Youth theatre company expanding skills with latest production

Amanda Jess
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NEW GLASGOW – With each production, Amanda Gillis sees improvement in the youth she directs.

The New Glasgow Youth Theatre Company has seen growth since its beginning last March. They’re now up to 14 members, ranging in age from nine to 18. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS

The New Glasgow Youth Theatre Company’s latest show, An Evening of Drama, is a series of nine one-act plays or sketches, exploring sombre topics and humour.

“It’s been very enjoyable and I’ve seen tremendous growth in them opening up, letting go and gaining that self-confidence so they’re not so self-conscious walking out on stage,” Gillis said.

Their third production as a company is simple in terms of staging and props, allowing them to focus on their acting and character development, Gillis said.

Many of the short plays were ones she had been keeping in mind, and tried to find others that would match their lack of budget, focusing on story lines with a character who is coping with challenging situations.

“This was a good opportunity to have more than a couple lines,” she said. “They’re not on stage for a long time, but when they are, there’s something there to work with and it’s a bit more of a challenge in that way and they have a bit of a character to explore.”

This production’s setup also allowed Gillis to spend more time with the performers on an individual basis.

Most of the scenes only have two characters, giving Gillis a chance to work with them one-on-one.

The subject matter is somewhere in between their first two productions of “I Don’t Want To Talk About It,” a serious play examining teen issues, and “Goose Girl,” a children’s production, Gillis said, noting that it might not be suited for really young audiences.

“This is really different in that it’s really a variety show…. It does follow a similar theme of humour and dealing with certain problems,” actor Joshua Fifield said.

The 16-year-old is in two scenes in the production, forcing him to switch from a serious role to a silly one.

“But that is just a challenge for yourself and it’s good to have that challenge so you can learn how to deal with that.”

18-year-old Jessie Craig has come up against challenges as well.

“There was a lot of yelling, and I’m kind of generally more of a quiet person. I had to scream at the top of my lungs. It was super fun and I’m just really excited to get out of my comfort zone,” she said.

Fifield and Craig are two of the senior actors with the 14-member company, ranging in age from nine to 18.

Their latest play runs Thursday and Friday at Glasgow Square, beginning at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth.

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda

Organizations: New Glasgow Youth Theatre Company

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