Youth Theatre Arts Scotland and the Traverse produced a wonderful festival of youth theatre this past weekend with the second Chrysalis festival. Seven youth theatre companies from across Europe came together to perform their devised pieces and several insightful workshops took place over the weekend. The festival proved that age is but a number when it came to the quality of the talent and work that was on show. Youth theatre certainly proved this weekend to be as vigorous and thought-provoking, if not more so, as any working professional company to be found on stage today.
Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre have travelled from Malta to bring their performance of CLUB to the festival. This is a hard-hitting, physical theatre piece infused with a raw energy. The show follows a group of friends who having lost a close friend in a tragic accident begin to unravel with guilt, anger and sorrow whilst finding a euphoric escape in the club they frequent. The cast are astonishingly good, from the beauty of the powerfully bombastic movement sequences to the heartbreak they present in the dramatic scenes. Equally impressive to think this is not their first language as the scenes play out with a naturalistic honesty. A lot of work has clearly gone into this visceral piece of theatre and there was barely a dry eye in the auditorium as the play came to an end, where the friends slowly begin to accept the tragedy and find comfort amongst each other.
Enthusiastically performed, and a likeable cheeky sense of humour is found in Phenomena: A Beginner’s Guide to Love and Physics. Presented by Sounds Like Chaos and the Albany from London, the play runs like a presentation that finds a parallel between the Big Bang and our place in the universe, and the loves and romance of a group of teenagers. The young cast are clearly having the time of their life, from the impressive movement sequences, light hearted moments like a Cher karaoke and the very poignant attention to detail regarding falling in love amongst the vignettes on show. It’s a fun little performance that contains plenty of deep, philosophical thought amongst the sassy and sprightly performances.
The Chrysalis Festival was a massive success this year with the talent on show from these two plays alone demonstrating the high quality of work that is out there from youngsters. It shows how essential it is that youth arts continue to be supported.