Chesil Theatre juniors, aged 8 to 11, looked at the changing nature of children’s playtime, comparing 1970 to 2016. Through a time portal, youngsters glued to their mobile phones, tablets and computer games met their counterparts with skipping ropes and space hoppers. When the reverse took place and the 1970s children were catapulted into today’s generation, they found themselves puzzled. Why did no one go outdoors to play? What had happened to chatty family mealtimes together? Play was written for the Chesil Youth Theatre by their director, Corinne James, herself a Drama Therapist and the theme gave rise to interesting discussions during rehearsal. Corinne commented: “Given the choice, all the children opted for playing with others rather than relying on electronic gadgetry.”
I’m Spilling My Heart Out Here by Stacey Gregg was the choice for the senior group, performed as part of the National Theatre Connections 500 project. This was the story of a group of secondary school students, involving typical teenage themes – virginity and how to lose it, being “outed” at school, the activities of a creepy man at the local cafe and his attempts to lure girls through free drinks. The writing was not easily accessible and presented a challenge to the nine-strong cast. Gemma Wilson and Helen Kearns came over particularly well with their strong yet sensitive performances. The play will be performed again at St John’s Church in March with the possibility of being chosen for one of the National Theatre’s partner venues later in the year.