audiences with a science theme. They created performances which delighted and enthralled children and families through the year, both familiar tales like The Selfish Giant and their popular original piece Captain Brave.

In soaring temperatures the acclaimed Summer Courses were a hotbed of creativity, engaging 105 young people across the 6 courses with a distinctly outer space theme. Each course culminated in performances of newly created work shared with audiences of 505 people.

Can I just say thank you so much my little boy loved coming here this week. It helped his confidence and normally when I work during holidays he gives me a hard time but couldn’t wait to come to Scottish Youth Theatre. 10 out of 10. PAMELA MCGRAIL

Daniel Orejon in The Selfish Giant Image by James Johnson


Festive Show 2018


Sura Latif and Allan Othieno in ‘Sno Snow

Directed by Kirstin McLean, our annual festive show gave an extended training opportunity to four young artists in the making of ‘Sno Snow! Audiences of small children and their families learned more about climate change in the new piece of theatre. The 55 performances in December played to an overall audience of 2,822.

We loved it- parents and the kids ... This year in particular had an important message which wasn’t wasted on the kids. Keep up the great work!

VENUE HIRE As we shaped our new plans for the venue over the year, our facilities continued to be a popular location for external organisations to run their own cultural activities, training, meetings and conferences. Higher and Further Education institutions brought their end of year productions in abundance, City of Glasgow College and MusicAll continued to hire spaces year round and arts and third sector organisations remained our most regular clients.

DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS Core Staff (as at April 2019) Mary McCluskey at the final performance of Tell us Who We Are Image by Paul Watt

Calum Hodgson Events Assistant

Caroline Cosgrove

Finance and Administration Director

Ewa Czupajlo Cleaner

Ewa Karwat Cleaner

Giampiero Giacomel Fundraising Manager

Gordon Hutchison Building Custodian

Jacky Hardacre

After 26 years working with Scottish Youth Theatre, September saw the departure of Artistic Director, Mary McCluskey. Mary’s impact on young people over the length of her tenure was most keenly felt at her leaving event when many of those she had worked with returned to wish her well with performances, messages and tales to tell. Thank you to Mary for dedicating so much of her life to the mission of Scottish Youth Theatre.

Mahri Reilly Creative Producer

We also said goodbye and thank you to a number of the team, including longer serving members Karen McGradyParker who had been with Scottish Youth Theatre in a range of artistic roles for over 15 years and Laura Spence who had first joined us as a graduate trainee in 2013. As the company restructured, we welcomed new people to the team. In two newly created roles, Mahri Reilly joined us as Creative Producer in August 2018 and Giampiero Giacomel took up post as Fundraising Manager in January 2019. A whole new venue team saw the arrival of Michael Alan Read as Venue Manager, Vicky Mohieddeen as Youth Arts Coordinator, Calum Hodgson as Events Assistant and Gordon Hutchison as Building Custodian.

Chief Executive

Julia Krajewska Cleaner

Kathryn Bradley

Marketing and Communications Manager

Laura Wright

Assistant Finance Manager

Mahri Reilly

Creative Producer

Michael-Alan Read Venue Manager

Vicky Mohieddeen Youth Arts Coordinator

Board OF DIRECTORS Craig Steele Hazel McIlwraith Inga McVicar Janette Harkess Vice Chair

Liz Cameron Paul Zealey Chair

Robert Allan Susie Fraser

Patrons Alan Cumming Bill Paterson Billy Boyd Brian Cox Blythe Duff Colin McCredie David Rintoul Elaine C Smith Emma Thompson John Michie Liz Lochhead Marilyn Bannen Phyllida Law Paul Riley Richard Wilson

Those who moved on in 2018/2019 Claire Davidson

Workshop Coordinator

Hannah Mears Young Events Assistant

James Johnson Events Assistant

Creatives, Assistants and Contractors in 2018/2019


Adam Tartaglia, Alana Crawford, Alana Friell, Alex Bird, Alex Strouts, Alice Donnelly, Allan Othieno, Andrew Campbell, Andrew Jeffery, Andrew Still, Arran Howie, Becca Mitchell, Beth Kovarik, Brian Ferguson, Caitlin Fairlie, Caroline McCoo, Chris Holmes, Chris Moffat, Clive Mitchell, Courtenay Drakos, Daniel Orejon, David Gillan, David Healy, Drew Taylor, Elleanor Taylor, Emma Brierley, Emma Cunningham, Emma Jayne Park, Emma King, Fiona Hollow, Fraser Lappin, Grace Green, Harriet Feeny, Harriet Rafferty, Hazel Douglas, Helen Cuinn, Jack Gordon, Jai Sharma, Jennifer Athan, Kat Murray, Kat Wilson, Katy Steele, Kevin Lennon, Kirstin McLean, Kirsty Malone, Kirsty Pickering, Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir, Lauren O’Donnell, Leah Byrne, Leona Craig, Lewis Reid, Linzi Doyle, Louis Pegna, Mhairi Duncan, Mirain Fflur, Natalie Welch, Nathan Byrne, Nia Wood, Nik PagetTomlison, Pete Lannon, Quee McArthur, Rachel Still, Rachel Sweeney, Rohna Mackay, Ross Beagan, Ross Brown, Ross MacKay, Ross Somerville, Ruxy Cantir, Samantha Rae, Sarah Rose Graber, Shelby Johnston, Sonia Gardes, Stephanie Falls, Stuart Woods, Sura Latif, Suzanne Runciman, Tommy Ga Ken Wan

Arts & Business Scotland

Arnold Clark

Baillie Gifford Jim Thomson Margaret Hearne Murgitroyd Richmond Oaks Group Scottish Children’s Lottery


Glasgow City Council Scottish Government

Jon Stonefield

Building Custodian

Karen McGrady-Parker

Associate Director (Pathways)

Laura Spence

Assistant Producer


Mary McCluskey


Artistic Director


Artistic activity & marketing

Megan Ashley


Venue running costs / event delivery


Management & administration

Venue Assistant

Mikey Jarrell


Venue Manager

Rosy Duncan Venue Assistant

20% 28% 42% 30%

45% 35%

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All uncredited images by Tommy Ga Ken Wan

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Annual Review 2018 - 2019  

Scottish Youth Theatre Annual Review 2018 - 2019

Annual Review 2018 - 2019  

Scottish Youth Theatre Annual Review 2018 - 2019


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