Those that make YAT happen
Sally Cadle
Sally Cadle



On Monday 6th September 1971 at the age of 17 I stood in the playground of the old Collis School alongside other similar teenagers, male and female, one or two I know but most I didn't. I can't say I was shy and lacking in confidence but many of the others were, coming from various schools in the area, we were a motley bunch. Over the coming weeks we got to know and trust each other, learned discipline, commitment and teamwork, grew in confidence, explored possibilities, solved problems and under the direction of a very special man produced a play which was not written down by anyone but sprang from the group. This could have been a risky course of action but no ideas were ridiculed, each was tried and the best included in the pubic performance which resulted less than four months later. New members joined and the group expanded, no one was turned away, the only requirement was an interest in theatre.

Although I had taken part in a couple of plays in school and my local community, even attended courses to put on shows, this was different. The mix of young people came from diverse backgrounds, some attending private schools and others going to the local secondary, the fact that there was no charge removed any barriers to joining. The shared interest and working together on the next project made everyone equal, each had his or her part to play and that wasn't necessarily on stage, each role was as important as the next. No one was belittled or bullied, our differences were respected and friendships were made for life.

What did it do for me? As well as life long friends, I worked on six plays, it gave me (and others) the skill and confidence to study dance and drama at college, allowed me to share the things I learnt with other young children, equipped me with strategies that I use in my working life, instilled in me a love of the performing arts that I still have today and gave me a purpose at an age when many of my contemporaries were sitting on street corners complaining that there was nothing to do.

And 43 years later, YAT is still doing all these things for 16 to 25 year olds who are not so different today. Hundreds of young people (including two generations of the same families) have experienced the joy of YAT during that time, some have gone on to pursue professional careers in the theatre, TV and films but they have all taken part in over 150 plays or shows in a variety of theatre genre, performing to audiences all over the world.

(under development)

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