A Look Back At Former Youth Theatre Member’s First Year as Junior Group Leader

Published: 13th September 2017

Jayden Blacklock took over the Junior Youth Theatre in September 2016, having spent the previous five years as a member of the Senior Youth Theatre and a year leading Drama Bairns (a group for under sixes). We’ve asked Jayden to take a look back at her first year leading the Junior Youth Theatre.

How has your first year been as the leader for the Junior Youth Theatre?
It’s been a real learning curve, developing my skills as a director and leader, but seeing the group’s first performance showed me how far we had all come together. Having something we had worked on for months performed in front of an audience gave me an amazing sense of achievement, not only for myself but for the group too. And I’ll never forget the feeling we all shared after the performance.

What skills did you gain when you were a member of The Customs House Youth Theatre, yourself?
I remember instantly feeling like part of the family. I had always been in musicals before joining, so I came to develop my skills as an actor. And over the five years I was a member I did this in lots of different ways. I had never heard of physical theatre before I joined the group but I developed skills and a real love for it. One of my first sessions was a physical theatre workshop with a member of theatre company Frantic Assembly, and from then I wanted to train with them again – which I did this summer thanks to The Customs House.

How would you describe your practice and delivery style as a director?
I like to experiment until we’re all happy. I like to hear the group’s input, as I think encouraging them to have their own ideas helps their development. I want the group members to learn lots of different things, which is why I like exploring different skills and styles. But the main thing is that I want them to enjoy themselves.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self joining the youth theatre?
Take every opportunity to develop and learn from everything you’re taught… but that’s what I did! I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience!

The Customs House Youth Theatre meets on Fridays at 4:30pm. Young people interested in taking part can join the waiting list by emailing Fiona.