The Marlowe
Still to be decided

Still to be decided

This week, our Youth Company are performing To Be Decided, a new play about Brexit. Here, Maeve Mena, a long-term youth company member and co-creator of the show, describes the process of bringing it to the stage.

I first heard about the concept of this project back in July 2018 when Paul [Ainsworth, our Head Of Learning & Participation], the director of To Be Decided, mentioned that he wanted to devise a completely new piece of theatre that came from young people themselves. I’ve been part of The Marlowe Youth Company for the last eight years and have loved taking part in many of The Marlowe’s community projects; but in the last year I’ve been particularly interest in the overall making of theatre. Therefore, when Paul asked if I would like to co-create this new piece I lept at the chance to be able to make a piece of theatre from scratch. My role over the last few months has been to co-create and co-direct the project. I have been lucky enough to work closely with the director, the writer, the technical team and the youth company and have loved being a part of the entire creative process from start to finish. The project has been extremely exciting and eye-opening for me because I’ve been involved in almost all of the decision making and have had the chance to see all of the detail that goes into making theatre with young people.

The material for To Be Decided was generated in the research and development process in July; where Paul and I gathered as many articles, videos, photos and interviews as we could and brought that material to a steering group of young people. Within this group we worked out what we thought was the most important aspects to include in the production and we set out gathering verbatim from people of all walks of life. This verbatim has remained at the core of To Be Decided and was vital to both the writing and the devising process. We also include moments created by ideas from both Paul and I and The Marlowe Youth Company themselves. One of the most exciting aspects of the project is that it is topical and we’ve been in the rehearsal room when news stories have broken and have therefore adapted scenes to the ever changing political climate. The piece therefore feels like a very real and honest response from the company to the world we are currently living in.

For me this project is especially poignant because in the process I have come of voting age and feel like I have a chance now to share my feelings on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union as I was too young to vote in 2016. I also wanted to make sure that other young people had the chance to share their thoughts, feelings and opinions because the decision directly affects our lives and because more often than not our voices are silenced as we are told we are ‘too young’. Therefore, To Be Decided is all about having our voices heard before time runs out!