PROGRESSIVE AND PROSPEROUS TIMES: The Nineties
It seemed very appropriate and reassuring that the activities during the early nineties emphasised the importance of the young actor; appropriate because it reflected the tradition that had grown up in the theatre since the time when the junior theatre performed at the eisteddfods back in the 1930's and reassuring because the future of the theatre would be guaranteed if a body of trained and dedicated young people was continually being produced. The need for the involvement of young people in the theatre on a formal basis was recognised in the 70's.
Ray Costello, in 1975, was keen to foster "junior drama" as he called it and volunteered to draw up a list of suggestions related to the possible organisation of such an activity. The subject of a "Junior Theatre" was raised by Mary Webb in 1976 but apparently the difficulties in forming a group was considered too difficult, reasons not stated. However, apparently the sponsoring of a drama festival for high schools was seen as one positive way the Theatre could encourage the interest of the young performer and several of these were organised over the next few years, with participating schools coming from as far away as Lynwood. Despite the use of large numbers of young people in many of the plays of the 80's, Barry Lucas, in 1990, expressed his concern about the Theatre's apparent lack of commitment in establishing a formal avenue to cater for young people's interest in the theatre.
His proposal to initiate a Junior Theatre was acted upon by the committee and at the end of the year a programme of workshopping was commenced, to run for a period of 10 weeks. Barry was assisted by Fred Longman and Barbara Davies in organising the activities and in April the enthusiastic group of about 30 children, under the direction of Barry and musical director, Allison Croft, staged a production of the childrens' musical play "Ship of Dreams" by Mary Durack, who in fact, attended the theatre to see one of the performances. The success of the 1991-92 programme prompted Junior Theatre workshop courses to be conducted in 1992 and 1993.
The culmination of the work in 1992 was marked by a short season of "The Green Wizard". The sparkling performance demonstrated not only the hard work and patience of director Tim Etherington, and again Alison Croft, but also what can be achieved with a keen and committed juvenile cast. Significantly much of the 1993 Junior Theatre workshop activities were organised and conducted by younger members, who themselves had only just graduated into the ranks of adult performers. No