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Thurrock’s rising talent was showcased at the Thameside Theatre recently when 13-19 year olds from across the borough performed Slam Night.

Slam Night was one of the final performances by this group of young people who have taken part in the ‘it’s our theatre:Thurrock’ programme run by THEATRE IS.  It was a culmination of a recruitment roadshow and series of workshops last year which led to a group of 20 being chosen, following auditions, to make up the, “it’s our theatre: Thurrock Events Team” which put on the show. 

Out of 440 applicants, 144 young people were successful in taking part in the initial workshops held in October.  Applications were received from a range of groups of organisations including students at schools and colleges as well as young offenders, participants in a Prince’s Trust scheme and those registered with Connexions.

The workshops were run by professional artists from the hip hop collective “THROWDOWN UK” and covered rap, music, singing, hip hop dance, breakdance, beatboxing, performance skills and graffiti.  Participants were able to learn new skills or improve on existing skills over four evenings.

At the end of the workshops all the participants were keen to get information about how to continue their learning and get involved in local arts activities.

The project was made possible in Thurrock as a result of funding from the Thurrock Development Corporation’s Community Fund and Thurrock Council.

The Thurrock Events Team has put on other shows during the length of the programme, including another Slam Night at the end of October and a unique production of ’10 Years From Now’ in March.

A special showcase performance was staged for the launch of the Next Top Boss competition held at the Globe Theatre in London to an audience of over 100 of Thurrock’s employers and key dignitaries. 

Participants have responded enthusiastically to the project, having learnt new skills, made new friends and improved their confidence.

Sunny Bill, a 15 year old from Chafford Hundred School and long term active member of the Thurrock Events team raved about the programme saying, ‘‘I know personally in October I would not have got on stage and done what I’d done and that’s thanks to the roadshows and the events team. Everyone’s bonded so well, we’re one family. We’ve learnt to jam with each other. I know my behaviour’s got better as well!’’

Lois Bowser, Assistant Director of Delivery said, “There is a wealth of untapped talent in Thurrock and the Development Corporation is pleased to have been able to support a project which encourages young people to have aspirations for the future and inspires their confidence to learn new skills.”

Cllr Diana Hale, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for education, said: “I obviously missed out on a great night and really look forward to seeing the performances at T-Fest 10 on the last weekend of July. 

“The Development Corporation is absolutely right about the wealth of talent in Thurrock and I'll do my best to help unleash that potential, too.”

The public have another opportunity to see the group perform at this year’s T-Fest on 24th and 25th July at Grays Beach.

Young people interested in finding out more about how they can get involved can visit the website http://www.itsourtheatre.com/ and Facebook group ‘itsourtheatre’.

For more information on the Next Top Boss college programme which will start in September call 01708 889 388.