Belgrade Acting Out Company to Stage BASSETT, May 1-3

Belgrade Acting Out Company to Stage BASSETT, May 1-3

The Belgrade Theatre Acting Out Company are proud to present a new production of James Graham's Bassett from Thurs 1 - Sat 3 May in the Belgrade's B2 Auditorium.

The production, which features members of the Belgrade's Year 11 Acting Out performance group builds upon the success of the Belgrade Youth Theatre production of Pronoun earlier this year which was commissioned as part of National Theatre Connections Festival and the Belgrade Young Company production of The Tempest produced in association with Frantic Assembly.

James Graham's Bassett is a pacey, funny and urgent play that shows the struggles of young people who have inherited a world at war. The play was originally written for the 2011 round of National Theatre Connections Festival, a nationwide festival of theatre for young people celebrating the energy, talent and commitment of young theatre-makers across the UK.

Acting Out is the Belgrade's ground-breaking Work-Related Learning programme for young people who are not achieving their full potential within the mainstream education system. Co-ordinated by the Belgrade's thriving Community and Education Department, Acting Out takes referrals from schools across Coventry and the young people involved attend weekly sessions for up to two years. The programme contributes to raising confidence levels, communication skills and performance skills. It also develops personal skills, builds self-esteem and improves performance back at school.

Crucially, the programme provides students with an opportunity to study for a BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate in Performing Arts, a qualification which is equivalent to at least two GCSEs.

The project has been rolled out very successfully in both Cardiff and Birmingham, and has twice been cited as a model of best practice in the Government White Paper on 14-19 Education and Skills, keeping the Belgrade Theatre firmly at the forefront of pioneering community arts work.

Locked in by a teacher who has had enough, the students of the Citizenship class at Wootton Bassett School are frustrated. Tensions run high as another repatriation of fallen British soldiers is happening along the high street and this one's more personal than most.

As their confinement grows more claustrophobic, the pupils begin to see things differently, asking questions about conflicts, their country, and themselves.

Director and Year Eleven Acting Out Tutor Jouvan Fuccini commented: 'What first attracted me to Bassett was that it spoke with the language of young people. The play confronts contemporary issues of racial tension, cultural identity and what it means to be British. In many ways, as well as it being about a group of children locked in a classroom, Bassett is about the world that those children have inherited, a world at war. From the conversations that have taken place in the rehearsal room, it's clear that the performers have really identified with the issues raised in Jame's script, drawing parallels within their own lives and between the landscapes of Wootton Bassett and Coventry'.

Claire Simpson, General Manager of the Belgrade Theatre Community and Education Company added, 'The types of students involved in Acting Out come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some have specific learning needs, others behavioural. For some of the students that are referred to us, this is their only opportunity to gain a recognised qualification. Many of our past Acting Out students have gone on to develop careers in the creative industries. As well as developing confidence and pride in their work, participants learn to channel their energies in a more positive direction, often changing their lives for the better in the process'.

There is no standard price for tickets to this production. Audiences are invited to donate what they want. All monies donated as part of the performance will be used to support the work of future Community in Education projects at the Belgrade Theatre.

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