Grantham Youth Theatre Society forms ‘close bonds and friendships that last longer than the show itself’
In our sixth Behind the Scenes feature, we talk to Lottie Morris from the Grantham Youth Theatre Society.
Formed in 2008, the Grantham Youth Theatre Society (GYTS) can be described in three words which are “energetic, positive and collaborative”, said Lottie Morris, chairman of the society.
The group is “unique” and “special” because it is run by and is for young people as the committee, production team and performers are all aged between 16 and 30 years old.
The 2023 committee includes nine young people, and its most recent production of Little Shop of Horrors was directed by Georgia Barnett, 20, choreographed by Beth Oliver, 20, produced by Lottie, 21, and its musical director was Millie Sheppard, 25.
Lottie said: “Every member works so diligently and plays a key role, especially when it comes to our summer productions which we rehearse and perform in the space of just two weeks over the summer holiday.
“The short time frame allows members to form close bonds and friendships that last far longer than the show itself.”
The group performs one full musical a year at the end of summer.
It also performs at places locally, such as Asda, to raise money for the society as it is entirely self-funded.
Like many groups during Covid, the society had to stop holding sessions.
Many of its members from 2019 moved to different parts of the country or started studying elsewhere, so few members were still around.
In 2022, Lottie sat down with Elaine Bishop, a founding member and chairperson of the Grantham Operatic Society, to come up with a plan to bring the society back.
Lottie added: “We decided it was best to start with a concert rather than a full musical because of the number of members we had that were still local.
“The aptly name ‘Bouncing Back’ allowed us to raise our profile within the community and therefore allowed us to stage a full musical in the summer of 2023.”
When the group came back, Lottie said although it “took a lot of hard work, perseverance and determination”, it was “fantastic”.
GYTS performed The Little Shop of Horrors and it was a “complete success”, added Lottie.
As part of South Kesteven District Council’s cultural strategy, they hope to reach more younger audiences.
GYTS is a strong advocate for this message and they hope to get more younger people involved in Grantham’s “buzzing” theatre scene.
On Grantham’s art and cultural scene, Lottie added: “[The arts and cultural scene] continues to get better and better!
“There are so many incredible groups and societies that produce such a range of spectacular theatre.
“Many GYTS members are also involved in other groups and we love going to support their productions.”
However, Lottie believes that arts can “seem inclusive” and it is “important to ensure that it remains accessible as both a performer and an audience member”.
Another element of SKDC’s cultural strategy is to ensure that arts and cultural programmes are more accessible to people and increase audiences from underrepresented groups.
Lottie added: “The arts can provide entertainment, escape and such joy, particularly with the level of talent that we have in our local area, and that should be available to everyone in our community.”
For the future of the society, Lottie hopes it will “continue to grow and provide more young people the opportunity to perform and work behind the scenes of a musical.”
She added: “The beauty of the society is in being able to work with your friends on a project that you’ve chosen, help and support each other and watch all of your hard work pay off.
“I hope that we continue to place value in the arts and celebrate all of the fantastic things happening in our community.
“Music, dance, drama and art have the potential to make such a positive impact on anyone of any age if we can facilitate opportunities and allow them to be accessed by everyone.”
Anyone who would like to get involved with GYTS can email email@example.com.