West Midlands theatre group fly the flag for Britain with the help of Hollywood star

Members of a West Midlands theatre group were returning home today after flying the flag for Britain at an international festival – to learn that a Hollywood star will help them keep up the good work.

Twelve members of Wolverhampton’s Central Youth Theatre (CYT) were at the ninth annual Ostrov Soukani international theatre festival in the Czech Republic for young people aged between 13 and 20 from Wednesday 1st May to Monday 6th May.

They were returning after staging their devised production “You Decide” to learn that Hollywood and Old Vic star Kevin Spacey will be helping them to the tune of £2,500 when they go to Monaco in August as the UK’s representatives at the World Amateur Theatre Festival.

The help will come from the Kevin Spacey Foundation after CYT member Katherine Lea applied for a grant to add to CYT’s £6,000 target needed to send CYT members abroad this year to represent the area and the UK.

At the Czech festival, CYT members were challenged to think about making moral and ethical decisions as they joined other young people from Armenia, Russia, Austria, Israel and the Czech Republic.

Performance Director Holly Phillips said:  “This was the fifth time the CYT has travelled to Soukani, which is a bi-annual festival.  CYT started going to the festival in 2001 and has seen different generations of youth theatre members take part over the years”.

The young people selected contributed to the big ongoing fundraising campaign, which has also included a quiz night and dog show, to also ensure fourteen CYT members can stage a one hour version of Burnt by The Sun adapted from the film by Nikita Mikhalkov which is an examination of the full horror of Stalin’s rule in the Soviet Union.

The group will be performing in the historic Salle Garnier Monaco Opera House on 22nd and 24th August.  CYT members will be joined by 23 theatre companies from the Far East, Africa, India, Scandinavia, Europe and the USA.

CYT Director Jane Ward said: “This year is our 30th anniversary and we have been flying the flag for the UK, our region and Wolverhampton before international audiences abroad and at home for all those years.

“Despite difficult economic times the young people are continuing to work hard, not only at producing first class drama, but also raising the funds to keep showing the rest of the world that we have a lot of talent and skill in the UK, our region and Wolverhampton.”

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