Wolverhampton’s Central Youth Theatre is celebrating their refurbishment of the former Antique Market Hall by staging an open air performance in Market Square on Thursday 4th July at 7pm and Sunday 7th July at 2pm.
The show entitled Market Boy by playwright David Eldridge is set on Romford Market, in 1985, when selling stilettos “ain’t as easy as you might think”. The men and women of the market must roll up their sleeves and learn the gift of the gab, pull the cash and learn how to sweeten the ladies. It is story which hurls its audience back to the time when Mrs Thatcher said we should embrace the marketplace.
Over 30 members of the youth theatre have worked with Director Annie Fletcher-Hall to learn all about the gritty realism of the market. Annie says: “This is not a show for the faint hearted – it’s full of very earthy language – and for the youth theatre members it has been a real learning curve in terms of learning how to be big and bold in their performance work as not only are they playing larger than life characters, but they also have to project their lines across the open air expanse of Market square whilst weaving between the market stalls and acting out the busy hubbub of a market”.
It has also been a challenge for Designer Helen Ainsworth, who on a limited budget, has to animate the stalls the cast move around. With support from Grants for the Arts Lottery funding, Helen has been able to bring young people on board as young apprentices to show them how to dress a theatre set on limited budget, whilst costumier Claire Pearson is demonstrating how to also dress the cast in the fashions of the 1980’s.
This is the first arts project that the Youth Theatre has delivered in their new base at the newly renamed “Arts Market” which the group took over last year. During the last twelve months the youth theatre has been turning the former Antique Market Hall into a creative space in which young people can work with the extensive collection of costumes and props. Youth Theatre Director Jane Ward says: “We have worked very hard for the last twelve months to turn what was a disused space into an exciting hub for young people. The resources we have built up over the last 30yrs are fantastic tools with which to give young people the chance to learn about costume and set design, besides allowing us to authentically dress all our productions. From September onwards we will be offering more opportunties for young people to work with costumes and sets.”
She goes on to say: “We are also excited about helping to rejuvenate an area of the city which has become very run down and neglected in the last five years. Bringing young people back to the market area is essential if the markets are to have a future in Wolverhampton”
Tickets for Market Boy on the 4th & 7th July can be purchased before the start of each show in Market Square