18 Apr 2016

A day in the life of a… youth theatre director

Tom Bellerby gives us a sneak peek into the life of a Youth Theatre Director at Hull Truck Theatre.

I get to the office at around 11am or 12pm most days as I work until quite late into the evening. It suits me though – I’ve always been a bit of a night owl. I live in Hull’s Old Town and if the weather is decent I am fond of a bit of a wander around the marina and river front area before work to get my brain in gear and think about what needs to happen that day.

I spend the first part of my day in meetings, planning future projects and keeping on top of Youth Theatre admin. We have nearly 150 young people in the Youth Theatre ranging from ages 8 – 10. We’ve been getting a lot of enquiries from new members recently so the admin can get quite busy, particularly at the start of a term. I also programme all the Youth Theatre’s productions (about seven a year) so I spend a fair amount of time reading plays. And of course there’s next year to plan for. 2017 is going to be big for the Youth Theatre and will see us create some really exciting work.

I also work on Grow, Hull Truck Theatre’s artist development programme. During the day I often have meetings with our Supported Artists to explore how Hull Truck Theatre can support their development needs as individuals and companies. I’ve only been here a year and one of the things that has really struck me about Hull is how much exciting work is coming from the theatre companies of this city.

Tom Bellerby

The busiest part of my day is at 5pm when our Youth Theatre members arrive. What we’re doing will depend on the time of year. All our groups perform once a year in our Studio, supported by the Hull Truck Theatre production team – rehearsals take up about half of the Youth Theatre year (it’s hard rehearsing shows in hour and a half chunks!) The other half of the year will be spent in skills sessions – looking at different areas of theatre. These skills sessions are really diverse and often lead by what the group wants to focus on. I’m currently looking at performing Shakespeare with our 16+ groups and have explored other areas such as physical theatre, improvisation and text work with other groups this year.

My top priority at the moment is our production of Edward Bond’s The Children that I’m directing with our 14 – 16 group, which opens next week. It’s a double bill with another of our Youth Theatre group’s production of The Mobile Phone Show by Jim Cartwright, directed by Lizi Perry. The Children is a dark thriller about a group of young people who decide to run away from home after a terrible incident and then discover everyone else has disappeared over night. The cast are doing brilliantly and we are all really looking forward to getting it in front of an audience next week!

I tend to finish at around 8.45pm or 9.00pm in the evening. I head home (or into one of Old Town’s many great pubs for a post work beer), indulge in a bit of Netflix (currently working my way through Breaking Bad – I know I’m one of the only people not to have watched it yet) and then get to bed ready for it to all start again. 

The Children and The Mobile Phone Show, a double bill by Hull Truck Youth Theatre, is showing at Hull Truck Theatre between Thursday 21 and Saturday 23 April, 7pm

For tickets call the Box Office 01482323638

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