Youth Theatre lands £400,000 jackpot!

Children from the Burnley Youth Centre celebrate their �400,00 grant for new facilities.
Children from the Burnley Youth Centre celebrate their �400,00 grant for new facilities.

BUDDING young thespians from a Burnley charity are celebrating after it was awarded more than £400,000 for brand new state-of-the art facilities.

Burnley Youth Theatre, in Queens Park Road, has been given the cash by Arts Council England to double its capacity, which will make it one of the biggest dedicated youth arts spaces in the country.

Work, which is due to start in April, will involve demolishing an existing 40-year-old blue building at the site and replacing it with a new-build.

The new facility will have three rooms, including two activity rooms, as well as toilet and a kitchen area and run alongside the existing theatre, which was built in 2005.

Youth theatre bosses hope the project will be completed by September.

The charity’s artistic director Mandy Precious said the organisation was delighted with the funding and said the cash would enable more young people, aged between five and 25, from Burnley and across Lancashire to benefit:

She said: “At the moment we’ve got a purpose-built theatre, workshop space and in addition to that we have converted our open-plan office into a third space.

“The new facility will mean we can incorporate more professional theatre into our main space without compromising what the young people get and the youngsters who come to our workshops won’t have to use an office.

“When the new building opens we are also hoping to run video editing and music editing workshops. We are expanding all the time and trying to respond to what young people tell us they want.

“The new facility will also help our outreach work with groups in the community.”

Jane Beardsworth, North-West regional director for Arts Council England added: “The Arts Council’s mission is achieving great art for everyone. This award will provide two new activity and rehearsal rooms as well as associated service facilities and will potentially double the capacity of Burnley Youth Theatre. This means that more young people from Burnley and the surrounding area will be able to benefit from this excellent facility.”

Burnley Youth Theatre was set up in 1973 and since then has produced thousands of shows, tours and performances, including new and existing work.

It gives young people the chance to join a workshop, audition for a show, volunteer for front of house or technical duties, and work towards a qualification.

The charity is run on a donation basis, so the same opportunities are afforded to people from all backgrounds.

The group is always looking for new members and any young people interested in taking part in drama, music, technical, writing or dancing sessions is urged to call Burnley Youth Theatre on 01282 427767.