Theatre of dreams for future stars

Sian Dudley director of the Kaleidoscope Youth Theatre Company who are rehearsing Punk Rock
Sian Dudley director of the Kaleidoscope Youth Theatre Company who are rehearsing Punk Rock

EVER fancied taking to the stage at Buxton’s own theatre of dreams?

As one of the country’s leading theatres, Buxton Opera House is used to crowd-pleasing performances by some of the biggest names in showbusiness.

BIG STAGE: A scene from the youth theatre production of The Government Inspector. Photo contributed.

BIG STAGE: A scene from the youth theatre production of The Government Inspector. Photo contributed.

But it is also the Opera House’s own home-grown young talent that is raising eyebrows… as well as curtains.

Kaleidoscope is the name of the learning and participation programme by Buxton Opera House and the Pavilion Arts Centre – with the sole aim of involving the community.

A main driver of the programme is Kaleidoscope’s four youth theatre companies for young people aged five to 18. Each meets weekly during term-time at the Pavilion Arts Centre.

In total the companies accommodate over 200 young people from across the High Peak and further afield, and their growing popularity has surprised even Sian Dudley, the Opera House’s Learning and Participation Officer.

Kaleidoscope Youth Theatre Company rehearsing Punk Rock

Kaleidoscope Youth Theatre Company rehearsing Punk Rock

“They really offer a great opportunity for kids to meet people they might not ordinarily get to meet, grow in confidence and find their own feet,” she explained.

“We support kids that would like to pursue acting as a career, but equally the programme is there for those who just want to do it to gain confidence or if it is just something they enjoy doing.”

Each youth theatre company works towards two performances a year, and a total of eight productions have already received the full stage treatment – to much acclaim.

“One of the main things that has become apparent from setting up the youth theatre was the quality of the productions. I think if you watch any of the performances they are genuinely enjoyable to watch,” said Sian, who has worked in theatre and education for the past eight years.

“That is probably what is so unique about our youth theatre companies – the fact that the Opera House is able to put so much into it. All the same resources go into these productions as they do the normal ones.”

Aside from youth theatre, Kaleidoscope caters for all age groups and abilities, from a pre-school education programme to a young singers group and an afternoon art club for adults.

It also runs workshops and projects with local schools, as well as organising full-scale festivals such as OctoberFest and the Buxton Puppet Festival.

To find out how you can get involved in Kaleidoscope, email participation@boh.org.uk or call 01298 72050.