Award winning screen and stage school to host gala performance in Stratford

Suzann McLean

Suzann McLean - Credit: Archant

An award-winning stage and screen school will be celebrating its 10th birthday on Saturday with a gala performance in Stratford.

Young and Talented will also mark the launch of its new music video, The Rights of The Child, at an event hosted by Big Reunion main man Andrez Harriott, from pop band Damage, and Y&T’s own Reece Buttery, star of The Dumping Ground, Call the Midwife and Gangsta Granny. The gala show kicks off at Stratford Circus, Theatre Square, at 7pm on Saturday (July 19).

The show will feature excerpts from the school’s productions from throughout its 10-year history and will include a guest appearance by X-factor finalist Leanne Robinson, a former student at Y&T.

It is produced by Y&T artistic director Suzann McLean, current starring in BBC’s An Honourable Woman, and is supported by Tower Hamlets Mayor’s Community Event Initiate.

Suzann, who plays Nurse Dalloway in An Honourable Woman on BBC2, decided to launch Y&T in Tower Hamlets a decade ago as the expression of a desire to create an “out-of-school club with high quality tutors, eager to share their expertise in a space where young people could be nurtured, not taught, where they could be the creators of their own work, and their ideas could be given the stage they deserve”.


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The end result is an award-winning and creative Y&T family that has seen many past students go on to be arts leaders themselves, not waiting to be told what to do but instead creating work themselves.

In the past 12 months, Y&T has gone from strength to strength. In August 2013, it was accredited with Investors in People, at the same time as it launched its new acting and choir classes for young people aged 5-19 at The Broadway Theatre in Barking. In November 2013, it was awarded the Ebony Award in the Business and Entertainment category.

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And from its twin homes in Tower Hamlets and Barking, Y&T’s dramatic talent also continues to grow, with some of its current crop of youngsters appearing in productions such as Dr Who and Casualty alongside established children’s TV dramas The Dumping Ground and Rockets Island.

Thanks to a recent grant from the Ford Britain Trust, Y&T has been able to expand its already considerable musical capabilities by the purchase of state of the art sound and recording equipment and are delighted that they will be able to end Saturday’s gala show with the new Y&T anthem created by the students themselves.

As Suzann said: “This year Y&T has reached more people than ever before, raised its profile to new levels, become an important community resource and taken part in a host of partnership and event opportunities. Each year, the staff and volunteers at Y&T work tirelessly to fundraise for the core funds needed to keep the organisation running. We are committed to remaining accessible and offering our sessions at very low costs to those who need them.”

Through this funding, Y&T can offer several new projects free for its members at its base at Oxford House, Tower Hamlets. These include audition and interview techniques; technical theatre and event management; Y&T music video; acting and marketing career guidance and community event funding.

Tickets for Saturday’s gala show are available, priced £10, from the Stratford Circus box office on 020 8279 1001.

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