The Platform Shift+ Youth Exchange

The Platform Shift+ Youth Exchange

Five Days, Four Countries, Three Locations, Two Directors, One Play

In October, Hull Truck Youth Theatre were given a very exciting opportunity to travel to York and create a new, contemporary piece of theatre alongside youth groups from France, Portugal and Italy courtesy of Pilot Theatre and the wider Platform Shift+ project. Creative Europe funded this artistic adventure.

The play that the young people were creating called ‘108,000 Seconds and Counting,’ was a piece exploring the amount of time young people spend online in Europe each week which totals 30 hours. Directed by Tom Bellerby (Associate Director, Artist Development and Youth Theatre) and Jon Beney (Associate Artist) of Hull Truck Theatre, it set out to explore elements of what the internet means to the youth of today as a catalyst for change, a place for arguments with strangers and as a forum to meet new people from all corners of the globe, forming friendships and relationships.

Platform Shift+ Hull Truck Theatre

On the first night in York, we were lucky enough to be able to see a production called ‘Of the End’ by Portuguese theatre company Teatro O Bando. It certainly set the tone for the remainder of the week, with all the groups participating fully, being brave and creative with their ideas for the play being created.

After another full day of rehearsal in York, it was on to Wensleydale! Staying in idyllic cabins in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales was a real treat, surrounded by nature and ironically, no signal! Days of rehearsal took place here in between social gatherings and walks in the countryside, including a trip to the beautiful Bolton Castle nestled in the hills. The groups from each country united, teaching each other different languages, singing national songs, taking photographs, and making precious memories to treasure. Finally, it was on to York for one last time to perform in front of a live audience and record footage of the play to be streamed online worldwide.    

Platform Shift+ Hull Truck Theatre

Afterwards, an after show party took place, where each country brought local foods and produce from their region. Breads, meats, cheeses, pâtés, fruit, chocolates, and other sweet treats all featured, with the UK group introducing the other countries to Irn Bru, Mr Kipling,Cadbury Chocolate Fingers and Werther’s Originals, (which received mixed reviews!)

The experience had by all the youth theatre members was an incredible one, creating a piece of theatre with just four days of rehearsal is an impressive feat and they should be proud of what they have accomplished in this short period.

Hull Truck Youth Theatre is open to all young people aged 8-21. For more information or to express your interest in joining our Youth Theatre please click here

The youth exchange was an amazing experience that not only created friendships with people from completely different countries/walks of life, but also brought me closer to other members of Hull Truck. I’d recommend doing something like this to anyone who’s wanting to learn more about the world, for example that ‘colander’ in Italian is ‘scolapasta’ and that in France they form a ‘caterpillar’ instead of going into ‘single file!

Isabel Foster, Hull Youth Theatre Member

This has been the single greatest week of my life. Not only because of the show we created, which was amazing, it was about the union we created with the other nationalities and how we found common ground regardless of race and religion. In the end that didn't matter; we were there for one reason, to create an amazing piece of theatre.

Joseph Beckett, Hull Youth Theatre Member

This week has been one of the greatest encounters of my life and and was filled with memories that will never be forgotten. I personally feel the richest person in every room I enter because I was a part of it. I want to thank again everyone involved in making this once in a life time opportunity possible and for further developing my acting skills because due to this experience it has made it a definite for me that I want to pursue acting as a career as there is nothing I enjoy doing more!

Brandon Anderson – Hull Truck Youth Theatre Member