Sue and Tracey have been teaching drama for many years. Many of their past pupils have studied acting, play-writing and theatre at top universities and drama schools and have gone on to work professionally in the arts. Equally others have used the confidence gained at youth theatre to support their studies and work in the wider world. Here are just a few of those past pupils and their work to date.
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Hi my name is Lauren and I am about to enter my third year at London South Bank university Studying Drama and Performance. I was a pupil of Sue and Tracy for 12 years, and those 12 years provided me with some of the happiest memories I have. Under their teaching I was given the chance to direct, act and stage manage, all skills that I have taken with me further to university. The workshops are not aimed to just teach you how to be on stage, they are also very much about how to be in the real world. Whether you want to study drama at further education or not, I found the workshops to be a vital part of me growing as a person, they taught me more than just drama. They taught me history, how to be emotionally responsible, how to be confident in public speaking and how to work in a team. All vital life skills, being taught in a safe environment where you could express yourself without judgement and receive support from not just the tutors but the students also. I joined as a shy timid child and Sue and Tracy, over the years slowly teased me out of my shell, and I can honestly say that without that support and encouragement I don’t know where I would be today. It wasn’t just a Youth Theatre it was a family where you could grow as a human as well as a performer.
I am now working as an actor, having completed my BA Acting Training at East 15 Acting School. Before I became Sue and Tracey’s pupil at the age of 15, I had been part of many different youth theatres, including the National Youth Theatre. I can honestly say that the atmosphere of Sue and Tracey’s workshops were unlike any other workshops I had been in before. What made them work, and what made me stay, was the structure and method that drove their teaching. Whether someone leaves with performance skills and a career in acting or more self confidence to stand and speak in front of others, everyone gains. I was proud to attend their Youth Theatre workshops and even prouder to have become a Youth Theatre Mentor and a young director. But I was proudest when I was able to teach alongside Sue and Tracey and in some way contribute to their inspirational method of teaching. Location and facilities do not make a great Youth Theatre. The people do. I am part of this amazing Youth Theatre Family and I will turn to this family for support, where ever my life and acting career lead me.
I was a student of Sue and Tracey’s for 4 years and I can honestly say I would not be where I am now if wasn’t for these two amazing women. I am moving to London this year to study Musical Theatre at D&B College of Performing Arts, as seen on E4’s ‘Stage School’ and this is in no small part down to the skills I have gained through Youth Theatre. I walked in a shy and socially awkward teenager, with little performance skill, but with the help of Sue and Tracey’s workshops, productions and the real family feel around the place, I am now a fully rounded performer with a massive group of friends that I will treasure for life. And that is the real point of Youth Theatre…… it doesn’t matter if you come out as a brilliant lead actor or a happy member of the ensemble, it doesn’t matter if you can pitch a tune or not, because the only aspect that you are absolutely expected to excel at is being a great person, and that’s what Richmondshire Youth Theatre teaches you to be.
Hi my names Max Ferguson and I was a pupil of of Sue and Tracy’s for 9 years. My love of theatre started with these two people. I developed a deep passion for performance and directing and have now gone onto study Acting at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Youth Theatre’s weekly sessions are either workshops or rehearsals. The workshops develop your collaborative and devising skills, while also exploring social and historical topics, which make you more aware of the world you live in. There’s freedom to explore and express yourself in safe and non-judgemental environment. You rehearse and perform a range of shows during your time at youth theatre, from musicals to serious hard hitting plays. There are lots of different aspects of theatre, you can get involved in including acting, lighting, props, costume , stage management and even directing. I experimented with many of these to find out what really got my fire burning. The best part of all this is that you learn in a really practical, fun and relaxed manor with two brilliant tutors to guide you on your road of self-discovery and development.
My name is Sam Robinson. I spent two years as a pupil of Sue and Tracey, at youth theatre, before moving onto University to study a BA Drama degree course. While on breaks from my studies, I returned to help at youth theatre as often as I could, in any way that I could, including assisting back stage on productions. Being a part of Youth theatre meant that I found my passion for theatre and my love of the technical side of the industry. I got involved with the Panto, operating and crewing for the shows and I have spent the last three years Stage Managing and crewing shows at University and I have gained my degree. Sue and Tracey are the pair that I give credit to for my ability and passion for technical theatre. Without their amazing teaching methods I wouldn’t have been able to learn what I have today. Sue and Tracey’s welcoming and positive attitude meant that you never feel out of place in their sessions.
I’ve loved Sue’s drama workshops ever since the age of six. Youth theatre has taught me so much more than just acting. It has allowed me to grow into the confident young person I am today. Tracey and Sue have given me more opportunities than I could possibly mention here, including Stage Managing shows for younger groups and teaching my own workshops. I’ve taken these skills into my leadership roles with local Scout groups and into presentation work at York St John University, where I am studying for a history degree. Being more outgoing and confident helped a great deal with my transition from living at home into living in student halls. I was able to form relationships, with my fellow students, with ease, something I don’t think I could’ve done without Youth Theatre. But mostly, my many years of youth theatre have given me lifelong friendships. I know I can walk back into a room full of people, after a few months away, and instantly feel welcomed by a large (admittedly slightly crazy) second family , and it’s a great feeling.
Sue and Tracey have had a massive impact on my life. They have inspired in me a love of theatre, giving me both the skills and the desire to continue with amateur dramatics both in Richmond and at university. More than this, the brilliant atmosphere of youth theatre, collaborative, creative and welcoming, undoubtedly helped me develop as a person in my twelve years with Sue and Tracey, gaining in confidence and breadth of thinking. I went from minor parts and cameos to more major roles, sometimes getting experience in plays with older casts, and eventually to co-directing plays. Their mentoring system was a massive part of this, helping me to learn from older members and then to develop teaching and leadership skills. All of this has been massively useful in helping me get to the University of Oxford, where I study history, but more importantly in giving me the social skills and confidence I have now.
I can honestly say that without Youth Theatre I don’t know if I’d be where I am today. I attended Sue’s weekly sessions for over five years, and learnt about so much more than just acting. I learned empathy, comedy, compassion and my self-esteem grew so that I was able to transform from a shy 13 year old into a confident young person. Most importantly, I made great friends, and for a few hours a week I was in a unique space where I could laugh and make others laugh. One of Sue’s lessons in particular has stuck with me my whole life ( I won’t say which, in case she still teaches it), but it allowed me to place myself in a period of history in order to learn about it on a human level. I am now a journalist with the New Statesman and am certain youth theatre helped me to develop the confidence and skills to get where I am today.
Hi, I’m Lucy and a past pupil of Sue’s. I loved Sue’s drama workshops and getting to perform in front of an audience. Youth Theatre is a great way to have fun with peers and build confidence. Whilst I’m not in the theatre industry (I work for an academic publisher), I’m interested in graphic and web design and couldn’t resist helping Tracey and Sue put together this website and logo.
My name is Michael Johnson. I am a professional theatre technician, now living and working in Canada. I discovered my love of theatre at Richmond School and through youth theatre. I appeared in productions and this boosted my confidence, allowed me to make new friends and to grow as an individual. I fell in love with technical theatre by accident when Sue asked me if I would like to be a stage manager for a youth theatre show that was being directed by another youth theatre member. I said yes and the rest is history. I have been fortunate to experience this fantastic industry and to work with many artists including Janet Jackson, Nick Jonas and Salt and Pepper, fulfilling a variety of technical rolls. My future goal is to tour with bands and artists on world tours. I would never have discovered this journey if Sue and Tracey hadn’t challenged me to try new things and I thank them both for being there at the start.