Welcome to the website of the Batley & Spen Youth Theatre Company. The Company was founded in early 2017, initially to celebrate and recognise the extraordinary work for the young people of the area by the MP Jo Cox, who had been killed in June 2016. The Company drew together over 100 young people from the constituency and surrounding areas to stage a unique production of Les Misérables, which was Jo’s favourite musical. Led by professionals and educators from the West End Theatres of London, the show was staged over a week in August 2017 in a specially-built pop-up theatre at the Oxfam Wastesaver Site in Batley, renamed for the occasion as the ‘Jo Cox Theatre’.
The remarkable drive and passion of the young people of the area that emerged that summer evidenced two things; the exciting work in the arts that was already happening in the schools, drama groups and local youth theatres of the region, and the need to profile and complement this activity with regular projects bringing professionals from the National Theatre Companies and major West End Theatres to the Batley & Spen area.
It was decided, in consultation with local stake-holders, that the Company should be set up on a permanent basis in the constituency, with the following aims and objectives.
- Develop an environment where every participant is valued, ensuring mutual respect is fostered and celebrated
- Bestow a wealth of positive values for young people to take back into their schools and communities
- Encourage each young person to achieve and surpass their potential
- Foster the belief that hard work and courage changes us and those around us for the better
- Ignite a passion in its young participants that could lead to a career in theatre or on our screens.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
From its inception, the Batley and Spen Youth Theatre has always been a collaboration between three groups:
- The young people who are its lifeblood, who come to the Company to learn about acting, singing, movement, writing, producing, directing, costume, lighting, stage management, make-up, sound and design.
- Leading directors, choreographers, producers, educators and artists from some of the most successful theatres and productions across the UK.
- Our supporters and fundraisers – the people who champion the right of young people from every background to access arts education, and who through their donations, advocacy and hard work have helped the Company to grow and move forward.
If you would like to be more involved in the Company as a participant, you can register your interest by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you are able to assist with the fundraising and support of the Company in any way, please link to our fundraising page here.
By the end of 2019, the Batley & Spen Youth Theatre Company had staged three major projects, all of which challenged its Company Members in both Performance and Theatre Production Arts. You can find out more about each by clicking on the links.
2017 – Les Misérables (Boublil & Schonberg)
Photo: Marilyn Kingwill
The inaugural work of the Batley & Spen Youth Theatre Company, staged in Traverse at the Oxfam Wastesaver Warehouse
2017 – More In Common (BSYTC)
Photo: Nick Evans
A work devised and written by Company members, based on the life and values of Jo Cox MP.
2018 – Deeds Not Words (BSTYC)
Photo: Will Alder
A new theatre piece written and created by Company members, based on the Soldiers and Suffragettes of the West Yorkshire region a century earlier in 1918.