Young Blood: Five Plays for Young Performers
Edited and Introduced by Sally Goldsworthy
Young Blood is a collection of plays for young people with the following aims:
- to publish some of the most interesting, challenging, contemporary writing for young performers in one volume.
- to extend the life of the plays beyond their first production.
- to make them available to young people throughout the UK
To develop performing skills young people need to work on the best scripts available; to have the opportunity to explore the ideas, form and language of exceptional writers. Young people in schools, youth theatres and colleges need to work on plays that excite, stretch and inspire them. The response from young people to the final selection has been remarkable. Several have been chosen by students to be performed as part of their GCSE practical exams.
The plays in Young Blood are set in many different places; Jamaica, ancient Greece, London’s East End, the club scene and a world at the end of a hole in a jumper. These are plays about love, racism, absent fathers, leaving home, betrayal, drugs. Above all, in one way or another, each of them involves journeys and choices. Choices about who to love, where to live and what to be. You can use the plays or extracts of them to explore a particular issue or to look at that issue from a different angle. Each of the plays uses a different theatrical style, from the naturalism of Geraniums to the surreal world of The Girl who fell through a hole in her Jumper and the fast filmic style of Out of their Heads.
This collection doesn’t include production or teachers’ notes. There are no fixed rules about how to use the plays. Produce the whole play to a paying audience or work on scenes. Play about with the casting. Double parts or have six people playing the same character. The most important thing is to have fun with the language, characters and staging so that young people enjoy working on the plays. All of the plays in this collection have a unique theatrical vision. Combine that with the energy, commitment and imagination of a group of young people and the results will definitely be worth watching!
Includes the plays The Girl who fell through a hole in her jumper by Naomi Wallace and Bruce Mcleod, The Search for Odysseus by Charles Way, Darker The Berry by J.B.Rose, Geraniums by Sheila Yeger, and Out of their Heads by Marcus Romer.
“…a volume has emerged bringing relief to actors, youth and drama workers and teachers everywhere, in the shape of five tried and tested contemporary classics…” 95% Magazine
The Girl who fell through a hole in her Jumper by Naomi Wallace and Bruce McLeod: A girl falls into a fantastical world – how will she get home?
The Search for Odysseus by Charles Way: An angry and awkward adolescent searches for his lost father all the way to the edge of the world.
Darker the Berry by J. B. Rose: A comic Caribbean Cinderella – two sisters struggle to break free from the poverty of island life.
Geraniums by Sheila Yeger: The battle of Cable St. retold and set against the political choices of young people in the 90s.
Out of their Heads by Marcus Romer: The friendship and betrayal of three young people who take a trip beyond anything they ever expected.
About the editor
Sally Goldsworthy from 1990 -1996 was director of the London Bubble Youth Theatre in Peckham South London where they made plays in tents, halls, streets and occasionally theatres. She has directed plays for many companies including most recently Cardboard Citizens Theatre Company, London Bubble
Theatre Company, The Women’s Theatre Workshop and Kew Gardens. From 1992 – 1995 she was member of the Executive Committee for the National Association of Youth Theatres and represented Youth Theatres on the Advisory Council of the National Campaign for the Arts. From 1996 – 2003 she was Head of Education at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith. She is currently the Director of Discover in East London.
She lives with her partner John and has three sons, Gabriel, Frankie and Arthur.
About the authors
Naomi Wallace was born in Kentucky, and presently lives in North Yorkshire, England. Her plays include Things of Dry Hours, One Flea Spare, The Trestle of Pope Lick Creek, In the Heart of America, Slaughter City, The War Boys, The Inland Sea and Birdy (an adaptation for the stage of William Wharton’s novel). Wallace’s work has been produced internationally and has been awarded the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, the Kesserling Prize, the Mobil Prize, an NEA grant, a Kentucky Arts Council Grant, a Kentucky Foundation for Women grant, and an Obie Award for best play. Wallace is also a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, the grant popularly known as the genius award. Her award-winning film, Lawn Dogs, was produced by Duncan Kenworthy. A film of The War Boys (adapted from her play of the same name, with Bruce Mcleod) is currently in production. Other plays published by Aurora Metro: In the Fields of Aceldama (in the anthology Best of the Fest).
Charles Way has written over 40 plays, many of them for children and young people. He was commissioned by the National Theatre to write Alice In The News, which children all over Britain have performed. He has also written many plays for radio, and a TV poem for BBC 2, No Borders, set in the Welsh borders, where he lives and has spent most of his creative life.
J.B. Rose started her career in 1983 as a vocalist and actress. Her strong interests in working with young people, moved on to teaching drama and singing, as well as directing and producing plays for various youth groups, theatres and schools. In 1994, she was commissioned to write Darker the Berry for Second Wave. Her writing soon progressed to television, with the pilot sitcom Striking Out for Chrysalis TV (95) and episodes of Brothers and Sisters (UK’s first black soap drama) for the BBC. In the summer of 1997, J.B. once again took on the role of director, where It’s all about Us was performed at the Brixton Shaw. Throughout her career, she never strayed too far from her first love – singing. Having completed a vocal teaching course at London Music College, she continues coaching singers and released her debut album in 1998.
Sheila Yeger has written extensively for the theatre, radio and television. She is a published poet and the author of The Sound of One Hand Clapping (Amber Lane Press.) Theatre includes Self Portrait (Amber Lane Press), Variations (Methuen) and two community plays: The Ballad of Tilly Hake and A Day by the Sea.
Radio includes Heart of England and Yellow Ochre. She is the mother of Ben and Sam and the grandmother of Naomi Starr and lives near Bristol with her partner Roger Stennett. There she teaches meditation, embroiders, practises T’ai chi … and grows geraniums.
Marcus Romer born in Blackburn, following his degree from Leeds University he has worked as an actor, director and writer for a variety of companies.
He is currently the artistic director of Pilot Theatre in the U.K., and his plays Taken Without Consent and Out of Their Heads have been translated and performed in Europe and the United States. His award-winning production of Lord of the Flies toured extensively (1998-2002) was nominated for a TMA award and won the Manchester Evening News award for best touring production. His productions of Road and Rumble Fish toured extensively to great critical acclaim. Also recently a new adaptation of Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess and a new Internet theatre project.
Romer lives and works in York, England, with Susie Hargreaves and their two children, Christy and Millie.