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Still Game and Harry Potter stars urge youngsters to apply for flagship drama courses

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From Scottish Youth Theatre --

TALENTED youngsters who love drama are being urged to apply for Scottish Youth Theatre’s acclaimed Summer Festival flagship theatre courses by actors from the hit comedy Still Game and the hugely successful Harry Potter films.

SYT patrons, Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter, Emma Thompson - who played eccentric professor Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter films – and Paul Riley, who played lovable rogue, Vincent, in Still Game, believe that Summer Festival courses are a great way for young people to develop the acting and theatre production skills needed to follow a career in the industry.

Summer Festival, now in its 39th year, consists of intensive courses for ages 14-25 years covering all aspects of theatre and drama including production, acting and stage management.

Places are highly sought-after, so entry to the courses, which range from three-six weeks-long in July and August 2015, is by audition only in February.

Applications for Summer Festival can be made throughout February at www.scottishyouththetare.org. There are also shorter courses available for ages 8-11 and 12-15.

Paul Riley, is just one of a long list of actors who started their career at SYT’s Summer Festival.

Others include Gerard Butler (James Bond, How To Train Your Dragon, 300), Karen Gillan (Dr. Who, Guardians of the Galaxy), Colin McCredie (Shallow Grave, River City), Blythe Duff (Taggart, The James Plays) and Kirstie Steel (Waterloo Road, Glasgow Girls).

Paul said: “I remember taking my bow on the Olivier stage at the National on the south bank the same day Laurence Olivier died. I was 17 and a member of the Scottish Youth Theatre.

“I’m now proud to say I’m now one of their patrons. There is no question that attending SYT put me on the path to becoming the professional I am today. I’m one of hundreds, if not thousands, who passed through SYT and went on to have a career in the arts. Just as important are those who didn’t but still draw on the life skills and confidence that attending SYT provides.”

Long-term SYT patron, Emma Thompson, who also starred in numerous successful films including Howards End, Sense and Sensibility, and Nanny McPhee, added: “I had the privilege of visiting SYT’s Summer Festival in Glasgow in 2013, and meeting some of the talented young students along with my mother, and fellow patron, Phyllida Law.

“We were blown away by the energy, commitment and creativity of these young actors who were rehearsing two critically-acclaimed productions: Mary Queen of Scots got her Head Chopped Off, by the uniquely brilliant Liz Lochhead, and Now’s the Hour, about the independence referendum, which was a huge success at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

“It was very clear to us that Scottish Youth Theatre is unique in its ability to create a safe, fun and stimulating environment where children and young people can express themselves, take risks and reach their creative potential.”

Mary McCluskey,  Scottish Youth Theatre’s chief executive and artistic director said: “Summer Festival is SYT’s sector leading flagship course. These intensive performance courses allow young people to build on their personal, social and performance skills in a professional theatre environment.

“Our Production and Performance Learning Programme for ages 16-25 also leads to a SCQF qualification equivalent to Advanced Higher. In 2013, Summer Festival created Now’s the Hour about the independence referendum which went onto to a huge success at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe.”

 

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