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Youth Theatre Online: A Disappearing Number

Whilst our youth theatre workshops are suspended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we are sharing weekly updates with theatre related online resources for our youth theatre. We’ve added the newsletter here in case it’s helpful for others too!

Week 2: 30/03/2020

Live Artist Q&As

We have an online live Q&A lined up from theatre maker and LAMDA graduate Rosa Hesmondhalgh about Creating and Devising Your Own Work. We will be circulating Rosa’s play Madame Ovary next week for you to read ahead of the Q&A. Madame Ovary was first staged at the Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, in 2019, winning the VAULT Pick of the Pleasance Award.

A Disappearing Number: this week’s play screening

Winner of the 2008 Olivier Award for Best New Play, A Disappearing Number tells the true story of the extraordinary collaboration between Cambridge professor G.H. Hardy and self-taught mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, who made some of the most significant mathematical discoveries of the 20th century. This production was devised by Complicité and directed by Simon McBurney.

Inspirational online resources

We know many families are struggling financially at this time, so if you’d like us to share any links to financial help that might be available do let us know.

Looking forward to sharing more theatre resources next Monday. What did everyone think of Funny Girl? Such a feel good musical and Sheridan Smith was brilliant! Any favourite parts or songs? *Check out Matty’s review below!

Hope you and your family are keeping well.

Very best wishes,

Ruth, Matt and Matty x

*Funny Girl Review: Matty

First of all, I think to be able to share in these digital showings is such a brilliant idea and I hope our youth theatre folk have found time to sit and watch this week’s screening. You can still catch it with the details if you’re lagging behind, I know there’s loads to get accustomed to in this weird time and you may well be overwhelmed with online schooling etc. and extra home work from us! But believe me when I say, I reckon if you’ve watched Funny Girl I can imagine you guys coming to us this Monday afternoon telling us you just LOVED IT and that it’s one of your new favourite musical because I think I’d agree with you!

The story, following “a bagel on a plate onion rolls”, paints a picture of the magical golden age of stage entertainment and musical theatre, I’ll be honest I’m often a little hesitant with musical theatre in general, you might not think it, sometimes I need to be won over lol…like Heathers did for me, did I tell anyone that I saw the original Off-Broadway production? BUT actually, Sheridan (who was INCREDIBLE) Smith’s character, Fanny Brice, cuts through this potentially cliched world almost instantly with a character who is insistent on breaking the mould, which is why I imagine it was thought to be revived with that theme still being relevant today, I guess sadly it will likely always be relevant.

I think the main thing’s that stood out to me were the varying representations of masculinity and femininity and that there are places for all types of people in the world, which seems obvious to us but it’s always good to be made aware of it and celebrate our differences. But also actually the big difference I found in this rag to riches story was that the focus wasn’t so much about her losing her sense of character and where and who she came from and being swept up in the world of fame, she seemed to maintain her connection to her roots, but was more about her innate resilience and strength to believe in herself. She gets caught up in the idea that she is dependent on the love of another for her success but it comes to pass that actually she succeeds, and was succeeding the whole time, without the presence of the love interest and you see this acceptance of self and continuing to go on at the very end of the show displayed beautifully.

I did think however the moment where she was being blamed for stifling a man and his desire to work was questionable. Male and female we all strive to achieve, it is a human desire to achieve, much like her desire to achieve was being stifled at the beginning, so I’m a little disappointed that this comparison wasn’t made but instead was presented as stopping a man from ‘being a man’. But I’m willing to accept that this could be a minor point in a play that actually presents a very inspired heart felt story of lovable character who uses and knows her talents, and the true support she has around her, to succeed and prove her critics wrong. Agree or disagree? What did you guys think?

This news item was posted on 7 April 2020.


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