Justine Themen, Associate Director

Justine Themen tells us about Spring Awakening

Posted on 17 October 2011

Director’s Note

We formed the Young Company last year to try and provide opportunities for our more experienced participants to continue to develop their skills set. The shows we do with them follow more closely the way in which a professional show is produced, giving them an experience that takes them closer towards the Performing Arts as a career choice.

This year, we have chosen Spring Awakening, the first scripted piece that we have presented with young people in the years since the re-opening of the theatre. We chose this play because it is rare in being a classic drama that also clearly gives a voice to young people and young performers – a drive that is at the heart of all of our Youth Theatre work. And at the same time that the play provides the Young Company with the challenge of exploring a classic piece of drama, it resonates with an issue that is at the heart of contemporary Coventry, namely sexual health.

Coventry has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the country, and the highest in the West Midlands, much of which has been blamed on a reserved attitude towards talking about sex and related issues. Similarly Spring Awakening holds a reserved society responsible for the catastrophes depicted in the play. This has prompted much debate amongst the cast about what is ‘acceptable’ when it comes to talking about sex.

I hope you come along to support our talented young performers – we hope that you enjoy the show, and that it stimulates you to join the debate on this key issue for our city.

Justine Themen
Associate Director, Belgrade Theatre

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