When the Company staged Les Miserables in 2017, it was decided that – just a year after the murder of local MP Jo Cox – it was important to create a project that allowed a discussion of, and a response to, the events of the previous summer, and the values, aspirations and qualities of Jo Cox.
Under the direction of Viv Buckley, and choreographer Julie Hobday, an original piece of theatre was created entirely by the young people of the Company that went to the heart of what they felt about Jo and what had happened in their community a year earlier. On the 12th August 2017, the resulting work More in Common was given its debut in the pop-up Jo Cox Theatre in Batley & Spen.
The piece looked at what Jo Cox stood for in the widest context, not ‘telling her story’ but looking at the themes her brilliant and passionate life has thrown up. Young people had reflected on her life and created a piece that looked at refugees, equality, political engagement, grief, war, community and standing up for what you believe in.
It was described by West End Director Nick Evans who said,
“I think while many people will talk about the scale and detail of our production of Les Miserables, this is actually the most important thing that a Youth Theatre does. This strand of the project has challenged the young people to express, question and develop their own opinions, and has directly empowered them as designers, directors, choreographers and writers. This creative process is where a young person from Batley & Spen finds the belief to become an artist in the widest sense.