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West Yorkshire Playhouse establishes youth company to nurture new talent

West Yorkshire Playhouse YC members Shreya Patel, Cara Barzey and Andrew Archie-Acheampong. Photo: Anthony Robling
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West Yorkshire Playhouse has launched its first young company, in a bid to increase development opportunities for emerging artists in the region.

The company consists of 12 young people from Leeds, aged 18 to 25, from a variety of disciplines. These include actors, writers, producers, DJs and live performance artists.

Having been recruited through an open call-out, the company will meet around twice a week for a year to produce “an eclectic range of work”.

Participants will also have the opportunity to learn from professional artists and to use the theatre’s resources to develop their skills.

The company, which is free to attend, will be mentored by West Yorkshire Playhouse’s director of creative engagement Alexander Ferris and associate director Amy Leach. The initiative is part of the theatre’s Creative Engagement department and will act as a bridge into Furnace, the artistic development programme within the theatre.

Leach said: “Through Furnace, we are committed to the development of locally based artists at all stages of their career and to supporting them in creating and producing theatre.

“It is a delight to welcome such a brilliant, eclectic group of early career artists to the Playhouse in what will be a unique, bespoke journey of artistic exploration.”

Ferris added: “The diversity of their skills, experience, art forms and opinions are going to provide a rich and fascinating process as they go forward on their creative journey.”

The initiative is supported with funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.