Blog Takeover: Welcome to Paradise

Thursday, February 4th, 2016 by Tricycle


Welcome to the 3rd annual blog Takeover! The programme for Takeover 2016 has just been announced today so we’ve got an extra special blog post for you from Young Company Director Tom Bowtell. Tom is introducing us to all the young company groups and what the theme of ‘paradise’ means to them. Check back for regular behind the scenes blogs from our young company members and trainee producers as we count down to spring and the start of Takeover 2016: Paradise.


The third annual Takeover Festival at the Tricycle has been themed Paradise. We chose this theme as we thought it’s open to multiple interpretations, and the three Tricycle Young Companies haven’t disappointed: they’ve used it as inspiration for shows about momentary escapes from the daily grind, the complex thrill of early sexual encounters and the potential for humanity to migrate into a digital paradise. All three groups are on their way to crafting three excitingly contrasting shows alongside me, the Creative Learning team and a host of brilliant supporting artists.


First up are the 11-14s who are staging Bryony Lavery’s It Snows as part of the National Theatre’s acclaimed Connections Festival – itself the biggest youth theatre festival on the planet. Inspired by the Snow Day back in February 2009, the play explores a world of missed opportunity and gentle drudgery which is transformed by a blanket of snow: suddenly crotchety mums and dads are building snowmen, and impossible romance starts to happen.


Next we have the 15-18s who, in response to our provocation to ‘make a show about sex’ have created The London Borough of Bred. This fictional area of north-west London is populated by a group of teenagers who are unabashedly exploring their exploding sexuality. Bred invites its audience to gatecrash the party of the year: the one time where the poshies from Upper Crust estate, and the rogues from Crumbs estate mingle together. We’ll meet Hastan; a 15 year old who secretly bought a church, Tommy, who thinks ‘sex is just A1, mate’ and the legendary but shy Kitty. It will be a big night so let’s just hope that nothing gets out of hand… Bred has been devised by the company in response to academic research into young people’s sexuality in partnership with the University of Sussex and sexual health charity Brook.

The third piece, Switch, is a research and development performance of a site-specific adventure set in a dystopian future. Devised by the 19-25s group the show turns the whole of the Tricycle building into a theatrical imagining of a famous thought experiment – The ‘Experience Machine’ created by philosopher Robert Nozick in his 1974 book Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Set in London 2035, Switch imagines that all the bad things we are worried about happening, have happened, and asks the audience to decide if a virtual heaven might be preferable to a hellish reality.

I’ve already been astonished by the energy and creativity of all 60 members of the Young Company. I believe that the untrammelled minds of young people have the potential to create theatre no-one else could make, and I’m in no doubt that the itchy, complicated, vibrant version of Paradise they’ll make during the Takeover from 13 – 23 March will be unusual and extraordinary (in a good way).

Takeover 2016: Paradise is on from 13 – 23 March. Click here for the whole programme and to book. Click here to download a full press release.

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