The Marlowe
Youth Company prepares to stage wartime drama

Youth Company prepares to stage wartime drama

Young actors from across Kent will soon perform at The Marlowe Studio, when they tell a heartwarming story of friendship and assumed family.

The Marlowe Youth Company, comprising young people aged 15 to 17, will be staging Wojtek: The Happy Warrior with the play’s creator Glenn Tillin directing. Running from Thursday 11 April to Saturday 13 April in The Marlowe Studio, it tells the story of Wojtek – a bear bought by soldiers of the Polish Free Army during World War 2 which served as both a mascot and a helping hand during the conflict.

A group of children stand behind and hold onto two horizontal bars.

Since first meeting the wider Marlowe team in September, the group of 17 young people have been learning what it takes to bring a theatre production to life, from rehearsals and a ‘white box presentation’ – which shows a miniature mock-up of the set – through to professional-level direction and costuming.

One of the young actors, Havana, said: “I love that the play is very imaginative while being based on a true story, so you’re learning about history while keeping the fun parts fun. I think audiences will really enjoy it, as it combines elements of music and physical theatre to make it more immersive and engaging.

A group of children are standing and listening to the director, who is gestering with his hands.

“Being part of the Youth Company has brought lots of experiences you’d never get to do through school, like getting to perform at The Marlowe, and I look forward to our sessions every week.”

Another Youth Company member, Patrick, said: “I’ve found the process really interesting, and I think it’s fascinating to look at these stories of survival and life during World War 2.

“I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Youth Company – it’s great being in The Studio and everyone here is lovely. I’d recommend joining to anyone, it’s boosted my confidence and has given me wonderful opportunities that I’d never have believed possible.”

A group of people sit on the floor, listening to a woman standing at the front.

The Marlowe’s Director of Learning and Participation, Roxan Kamali-Sarvestani, said: “We’re incredibly proud to offer such amazing experiences to our Youth Company participants, allowing them to hone their skills and gain a wider understanding of theatre production.

“Having watched rehearsals, the young people involved have been putting their all into it and I’m certain audiences are going to love it.”

Find out more about joining The Marlowe Youth Company.

Wojtek: The Happy Warrior runs from Thursday 11 to Saturday 13 April.

The Marlowe Youth Company is sponsored by Paul Roberts Canterbury.