Liverpool based Young People’s Theatre Company 20 Stories High are delighted to announce that they have been awarded Strategic Touring funding by Arts Council England 2016-2019.
The funding is for an annual Autumn tour of Headz, a collection of contemporary urban monologues, written by Keith Saha, Directed by 20 Stories High Co-Artistic Directors, Keith Saha and Julia Samuels, and performed by 20 Stories High’s Young Actors Company. The tour will take place in the North and Midlands and is aimed at young people from excluded communities aged 13-25. The company will also deliver a Youth Exchange project around 20 Stories High’s Spring touring show in years two and three and, throughout the three year programme, they will share practice and develop youth theatre networks.
20 Stories High will be working with an exciting group of partner organisations including Knowsley Council, St Helens Council, Culture Warrington Octagon Theatre (Bolton), mac Birmingham, and Raise the Youth (Bolton). We will work together to create a community space touring circuit and develop audiences for young people’s theatre work. We will provide quality performance and participatory opportunities for young people and share our practice across the sector.
20 Stories High has piloted all the elements of this project. For example, Headz has been presented in Liverpool and a variety of community, educational, social care and criminal justice settings across the North West. Young audiences have told us that in these monologues they see themselves, their communities and their stories being represented in new and interesting ways. And for the more traditional theatre goers it gives them a fresh insight into what it is like being a young adult in the UK today.
Keith Saha said:
“I am over the moon that we have secured this funding. It marks a new direction for the company in really reaching the audiences that we want to reach. At 20 Stories High we believe that “everybody’s got a story to tell and their own way of telling it”, Headz encapsulates that ethos. They were written for our Young Actors Company to go out and perform to other young people, about the real struggles and issues that are going on for them and their communities. Our Young Actors have risen to the challenge with some raw, funny and emotional characters. The fact that we will be touring them nationally and that they will connect with new audiences is fantastic. Also touring to young people who might not usually get the chance to go to the theatre within settings like secure young peoples’ homes, hostels, and libraries is very exciting for us as a company.”
Alison Clark, Director, Arts Council England said:
“I am pleased that we are supporting the Headz tour through our National Lottery funded Strategic Touring programme. 20 Stories High is rightly recognised for the quality of its work with children and young people and this project, in partnership with organisations across the North and Midlands, will enable it to reach a larger audience in areas where there is less opportunity to see work that resonates with young people.”
Audience members said:
“Heart melting, powerful and all together insightful. – Headz was brill and I’m glad I got the opportunity to see it.”
“Fantastic performance last night. Amazing, professional delivery of very emotive topics – brilliant.”
Partner organisations said:
“We are delighted to continue our partnership with 20 Stories High and to support their application. The work they create is highly relevant particularly in a city such as Birmingham. The quality of presentation and the way they articulate their ideas is vitally important in the current cultural climate. The work they do helps to raise aspirations of the young artists who we work with, who are faced with challenging circumstances and a tricky creative path to navigate”. (Daniel Whitehouse, Producer, mac Birmingham).
“We are privileged to have the opportunity of working with 20 stories high, our young people and team at raise had been inspired by the dazzling work they do and to work on this exciting project is amazing.” (Jason Steele, Executive Head, Raise the Youth Foundation)