Limerick Youth Theatre has been taking in young adults from the age of 16 to 23 for 20 years now and this year has been a constant celebration for them. Picture by Cian Reinhardt/ilovelimerick.
Limerick Youth Theatre marks its 20 year anniversary
By I Love Limerick correspondent Maxine Bramley
Limerick Youth Theatre based in 73 O’Connell Street, Limerick, are celebrating their 20th year of hosting workshops, spectacular performances and productions, and collaborations with professional artists, this year.
The Limerick Youth Theatre set up in 1997 in Limerick city with a vision of providing a two-year training course for young adults from all backgrounds to cross social-cultural divides through youth drama experiences.
Today Limerick Youth Theatre holds weekly workshops, creates performance opportunities and engages with professional artists. LYT presents 5 full-length productions/films/radio plays annually and collaborates with local organisations and venues throughout the year.
Angie Smalis is the Artistic Director of Limerick Youth Theatre. Her artistic background is in contemporary dance, choreography and dance pedagogy.
Angie said on the 20th Anniversary of Limerick Youth Theatre: “I am the 4th person in charge of artistic decisions in the 20 years of Limerick Youth Theatre’s existence. This by itself is an achievement. Working with, and not for, LYT is a fulfilling experience. We have managed to bring together a team of like-minded people with a very similar vision as to what Youthwork means. Young adults join Limerick Youth Theatre at a very important stage of their lives. They still shape themselves as members of society and as individuals. It is the time they make decisions about their near future and relationships they create can last forever.”
LYT has been in existence for 20 years and over 600 young adults have been welcomed, taught, mentored, listened to, given opportunities and encouraged to do their best in a very inclusive and safe environment that allows individualism and diversity.
Angie credits the longevity of Limerick Youth Theatre to: “Being flexible, having a team of like-minded people and sustaining a good relationship with every creative individual and organisation in the city.
There is a sense of community in LYT that contributes to its longevity. Past members are generous with their time and ideas and in return LYT, when possible, tries to support them with whatever is needed. A letter of support, a reference document, images for portfolios, studio space. It is a give and take and it seems to be benefiting all involved. LYT, in recent years, has become one of the main employers of professional theatre practitioners in Limerick, most of who are past LYT members,” Angie said.
To celebrate 20 years of existence, Limerick Youth Theatre ran a nostalgia-filled show at the Belltable in August, called Call Back which presented LYT’s 20-year history. Past and present LYT members came together to bring this atmospheric and emotional show.
Apart from running the Limerick Youth Theatre show, Angie says that the mark of 20 years has been a constant celebration at Limerick Youth Theatre, as they have been involved in the Elemental Festival, at Culture Night, recently presented an excerpt from Call Back at National Youth Council of Ireland’s (NYCI) Youth Work Showcase at the Mansion House, Dublin and welcomed 17 new LYT members last week.
Limerick Youth Theatre has many projects underway and a lot can be expected from them in the next few months. Their second-year members started working on a new short film as part of the Autonomy Project, delivered through groups such as Dance Limerick, Music Generation and GOSHH culminating with week-long performance/installation and a symposium at UL next year. They are also organising a cinema event where all their short films will be screened. Past and current members will all be invited and the event will be Free.
“It will be a great opportunity for the young adults to see themselves on the big screen and for the new members to get a taster of what artistic opportunities we offer. Plans are underway for our TY Project, taking place in February 2018, and we are currently approaching secondary schools with the hope that they will make their students aware of such work experience programme existing in the city. And of course, initial planning has started for the Creative Show, 2018. A collaboration, primarily between LYT and the Daughters of Charity Service, Limerick with many other youth organisations participating,” Angie Smalis said.
For prospective student and youths interested in honing their theatrical skills, every September Limerick Youth Theatre looks for committed and enthusiastic young adults between 16 and 23 to join Limerick Youth Teatre. No previous experience is required for anyone interested in joining.
To find out more about the Limerick Youth Theatre click here
To read more of our stories on Limerick Youth Theatre click here
To find out more about Angie Smalis click here