We’re Hiring: Youth Theatre Director

Senior Youth Theatre: Oh What A Lovely WarWe currently have the following vacancy available:


An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Youth Theatre Director & Education Practitioner to join the Education Department at Riding Lights.

The Riding Lights Youth Theatre has been established in three groups drawn from the academic years 7-9 and 10-13 as well as a youth theatre for those aged 13-18 with additional needs or disabilities, called ‘Acting Up!’ These groups meet on separate evenings each week in term time, working on a range of projects based around acquiring theatre skills and presenting performances.

Riding Lights also provides regular school drama teaching (academic years 3 – 8).

Closing date for applications is Monday 14 November and interviews will take place in the week beginning Monday 28 November.
The successful candidate will join the company in early January.

Download the full job description and paper application form or apply online. Call 01904 655317 for more information.

A snapshot of The Grand Depart

On Sunday the 6th of July York was buzzing with bikes as the city filled with people gathered to see The Grand Depart of the Tour De France.

Always keen to contribute to the chaos, we were thrilled to entertain the crowds with some street theatre, including a few (very abridged) French Classics and a History of the Tour De France in five inventions. Plus our Senior Youth Theatre provided some excellent music and short sketches to punctuate the afternoon.

Below are a few snaps of the performance (click on an image to enlarge):


Applications open for Summer Youth Theatre

YT logo - NEW

UPDATE: Tickets are now on sale for the Junior Youth Theatre production of “The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader”

The Application pack is now available for our Youth Theatre’s Summer Course. The term runs from the 23rd of April to 17th July, with courses for everyone aged 7 to 18.

To find out more or apply, download an application form, or give us a call on 01904 655317.

(You can find out more about our different Youth Theatres here.)

‘Letting Them In’

Paul Birch 2010 (2)Last week I got this privilege of speaking at the prestigious Rose Theatre, Kingston, Riding Lights having been asked to contribute to their Letting Them In conference. The day was the launch event the Rose Theatre’s Let Me In festival of work by, for and about people with learning difficulties – it’s wonderful to see other theatres engaged in this work too. Here’s what the blurb said…

‘A day to hear from some of the experts, including a practical workshop to explore communication issues with particular focus on voice to support those working with children and young adults in the special educational needs population.’

I was there helping delivering a workshop led by RL Board member and Summer Theatre School tutor Yvonne Morley, along with the skilled Speech and Language Therapist Francesca Rose. This is the fifth workshop Yvonne and the Voice Care Network has developed – the whole series of five aims to help teachers and support staff use their voices effectively in the classroom. Yvonne and I have co-deliverd these workshops across North Yorkshire and we have had a hugely positive response from participants. The workshop at the Rose was no exception and participants gave us some fantastic feedback.


Alongside the workshop, the speakers at the day were Stephen Unwin (Artistic Director of The Rose), Emma Cravitz (Educational Psychologist) Alison Ryan (Policy Advisor ATL) and myself.

I spoke on our own dynamic work with young people with Special Educational Needs though our award-winning Acting Up youth theatre. It seems to me that, under the artistic direction of Kelvin Goodspeed, Acting Up is not simply an accessible place but also a challenging one. The young people who attend discover not only a welcoming atmosphere but are asked to rise to many creative challenges. It is risky, but the sense of ensemble, achievement and empowerment is palpable when you witness a performance by these talented young actors. Only this morning I received an email from a parent which said:

‘…thank you for Acting Up, it has been a marvellous opportunity for my son (names have been removed) . As you are probably aware, he has severe speech and language delay along with his Autism. In his most recent assessment by the Speech Therapist she says on several occasions that my son has made more progress with all areas of speech and communication than expected for his previous ability. I am sure that Acting Up has been a major contributory factor to this unexpected progress and I wanted to share this with you.’

Legends-of-York-PosterThis came after the first performance of Acting Up’s latest show Legends Of York which I had the pleasure of seeing last Wednesday night. It was a bumpy first night but filled with many delights. The cast became horses and there was a live joust as part of the devised tale of King Arthur’s visit to York, a moving and empathetic de-bunking of York’s famous ghost Story of ‘The Grey Lady’ and the demanding adaptation of Elizabethan tract ‘The Black Dog of Newgate’ complete with lengthy speeches written in complex language.

Kelvin and his team asked a huge amount of the cast who delivered some brilliant moments of theatre. There is another performance tonight – so if you want to be entertained, moved and have a good night at the theatre just ‘Let yourself in…’

Paul Birch

Wanted: Youth Theatre and Education Assistants for 2012-13

Riding Lights Theatre Company is seeking volunteer Youth Theatre and Education Assistants for 2012-13. There are three periods available for this opportunity:

  • September to December 2012
  • January to April 2013
  • April to July 2013

We would be very happy to hear from people who would be interested in volunteering for one or more of these periods.

This is an ideal opportunity for anyone who is interested in working with young people in the theatre! It will involve acting as an Assistant to the Youth Theatre Director, and will offer experience in areas such as Youth Theatre rehearsals, workshop facilitating, stage management and administration.

We’ve had volunteer Youth Theatre Assistants for a number of years here at Friargate, and we love having them around. We asked Hannah Goudie, one of  2011 volunteers to tells us how she found the experience:

“Working as an Education Assistant for Riding Lights was a great opportunity. I really enjoyed the variety of the role, learning by actively being involved in the youth theatre sessions, as well as stage management, schools workshops and admin.

I particularly enjoyed the chance to work with a company that had Christianity at the centre and found the support of staff was fantastic.

The role offered great challenges to work with different ages and abilities in both youth theatre and school settings, which also provided a good range of experience for future work.”

The application process for this role will be subject to interview and an Enhanced CRB check.

For more information, please contact Jonty on 01904 655317, or send an email of enquiry to jon.boustead@rltc.org