After years of coming very close to being cast, an island youth theater group is heading to one of London’s most prestigious stages as part of a UK-wide theater festival. United.
Kensington Youth Arts theater group have been chosen for the final of the National Theatre’s Connections festival and will travel to the Dorfman Theater in London at the end of June to line up with nine other groups from across the UK and perform for an audience of some of the biggest names in British theatre.
The cast, aged 12-18 and including Iva Petrova, Katie-Rose Hughes, Eowyn Goldie, Lexi Forbes, Callum McWhinnie-Joughin, Lydia Hunter, Daniel Ansara, Sophie Hindson, Thomas Bell, Felicia Kelly-Pringle, Lacey Cannell, David Livsey and Eve Puzzar recently took part in the UK-wide festival, where they selected one of 10 specially written plays and performed it at the York Theater Royal in April.
Manx actor and drama teacher David Dawson directed the play and the group were also joined by a team of young people behind the scenes, Tadgh Hall, Cici Reed and Xenia Bentley-Garcia, who will also travel to London.
The band performed ‘Hunt’, written by Irish playwright Fionnula Kennedy, about a risque game played by a group of teenagers on the streets of Belfast.
Over 250 youth groups also performed in theaters across the UK, with one from each of the plays being chosen to be performed in London.
“It’s amazing news. We can’t believe it and it’s amazing to be chosen,” David said.
“The actors are blown away by the news, and most of them are very new to acting and they take it very differently.
“Some are very excited and some quite terrified, while a few are not at all in tune with it and are taking it in their stride.
“Most important is how much it puts Manx theater on the map. It’s a big deal for some of our young actors to be chosen on merit to walk the same stage that Tom Hiddlestone and Benedict Cumberbatch recently played.
“That’s huge for any actor, let alone a band from the island, and a band of young people at that.” It’s one of the first big theatrical experiences these actors are going to have, and it’s something for them to worry about.
“Plus, the play’s author, Fionnula Kennedy, will also be there to watch, which is also very exciting.”
The Connections festival has been running for 27 years and the band Kensington Road have participated for the past eight years.
Previous young actors to take part in the festival include Joe Locke, who recently starred in the high-profile Netflix series “Heartstopper.”
“We have traveled far and wide, performing in York, Inverness and many other wonderful theaters across the British Isles,” David said.
“Furthermore, youth groups were only able to visit five of them. The previous two festivals were held virtually and we had to perform the Isle of Man plays
‘It’s a festival we once loved and now it means a bit more to us!
“It’s already a brilliant festival to attend, as one of 300 youth groups and over 5,500 young actors from across the UK, but being selected to go to London is just the icing on the cake. the cake.
“It’s something we should be proud of, and it’s something that should also underscore the quality of the theater resources we have, particularly with the Kensington Youth Arts Centre.
“It’s a wonderful facility and she and Peter Shimmin, who has taken over its leadership, should be fully supported to realize the potential of the young people who come through its doors.”
Kensington Youth Arts theater group will perform in London on Thursday 30 June.