Upcoming gigs

Upcoming Gigs

Click here for my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter @Henry_Raby


TESTT (Durham): April 12th

The New Adelphi (Hull): April 15th

Workshop Theatre (Leeds): April 17th

Hydra Bookshop (Bristol): April 18th

Derby Theatre: April 20th

Harrogate Theatre: April 24-25th

Ovalhouse (London): April 26-28th


London Book Launch at Ovalhouse, April 26th

York Book Launch at All Saints Church, April 29th

Small Fry DIY, Warrington, 2nd May

Spoken Weird, Halifax: 3rd May

Born Lippy, Newcastle 9th May

Shaken In Sheep Town, Skipton: 10th May

Find The Right Words, Leicester : 16th May

Queenie’s Coffee Nights, Huddersfield: 21st May

Gong Fu Poets, Coxhoe: 31st May

Verse Matters, Sheffield: 7th June

Slam Dunk, Hastings: 28th June

Word Club, Leeds: 29th June

Poetry Jam, Durham: 4th October

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

#ILoveYouthTheatre of 2013

Youth Theatre 2013

This year I was very privileged to catch a huge variety of very impressive performances from Youth Theatre groups across the UK.  Partly due to my work as both a freelance artist and my duties for NAYT, but also I think because YTs are producing larger-scale and high quality shows.

The Castle YT’s Lost In Wonderland took Alice In Wonderland and injected it with angry adrenaline, fused with lashings of physical theatre.  A non-stop furious assault led with the energy only young people can bring.  Harrogate YT’s adaptations of the Shock-Headed Peter poems were typically creepy in the site-specific atmospheric (aka freezing) Valley Garden.  York Theatre Royal’s YT did a great job with the morally complex Where Shadows Go At Night, an important story about the use of pacifist direct action against the Second World War.  Girls Like That was a brave and impressive debut from West Yorkshire Playhouse YT.  In terms of 21st century feminism, it blew another politics-based ‘professional’ WYP production out of the water.  The Jungle Book from Riding Lights Youth Theatre took me back to when I was a member of YT myself, and our director put us through intensive ensemble work.  Jungle Book was a suitably impressive bestial, brutish, fuming cacophony.

Honourable mentions to Pick ‘n’ Mix from City Varieties YT, Chips ‘n’ Egg from Steep Turnpike YT, York YT’s 8-11s showcase of plays (Molly of the Midfield, Dark Age, Small Fry & In The Shadow of The Quarks)and work-in-progress pieces from Flying High YT (Black Roses), Page2Stage (Teen Angel) & ArtsSparks YT (Hansel & Gretel).  I was also proud to work with ArtsSparks YT alongside the Touring Consortium & Pilot Theatre on a soundwalk project called Welcome To Darlignton.

But the best youth theatre show I saw this year was unquestionable…The Gargoyles of York performed by York Youth Theatre’s 5-8s.  OK, I might be biased.  I wrote it.  But it was directed in the madcap stylings of Natalie Quatermass and delivered by an even madder bunch of bright performers!  The cast were a clawing ensemble of mysterious monsters with flashes of a wholesome love for the artistic cultures we must defend.  Plus, it was ace.

I’m currently wrestling with a commission for Harrogate Youth Theatre called Hang On Just A Minute, a very different beast to conquer indeed.  For an older teenage age group, the HYT want something light-hearted, so I am growing a comedic script rooted in naturalism/realism with a branch of farce, very different to my usual lyrical approach.

But just like Gargoyles of York, my top priority is that the work should be inspired by the young people.  Of course audience, director and space all factor, but the main pulse of my writing is knowing the cast I’m writing for have a wicked sense of humour, a penchant for a good comedic-set-ups and, essentially, bucket-loads of enthusiasm.

For more of my writing for young people & Youth Theatres, check out my website here.

Already excited to catch Stephen Joseph YT at NAYT’s Raising The Game event in February and all the YTs at the Regional Youth Theatre Festival & my mate Dave’s production of Bedlam at Salisbury Playhouse by Stage65 YT, and the usual hometown productions of York’s YYT, Riding Lights YT & Upstage Centre YT.  Here’s to a plethora of quality Youth Theatre work in 2014! 


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