Theatre Centre announces plans for 2024 as it celebrates 70 years

Theatre Centre has announced plans to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

The company has been a pioneering force in youth-focused theatre since 1953, founded by Brian Way who was born 100 years ago.

Over the past 70 years, Theatre Centre has commissioned over 230 plays from 108 writers, having worked with over 250,000 young people and played to audiences of over 1 million in schools and theatres around the UK.

In the last decade, Theatre Centre have worked with a plethora or artists and companies with 63% of writers having been female or non-binary and 55% of writers have been global majority artists. It has ben a launchpad for numerous writers, including trailblazers like Noel Greig, Bryony Lavery, Sabrina Mahfouz, Chinonyerem Odimba, Benjamin Zephaniah, Roy Williams (Theatre Centre Patron), and more recently Ryan Calais Cameron and Charlie Josephine.

Here’s what to expect from Theatre Centre as it marks its 70th anniversary…

Wish You Weren’t Here by Katie Redford (TAPPED, Theatre 503; YELLOW LIPS, BBC Radio 4): The third co-production with Sheffield Theatres, this play will tour schools and theatres nationwide in Spring 2024. Redford is one of Theatre Centre’s three Resident writers developing shows with schools and local communities across London, Sheffield, Derbyshire and Crawley through Future Makers.

SPEAK//EASY – Tough Topics, Great Food: A vital project aimed at fostering empathy and promoting diversity through dialogue, giving teachers creative and practical tools to help create a safe space for young people to discuss complex issues while enjoying a meal together.

Local Voices, Global Perspectives: In collaboration with Creative Crawley and Creative Playground, we will launch a podcast series exploring the lives and views of young people in Crawley, through physical journeys through their hometown, accompanied by unique art pieces inspired by their stories.

Gala Event: Theatre Centre will host a gala event in the summer of 2024 where it will launch its manifesto and road map for the next five years, to take the company to its 75th year. This manifesto will be created through their Future Makers process, collaborating with young people, artists, and teachers from across the country.

Artistic Director of Theatre Centre Rob Watt said: “For 70 years, we have used theatre to shape a more just and equitable world. We are grateful to our supporters and look forward to creating space for young people, artists, and teachers to reimagine the world, engage in complex conversations, and create daring work that challenges the status quo”

Executive Director and CEO of Theatre Centre, Emma Rees added: “Reaching the incredible milestone of 70 years really is remarkable. Rather than focus on the past, it’s making us look eagerly to the future with excitement and anticipation. Theatre Centre has always embraced change fearlessly, but what remains steadfast is our unwavering dedication to socially engaged theatre. Our journey is defined by activism, fuelled by collaboration, and illuminated by partnerships, and it is this map that will guide us.”

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About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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