At the start of the project, our aim was to make a piece of theatre with the young people at Anstee Bridge to contribute to the confidence through creativity ethos the programme celebrates.
We also wanted to make a piece of theatre for young people who might not traditionally go to the theatre. In doing so we have found a new way of collaborating and shaping theatre making.
We also wanted to make a piece of theatre where the young people weren't judged on whether they wanted to go on stage or not.
The original idea for the play came from the company. Working with a lot of young people, we are aware of their love of Fried Chicken, so we started with that as the title. We read an article about a security guard who saved a teenager hurt in a fight. We then asked ‘What would happen if a group of teenagers were locked in a shop. What would they reveal about themselves?”
The play then went to the young people. Over both years the young people and the staff have used real life experiences and recounts to create the characters. In the second year we have been bolder in putting out some of these stories. The characters represent real experiences of trying to deal with violence, bullying and feeling isolated when your trust has been broken. It hasn’t been an easy play to write but I think its an honest play. It represents just how fragile some young people really are and why places like Anstee Bridge are vital to help them rebuild their confidence.
As a piece of theatre, it’s been an incredibly collaborative process. The young people have worked with a writer, developed the story and the plot. They’ve edited the script to reflect the changes in contemporary slang. They’ve helped audition actors, direct rehearsals, manage the technical needs of the play, budgeted for and chosen costume, hair and make up. They’ve had the opportunity to work with the actors or choose to work out in front of house.
For this show, they are a company and we’re incredibly lucky to be working with them. I think they have helped us make a piece of theatre that is contemporary, relevant and thought provoking. Here are a few highlights!