I went to Plymouth to workshop some ideas with Beyond Face, a professional and youth theatre company formed and run by Alix Harris. Beyond Face is stirring things up in Plymouth. They are a company who are set out to increase the presence of BAME. Full stop.
We are collaborating to produce a musical theatre production and hoping to work with Plymouth Music Zone. The subjects and themes that these young people came up with were astounding. We had everything from bullying to racism, what it means to be a girl, mental health and effects of being brought up in a single parent home.
Now Plymouth is an area where the arts are not associated with the BAME community. So the 15 or so young people who attend Beyond Face every week, who come from a BAME background, who have families and parents who live in Plymouth, are what? On holiday? These young people are fantastic and want to contribute somehow in making changes in Plymouth and the South West. Alix is definitely leading the way but not acknowledging pure talent is insane! It’s ignoring the need and slowing down progress.
I asked the young people to give me one thing they love and one thing they hate about living in Plymouth. The positives were the ‘seaside’ but a lot of what they didn’t like were ‘the people’. Digging deeper, they meant racists. Almost all of them had suffered from bullying due to their culture or the colour of their skin. Beyond Face gives them the space to not only express themselves, be apart of the theatre world and perform, but also to be in a space where there they can just be.
I’m excited to work with Alix and the talent at Beyond Face. There’s no BAME community, People of Plymouth? Watch this space…
Check out Beyond Face.
Facebook: Beyond Face