Guest blog by Owen Thomas
Youth theatre in an excellent way for young people to develop their performance skills. But it is about more than that. As a teacher, I have long understood that not every student wants to be a performer. However, all can benefit from improved confidence, team-building skills and problem solving. These skills are cross curricular and will help all students develop as individuals. Youth theatre is also an excellent way for young people to develop friendships and learn more about the world around them.
I have long thought that Tongwynlais would benefit from having a Youth Theatre. There are a lot of young people in the village, and there is potential to do something really creative, that harnesses their talents and develops their skills. It would be terrific if it could act as a springboard for the village to have regular performances, a Christmas Panto for example, to help bring the community together.
A typical session will begin with a few games designed to improve these skills before moving on to improvisation and role play. I am also hoping to encourage the students to develop as writers and directors. These skills will suit them very well either as preparation for Secondary School or to complement the learning they are currently undertaking. I am also aware that Radyr School have recently stopped offering drama in year 8 and so my sessions will be designed to fill this gap if there are any students wanting to pick it as an option at the end of the year. I am also planning on developing a performance showcase for the young people to be involved in, ideally at the end of the first term.
I am aware not everyone knows anything about me or what I do, so I should outline my credentials.
I graduated in 2000 from Cardiff Metropolitan University with BA (Hons) in Secondary Drama. I taught in London for four years before returning to Wales. I then taught for 14 years at Y Pant Comprehensive School, in that time rising from Head of Drama to Head of Performing Arts to Assistant Headteacher. I have lectured in Theatre and Drama, and have taught at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff. I have also been a Playwright since 2001, recently leaving teaching to pursue my playwriting career. I still undertake some freelance teaching and lecturing, so consequently I am fully DBS checked.
I taught Youth Theatre for 10 years at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff where I am currently now a member of the Board and adviser on the Artistic Policy Committee. I have also taught Youth theatre at many other theatres around the country, and for 12 years I was in charge of Y Pant Youth Theatre.
As a Playwright, my work has been performed throughout the UK and the USA. My credits include ‘Grav’ and ‘The Wood’ (Torch Theatre, Milford Haven), ‘Benny’ and ‘Richard Parker’ (Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff. In 2012 ‘Richard Parker’ won Best International Show at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in Los Angeles, and in 2016 ‘Grav’ won the Audience Award at the Wales Theatre Awards. This year my plays have been performed in a National Tour, The Edinburgh Festival, New York and Washington.
Editor – Read our interview with Owen from 2013.
I have lived in Tongwynlais for 10 years. Married to Amelia, we have twin daughters, Sofie and Brooke. Both attended Tongwynlais Primary School and are now in Year 8 at Radyr Comprehensive School.
The cost of the sessions is £60.00 for a 12-week course. This equates to £5.00 per session and is very competitive with other Youth Theatres in the local area. For questions about payment or anything else please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Likewise, if you would like them to participate but are finding payment an issue, then please get in touch. I am sure that we can work something out.
Image credit – Nick Ansell