18 members of Gloucester’s Strike A Light Youth Theatre worked together to create and stage a brand new performance, taking place on board a train from Gloucester to Lydney.
Over the course of 2 hours, audience members – who had booked tickets specially – were treated to a journey of the imagination: starting on the platform at Gloucester train station, throughout the duration of the Gloucester-Lydney journey, and finally along the walk from Lydney station to the scenic harbourside.
11-18 yr olds from the youth theatre groups in Matson and CityWorks had worked on devising and rehearsing the production – called ‘Us’ – for 4 months. The finished show combined comedy, physical theatre and magic and delighted the audience who had come along to watch.
‘Us’ was commissioned by Gloucestershire Community Rail Partnership (GCRP) and CrossCountry as a way to connect Gloucester’s urban youth rural places through sustainable travel. The project was designed to show young people that they can use public transport as a vehicle to gain independence and confidence, also improving their health and wellbeing.
A spokesperson for GCRP said “we put people and communities at the forefront of all our thinking; our projects are designed to put Gloucestershire and the sustainable transport agenda on the map through a participative, community-led approach. By allowing young people to explore their feelings on rail travel, we can bridge the gap between communities and transport providers.”
Charlene Olaleye, Participation Producer for Strike A Light, said “it was just a fantastic day for everyone involved. The young people got to showcase their imagination and their skills in front of a real live audience. And the audience had a brilliant time, too!”
There are lots of opportunities for anyone interested in the project to get involved in similar activities in future:
- if you like the sound of the train journey, the service from Gloucester to Lydney runs at regular intervals every day
- if you’re interested in seeing exciting performances in unexpected places, keep an eye on Strike A Light’s upcoming events – the next planned activity is a mini-festival for young activists in Gloucester on 30 July.
- if you know a young person who wants to join the youth theatre, places are open now to sign up for the new term, starting in September. Free places are available to those who need them. For more information, see strikealight.org.uk/take-part-youth-theatre-and-dance-in-gloucester/