New drama group launches

A new youth group will provide a dramatic focus for the talents of youngsters on the Manhood Peninsula.

The Hazardous Youth Theatre - brainchild of Toby Wilsher - will be launched on November 7, taking its name from HMS Hazardous which was lost in a storm off Bracklesham in November 1706.

Toby stresses he chose the name not because he expects the company promptly to founder: “It is because it is all about hidden depths and undiscovered treasures!”

The company is an offshoot off Meta Morpho theatre company which Toby set up in October 2008.

“We are based in the Witterings and are affiliated to the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth. The company is all about finding exciting and modern ways of telling a good story. Key is the idea that theatre contains a number of tools and that we should feel free to use them at any point. It will be text, song, mask, puppet, multi-media. Meta Morpho is up and running, and we have got two shows opening in 2012.

“That’s very exciting, but we wanted to have some breadth. There is a general feeling down in the Witterings and the Manhood that there is not much for young people. Everybody has to travel to Chichester.

“We are a community strung out along the coast, and there are also issues about a community that is swollen in the summer but has a lot of empty housing the rest of the year, with weekenders. We wanted to bring people together.”

Toby, co-founder and artistic director of Trestle Theatre Company until 2004, is basing the new youth theatre at the new Bracklesham Barn, on Mondays from 4-8pm over four one-hour sessions for different ages, roughly school years one, two and three; four, five and six; seven, eight and nine; and then ten and up.

He is hoping to get around ten children per session to start with, ideally building it up to double that number. If things go well, he could be looking at extended sessions, simultaneous sessions or even finding another day.

The tutors will be Toby, his sister Amanda and his wife Kathryn.

To sign up, call 01243 671863 or email [email protected] ; see also