Spray-away time as performers get set
By Jenny Haworth
YOUNGSTERS aren't usually encouraged to go wild with graffiti but the cast of a new play had a good excuse.
Children at Dynamo Youth Theatre were told to set their imaginations free as their painted the set for their new play West Side Story.
Sixty children are involved in the production, and they will put on the show at the Havant Arts Centre, East Street, from January 3.
Director Andrew Bowker, who is also a teacher at Bosmere Junior School in Havant, set them a tough rehearsal schedule, giving them just Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day off over the festive break.
He said: "We are very excited to do West Side Story this year. It's the 50th anniversary of the play being written. It's a timeless play based loosely on Romeo and Juliet. We are modernising it and making it relevant so it fits in with knife crime and all the modern issues. That's the beauty of this show - it stays relevant."
He was full of praise for the cast, and said many of them have aspirations to get into professional theatre.
"We are very proud of them," he said. "We just turn out cracklingly responsible citizens."
Dynamo Youth Theatre, a charity, is now in its 27th year. It currently takes children aged 11 to 18, after they have had an audition.
Mr Bowker said Dynamo would like to expand to take anyone aged seven to 25 but currently needs some more space.
The young performers practise in Havant Arts Centre, but due to high demand for the facility they can only meet once a week. It is also too cramped for the large number of members of the group.
Mr Bowker added: "This is our big issue now. We have got such a big waiting list for members. The stage at the arts centre is just too small. We need a bigger performance space, and we are really looking for a new headquarters. We are looking for any building that we can transform into two rehearsal rooms."
The News, Portsmouth: 24 December 2007