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Nurturing Brussels talent at the Warehouse


English Youth Theatre was one of our first Angels. Here, co-founder Lynne Vaughan tells us how the Warehouse helped bring a youth theatre in Brussels to life. English Youth Theatre (EYT) started in Brussels with eight students in 1999. The Warehouse brought the group’s founders together and later provided a home where EYT could put down roots and go on to future success. Today, EYT has 250 students across five teaching centres and provides workshops and teaching in the British School of Brussels and several other international schools. “I first met Mike Cockburn at the Warehouse when he auditioned for the role of Frank in 'Educating Rita', a production for the ECC” says EYT co-founder, Lynne Vaughan. “Mike had long experience of the Brussels English theatre scene and knew everyone. I’d directed a pantomime for the ECC and found that the European schools at the time only offered theatre in French. When I said I wanted to start a regular young people’s theatre group, Mike brought the connections, wisdom, and dedication to help make it a reality. “In the beginning, we also ran theatre in education projects along with Tracie Ryan and Richard Maddern, but in time we focused on the youth theatre with regular classes,” says Lynne. EYT moved its classes into the Warehouse in 2001 and stayed for four years. “That was the critical period in getting the group well established and from there we’ve gone from strength to strength.” In the years since then many hundreds of young people have been able to take part in theatre classes in English. Theatre gives you more than just performance skills. Anyone who has ever had to speak at a conference, address a crowded room of their co-workers, face an important job interview or even just learn to adapt to a new environment will attest to that. Theatre helps young people build their confidence, learn to express themselves, make new friends and come out of their shells. The group now has classes in Woluwe-St-Lambert, Ixelles and Uccle, as well as Waterloo and since September, in Antwerp too. EYT regularly participates in FEATS – the Festival of European Anglophone Theatre Societies - alongside other Brussels adult theatre groups, and now even organises its own annual festival of youth theatre. This year’s festival takes place in Antwerp with plays from each of our six Senior groups, with students aged 13 to 18 (more details here). EYT has continued to be a regular user of the Warehouse, using it to put on the annual shows for junior students, pre-FEATS performances and holiday workshops. EYT also provides teaching in the British School of Brussels, delivers theatre workshops in several international schools, and organises LAMDA exams in the performing arts for hundreds more students every year. Lynn sums up why EYT decided to donate: “When we heard about the Play Your Part campaign it was the perfect opportunity to say thank you to all the people who created the Warehouse, help ensure it thrives in the future, and pay tribute to Mike Cockburn as we head towards our 25th year.”

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