Meet our new Education Coordinator and Youth Theatre Director

Our new Education Coordinator and Youth Theatre Director Tabitha takes to the stage in this exclusive interview!

What did you do previously to working with us?

Before becoming a member of the Corn Exchange Team I was working as a freelance practitioner, director and writer for various companies and organisations in London, the Midlands and the South East of England.

What drew you to the role?

I have worked in education in one capacity or another for over a decade and, in this time, I have been lucky enough to work with a diverse spectrum of people in many different environments; from working in professional theatres, in universities as a sessional lecturer, to delivering drama skills workshops to teenagers in a field in the pouring rain! I have loved gaining experience and building my skill set in such a variety of settings. However, when the opportunity to help forge a new programme of youth theatres presented itself I could not help but jump at the chance.  I love the core values of The Corn Exchange and feel it is one of the most exciting regional venues in the South East, so being offered the chance to work as part of the team here is incredibly exciting for me. I cannot wait to begin the process of engaging with all the young people who enter the learning centre and helping them to build their knowledge, passion and understanding of drama.

What excites you about the Corn Exchange’s new Youth Theatre programme?

So many things! This term we are launching the new youth theatre which ranges from reception all the way up to nineteen years- so there really is something for everyone. We will be hitting the ground running as we have been lucky enough to be selected to take part in the National Theatre’s Connections programme with our intermediate group. As well as this we will be starting afresh in the new Learning Centre with its purpose built studio for the members of the youth theatre to rehearse in, to feel a sense of ownership over and to help grow into the vibrant hub of activity we envisage for its future.

What’s your favourite play or show?

This is a super tricky question to answer but the one that springs to mind is Phyllida Lloyd’s breath-taking trilogy of Shakespeare plays (Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest ) which were performed by an all-female cast between 2012 - 2016. It was amazing to witness a diverse and talented mix of women exploring such multifaceted characters. Each production was set in a women’s prison and tackled not only the complexities of Shakespeare but also drew attention to fundamental societal issues still being faced today. I found Lloyd’s ability to re-imagine traditional works for modern audiences incredible and each production profoundly moving.

If you were coming to the Learning Centre as a participant what class/course would you take?

There are so many to choose from; from the classes aimed at our Ageing Creatively programme and Adult Learning courses to our Toddler Dance and Infant Massage (and not forgetting our Youth Dance classes) - there really is something for everyone! Personally, I like to experience new things and have a go at something I have never tried before so am excited to witness things like Autumn Silk and the Panto Caricature project, which, although vastly different in delivery, should both be really fun and engaging projects for its participants.