A Sutton theatre company aims to inspire young writers, actors and musicians from the area and develop their skills with performances across the county.
A Prop Me Up Theatre Company was founded by Kay Vardy (24) who has been performing since she was two and running drama groups since she was fifteen.
She studied drama in the community at university in Lincoln and founded the company in 2013 after her graduation and a four month gap teaching in Uganda.
Kay said: “I raised around £6,500 during 2010-2011 to venture out into Africa with a gap year company called AV. The money was used to rebuild classrooms, buy school equipment and feed an entire school of children and teachers as part of an Easter celebration. When I got back I realised how much needs to be done in our own country to rebuild communities.
“In order to encourage local people to engage with others I set up A Prop Me Up Theatre Company to begin this journey within my local area. There’s currently a five year plan for the company to get fully off the ground and functioning to a professional level. Members are multi-talented and offer expertise in different areas such as Tom Vardy, both an actor/performer and a website coder and designer, apropmeup.com being one of his more recent projects. “Tracey and Rik Mathura, and their family, have on-stage and off stage talents which keep the company in marketing avenues, lunch-time delights and set building expertise when required.
“We also have a team of singer/performers that travel out into the local residential homes to entertain and engage residents including myself, Lauren Taylor, Demi Peters, Aimee Burrows and Terrena Nunn each also having administration or other roles within the company to extend it’s outreach and manage the running of the company.
The company runs workshops for groups of up to 30 youngsters, which are tailored to meet the needs of the school or college. Kay said: “Every participant is involved in improvising, rehearsing, devising, creating and contributing to a small group performance as part of the workshop criteria.”
So far the company has gained around 20 members and has completed over 100 hours of community based workshops in schools. The company is available to take school, youth group, and private bookings for educational and performance based workshops. As well as her dramatic works, Kay also found the time to write a novel aimed at teenagers.
The Anecdotal Drama Teen, published in 2012 by Authorhouse, explores the theme of childhood grief.
Kay wrote the book while she was working in a factory to ‘keep her brain active’ and the story has subsequently been adapted for the stage and performed by the company.
The company is currently staging Vamperior by Hayley Bristol, a play described as ‘an apocalyptic future style story’ about a university student who is caught in a town between a gang of vampires and a gang of vampire killers.
It will be performed four times this Halloween at Sutton Community Academy as part of a community incentive to engage youngsters and young adults - taking them away from the usual ideas of “trick or treating” and finding similar entertainment in a different and affordable way.