Theatre group looked at hard times East and West

Burnt by the Sun at the Arena Theatre

Burnt by the Sun at the Arena Theatre

Great Expectations at the Arena Theatre

Great Expectations at the Arena Theatre

Wolverhampton’s Central Youth Theatre excelled with the first of two highly challenging productions.
On Tuesday, July 17th July and Monday 16th July they gave a revealing take on the way in which repression in Stalin’s Russia overwhelmed families and friends.
share. At the Arena Theatre in the University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Burnt by The Sun, Peter Flannery’s examination of the full horror of Stalin’s rule in the Soviet Union.

Set in 1936, the revolutionary hero Colonel Kotov spends what seems to be an idyllic summer in his dacha with his young wife and family. Things change dramatically as a face from the past re-enters their lives. Amidst a tangle of sexual jealousy and retribution, the full horrifying reach of Stalin’s rule is about to invade their lives.

Burnt by the Sun Director Jane Ward says: “Burnt by the Sun is a play about social change, political corruption and the re-structuring of society with the consequent impact this has on people’s lives.

“Whilst we have been working on this production, we have seen contemporary history being made with the breakdown of economic living standards in many countries in Europe and the political corruption that has brought countries low, destroying the lives of so many people.

“It has been very interesting for our cast to realise that a production such as this has contemporary parallels”.

In contrast, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens Central Youth Theatre (CYT) staged an exciting adaptation of Great Expectations by Nick Ormerod and Declan Donnellan. The classic story followed the twists and turns facing orphan Pip who becomes a gentleman when his life is transformed by a mystery benefactor.

Performances for Great Expectations were at the same venue on Thursday 19th and Friday 20th July. Both productions were sumptuous costume dramas costumed from CYT’s amazing theatrical wardrobe – assembled over the last 29 years.

Holly Phillips, directing Great Expectations, says: “We had over 50 young actors in both productions and over a hundred period costumes being used to set the two plays in the different decades”.


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