Spotlight falls on young theatre group members

A NEW youth theatre group preparing for its debut show next year is already in the spotlight – after winning a prestigious county award.

The B&B Theatre Company was launched in September by five former students from Benjamin Britten High School in Lowestoft who were keen to develop their skills in the performing arts, and to inspire other young people in Waveney to join them.

Last week, members were invited to Kesgrave, near Ipswich, after the group was shortlisted for an award by Young Suffolk, which supports organisations that work with children and young people.

Their trip proved more than worthwhile when it was announced that B&B Theatre Company had won the coveted Young Suffolk President's Award and a �250 boost to their funds. It was presented to them by Anne Dunford, president of Young Suffolk.

Alison Archbold, Young Suffolk's communications manager, said 'The Young Suffolk Presidents Award is presented each year to a project that inspires real participation of young people, not just setting their own agenda but also running their own project.

'The B&B Theatre Company has shown how much can be achieved by a group of motivated, skilled, innovative and passionate young people who put so much of their time and effort into their project. We are really pleased they are this year's winners.'

As previously reported by the Journal, the theatre group was set up by Ryan Holt and Andrew Groom, from Corton, Joe Peek, from Oulton, Stephanie Bailey, of Lowestoft, and Stephany Barrett, of Blundeston, after securing �5,000 from the Suffolk Youth Opportunity Fund.

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The B&B Theatre Company now has a cast of 40 young people from across Waveney, who all work with the five founders, director Sharmaine Pullman, musical director Bob McNeil Watson, and volunteers Michael and Margaret Mills.

It has also acquired more than 400 costumes and props.

Ryan said the group members intended to use its �250 prize to continue to develop their work. 'At a time when county council is cutting its support for youth clubs around Suffolk, due to the financial squeeze, we intend to stay strong and inspire young people through the work we do by allowing them to express themselves through theatre,' he added.

The group is currently preparing for its debut production – the musical Oliver! – after teaming up with Barnby-based Scenic Projects, which is designing the stage set for the production.

There will be 10 performances at Beccles Public Hall from March 23 to April 3 next year, and tickets will go on sale in late January.

For more information about the show or the B&B Theatre Company, call 01502 446161 or email