Updated: Feb 9
With so many new people in the NYTC family, we thought it may be a great time to explain how we manage to do what we do....
NYTC is an amateur not for profit theatre company for teens.
It has a long history, starting in 1975 when the Arts Festival Committee wanted a performance by local children included in their programme. Originally called the Northavon Children's Theatre Company, it was open to children from 6 - 16. Over time, it has evolved and become independent of The Arts Festival, been under the lead of four different principals, most well known being Lyn who gave an impressive 35 years of her time. Lyn changed the age range to 11-18 and the name to Northavon Youth Theatre Company. Under Lyn's guidance, the company grew and at one stage had more than 60 teens in the company and a hefty waiting list.
All of this was done with the support of the parents who have always helped in whichever way they can. We need help. We need families to support what we do by helping. We know you are busy. We understand that you have other children who need ferrying from A to B we don't expect you to commit to give 5 hours every weekend but we need significantly more help than we are currently getting.
How can I help? I have no theatre experience. Neither have many of the parents who have given their time and support but you would be surprised at what you can do. We need help to built sets, paint sets, construct costumes, raise funds, publicity, box office, sell tickets, help front of house, help move sets from the set building warehouse, chaperoning during performances, make up etc etc. There is a wide variety of ways to help.
The membership fees you pay simply cover the cost of hiring the rehearsal space, Josh's time and expertise, insurance, website and basic stationary. The cost of the show is (supposed to be) covered by ticket sales but you would be surprised at how expensive putting on a show is. The Armstrong Hall bill is well over £3000, while the hire of the libretto scores and rights to be able to perform are closer to £4000. Then we still have the professional musicians to pay, the lights to hire and the sound to be paid for which amounts to well over £5000. With only 5 performances and around 250 seats, and tickets prices limited by what the punters are prepared to pay, you can see that the budget is very tight. We simply cannot afford to hire in sets and costumes. Some companies charge parents £100+ per show for costumes and 'show expenses'. In adult amateur companies, the company understand their role is not just onstage - they also have to play a role in the production process or it won't happen.
As an amateur company, working with teens, we have the same legal responsibilities to the children as any other 'school'. As amateurs, we do not have paid staff so we rely on support from the families of the company. Just to put some perspective on NYTC, Stagecoach, Razzamataz, Pauline Quirke Academy and many of the franchised stage schools offer 3 hours of coaching a week: 1 hour of singing, 1 hour of dance and 1 hour of drama. They do not integrate the skills and they do not put on a production. The standard of their tuition is comparable to ours and they operate a termly timetable, charging between £275 and £330 per term. We rehearse for 5 hours each Saturday from September to the show at Easter and charge £75 per term in membership fees.
Why such a lengthy blog? Because so far, we have appealed to you for help numerous times and still do not have enough support.
Jill Fallows heads up the Chaperones and has asked for volunteers on Saturday mornings. We have had help from a handful of people and I am incredibly grateful for their support but I see the same faces each weekend. Legally, we are bound by ratios and cannot operate without support. Every family should do at least one Saturday.
Will is in his first year as our construction manager. Will works full time, has three kids, two of which are in the company and has already given up much time to meet with the production team - all of whom are volunteers. We have already had two days of set building and absolutely no one has turned up to help Will and Paul. Will cannot build the sets alone and it is not OK for him to be alone in the workshop. What if he has an accident? We use power tools so if he is alone the whole day needs to be called off. Both Will and Paul, (and John, the previous construction manager) take time off work to get the sets erected in the Armstrong Hall. I am not asking for you to do the same but we do need everyone to put some time in to support NYTC.
You do not need to be an expert builder, you simply need to have basic DIY skills. Someone in your family must have some basic DIY skills. Ask Grandma, Grandpa, Mum or Dad but we need commitment and help to get this show on the road. Besides, it is fun and you may find it nice to meet new people. All the dates for set building are in the blog titled 'Ready, Set....' and how to get in touch with Will.
If you haven't contacted Will but find yourself wanting to help - just turn up on the dates listed. The set workshop is at Pool Farm in Oldbury on Severn on Power Station Road (as it is known locally because it leads to the Power Station). Our Workshop faces towards the Power Station and overlooks the field.
ADVERTISING, SALES AND MARKETING
We are in desperate need of an advertising, sales and marketing person to take on the role of publicising the show and getting articles in the local press. If people don't know we are there they cannot buy tickets. We do not need a lifetime commitment or a degree and a career of experience we just need someone to take the repsonsibility form Elly as she is trying to juggle so many other roles to get this show on. Even if you think you can help for this show, it would be greatly appreciated.
PLEASE THINK ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP.
Everyone has something to offer. We don't need you to be an expert but Elly is definitely not an expert in many of the areas she has had to tackle and she cannot complete all the tasks on her to do list.
We hope to see many more of you soon.