TEARY-eyed audiences gave standing ovations at the Beck Youth Theatre’s performances of Evita over the weekend.
The mammoth 25th anniversary show featured a 73-strong cast, who director Damian Sandys says are now suffering a bout of ‘after show blues’.
“At the end of the last show we were all very emotional,” he added. “The three lead roles are leaving us this year, so they were devastated.”
Despite a hugely talented cast and large-scale productions, BYT focuses on nurturing confidence, not just showbiz careers.
“We’re about gaining life skills and friends. That is our ethos,” explained Damian, 32, who was a member of BYT between the ages of 15 and 18.
“Some of these young people will probably go on to work in the business, but we don’t see ourselves as a stage school,”
The creative team behind Evita is testament to that philosophy. Assistant director Alistair Lloyd, 30, and choreographer Grant Murphy, also 30, grew up performing alongside Damian at BYT and have remained best friends ever since.
“Everywhere you looked there were ex-members helping us backstage, chaperoning or in the audience,” said Damian. “It gave it a really lovely feel.”
Ex-Bishopshalt School student Natalie Venier, 19, played leading lady Eva Perón, and barely left the stage for the two-hour performance.
Bishop Ramsey student Stephen King, 18, played Che Guevara and Colonel Juan Perón was played by Connor Harper, 18, a trainee teaching assistant.
“The whole company performed amazingly,” said Damian.
BYT is made up of children aged eight to 19 who meet once a week to rehearse.
If you or your child would like to join BYT or take part in its two-week summer project in August, call secretary Julie King on 020 8841 3351 or email email@example.com for information.