Helping Young People Realise Their Creative Potential: PACE Youth Theatre
In the midst of cuts to arts funding in Scotland, youth theatres like PACE keep ambitions alive for young creatives. Based in Paisley, PACE is the UK’s largest Youth Theatre and has it’s 30th anniversary this year.
PACE have set up a brand new writer’s festival, Write Here Write Now, giving those aged 12-21 the chance to have their work showcased. The festival is part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, which aims to give young people more of a voice, recognise their contributions to society and create new opportunities for them to shine.
‘Write Here Write Now’ offers to nurture new writing talent, by taking submissions of poetry, plays, excerpts and songs from page to stage or to being published. The chance to work with professional writers and artists to develop your work is also on the cards.
The theatre runs exciting programmes including weekly workshops, easterfest, octoberfest and provides free casting representation for members. The Theatre’s Bursary Fund hopes to help those in financial hardship, but would like to take part in the activities and workshops offered. The fund is supported by generous donations from local businesses and supported by Renfrewshire Council. Those entitled to the bursary can receive a fully funded place at PACE for one year, as well as full access to casting and events.
PACE also commonly run community led productions in partnership with organisations such as Police Scotland and NHS Scotland. Young actors, writers, directors and stage crew get the chance to create work which sends important messages whilst nurturing their own ambitions and lives. Pace founder David Wallace says programmes are designed not only to nurture talent, but to enhance the real day to day lives of youngsters:
“We aren’t all about finding the next Annie. If that’s what a member is looking to achieve then that’s great.”
“However, for me and the team, it’s about providing our members with essential life tools such as self-confidence, team work and motivation and allowing those individuals to create their own pathways geared towards a successful and happy future, whatever that career may be.”
Lynn Schoffield, 36, joined Pace at the age of nine, saying the environment provided valuable life lessons as well as the given in acting and singing. Though she is now a practicing as a doctor, she went on to write a fee plays which were performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
“As many of PACE’s plays focus on young persons’ issues, you were often working through problems teenagers in real-life experience. For me, this provided a great way to channel my own stressful teenage moments.”
Amy Conachan 27 studied acting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland after attending Pace Theatre in her younger years. She is now a professional theatre actress and has appeared in The Hypochondriak, Wendy’s Hoose, Skeleton Wumman and Blood Wedding.
“PACE not only gave me the performance skills I needed to enter and possibly succeed in the industry it also inspired me and most definitely gave the confidence to follow my dream.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without being involved in PACE.”
“I know and feel I will always have the support from PACE and that’s something I will cherish forever.”
You can find out more about what PACE do at pacetheatre.com