The Court Theatre in Christchurch has launched its exciting new programme, The Court Youth Company, a training and performance company for young actors.

The company has been founded and will be directed by The Court Theatre’s Education Manager, Alice Canton. Canton, a graduate of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, sees it as an essential part of the new Christchurch voice.

“There are so many talented and creative young actors in this city, hungry for high quality training and performance opportunities. We are in a unique position where The Court Theatre have committed their resources and industry relationships to create a platform to support these young practitioners”.

The company, aged between 16 and 21, will train twice weekly onsite at The Court Theatre. Members will be encouraged to develop their professional practice, building performance skills in voice, movement, text methodology and devising.

Canton, who has taught both here and overseas, is a strong advocate for youth company training models and says “programmes like this can provide essential foundations for these kids prior to entering tertiary level training or the work force. They are constantly exercising skills in leadership and collaboration. In my experience, these students have a more developed vocabulary and focus, which can only assist in raising their level of achievement”.

The Court’s Artistic Director, Ross Gumbley, himself started as a trainee actor at the theatre in 1985 and has been working in the industry as an actor, writer, and director ever since.

“It is an incredible opportunity to propel the next generation of theatre-makers into the industry” Gumbley says. “It exposes them to some of New Zealand’s leading professional actors and directors and a chance to watch and learn from the best!”.

Auditions for The Court Youth Company will be held in December, where applicants will participate in a series of workshops lead by The Court Theatre staff and industry representatives. Applicants need no prior acting experience, and Canton encourages all young aspiring actors to come forward. “We’ve got a stage for young creative voices in Christchurch to be heard” says Canton, “and I’m there to make sure they make as much noise as possible.”

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