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Middle Youth Theatre in rehearsals

Flying the Flag - Middle Youth Theatre prepare for RAW performances

Posted on 26 June 2019

Next week, seven of the Belgrade Theatre’s youth drama groups will be presenting a series of short performances as part of this year’s RAW showcase. RAW is a devising programme that provides youngsters with a platform to create and showcase their own work that explores issues important to them.

Our young participants are channelling their creative energies into producing diverse performances infused with engaging themes of social justice, inequality and the right to live free from discrimination. These productions are perfectly aligned with the national Fly the Flag which is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 24-30 June.

We dropped into our Middle Youth Theatre group who have been busy creating performances that delve into a range of issues facing youngsters today. These three performances not only serve our youth artistically but also hold a mirror up to society, exploring concerns such as media corruption, adversity towards the transgender community and challenges for women in the workplace.

Our first group described how they often feel misinformed by the news and media.

“Our show is about the news and how corrupt it is. We are trying to make our audience understand how we should talk about the more important things on the news. This is so people are fully informed in their daily life. For example, people tend to ignore the fact that in Coventry there are a lot of killings through knife crime. This is not said often in the news which does not help people,” Nefali explains.

“I think it’s an important thing to talk about because a lot of people are quick to jump on what they hear and automatically believe what they read without really doing their own research. Even though the play has a comedic format, it still has very serious undertones. You want people to realise not everything is as it seems. There’s always two different sides to one story,” adds James.

The portrayal of specific communities in the media is a major problem for some young people. In their show, Visible, our second group highlight the disheartening discrimination towards and false portrayal of transgendered people in the media.

“I’m trans myself. We see in the media how transgender people are shown in a certain light thus falsely represented. I want to create something that portrays trans people in a different light and represent them in many different ways, to prove that there is not just one representation,” says Tyler.

“You shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself and show who you are and we just wanted to show that. Transgendered people are going through a hard problem. I just want to show different perspectives on transgendered people,” adds Kyle.

Finally, Man’s World demonstrates that there are women who still fear entering a predominantly male work sector as they are unsure and uneasy about perceptions of working women.

“Our piece ‘Man’s World’ is about inspiring women to go for jobs that are usually dominated by men. It shows all the hardships that women go through,” says Jess.

“Even though times have changed, we still live in a very patriarchal society. People often feel like if women are going to work then they are not allowed to be mothers. They are because they’re allowed to do whatever they want,” adds Leah.

“As young women we will eventually be entering the workplace, and it’s very daunting knowing that it is quite a heavily male-dominated area. It’s important for us to investigate how we as young women feel about the world of work as we prepare to go into it,” Emma highlights.

RAW performances will be presented to an invited audience of family, staff and friends from Monday 1 until Thursday 11 July. More information about the Belgrade Youth Theatre groups and how to join can be found in our Take Part section.

For more information about the Fly the Flag campaign and how you can get involved, visit the Fly the Flag website.

Written by Priya Kumari