In September 2006, at the suggestion of my young colleague Oliver Lock, I founded the Gloucestershire Youth Players for young actors over the age of 16.
The group was designed to complement the Gloucestershire Young Shakespeare Theatre, or GYST ( the only UK based company for 12-16 year olds performing solely Shakespeare, uncut and unprompted) which I began in 2005.
We are an entirely voluntary-aided company dependent upon ticket sales and donations for our survival.
GYP’s aims are to bring invigorating versions of Shakespeare’s texts to audiences in and around Gloucestershire.
The focus is to give young people a springboard into the brilliance of one of the greatest playwrights in the English language by producing these seminal texts with an ensemble based company of serious young performers.
We attempt to make what we do accessible and imaginative in its interpretation whilst keeping as faithful as possible to the text.
As one critic remarked in 2008: "GYP offers genuine opportunities to young actors to expand their knowledge of, and confidence in drama."
Several schools came to see our free performances of ‘Twelfth Night’ at Cheltenham College Junior School in January 2008, including youngsters on enrichment programmes who were initially sceptical about Shakespeare and his relevance to today.
Charitable collections (donated toward helping theatre education programmes for children unlikely ever to visit the theatre or experience the magic of the worlds Shakespeare evokes) have exceeded £1000 since our inception, bolstering our aim to bring the theatre closer to young people.
The verve and vigour with which the group presents their interpretations of the canon has received some local critical acclaim and GYP is excited to be able to expand its horizons and welcome a growing audience to its performances.
Do please come and join us this summer for our production of "Twelfth Night".
Edward Derbyshire (Founder and Director)