The Lismore Youth Theatre was formed in 2007 when a group of the island youth were formed to perform two short heritage plays depicting the story of Lismore and performed in the newly established and now award winning Heritage centre. This successful event created a happy enthusiastic youth team that after this first experience wanted more, the group range in age from 11 – 17.
In 2008 in collaboration with Argyll’s ‘The Walking Theatre Company’ an exciting 2 year project supported by The Heritage Lottery fund was set up. ‘Living History and beyond’ gave the framework for the youth team to reform and to, with the guidance of The Walking Theatre Company’ creative teamwork through the stages required to research, create, produce and perform a play. The material was collated by the youth team, formed into a script by actress/writer Sadie Dixon-Spain, then worked and improved by the young actors under to experienced guidance of director/actor Liam Calgie. The finished product ‘Coming Home’ was an emotional exploration of island life culminating in a celebration of those islanders lost in the First Word War and performed on Armistice day. For this project Lismore Youth Theatre and The Walking Theatre Company won ForArgyll’s best community event.
In 2009 for the second leg of the project Living History and Beyond and in collaboration with the Lismore Homecoming Group, a new play was created ‘Coming Home Again’ which drew the history and families of the island together from the days of the Rebellions, clearances, wars and on to modern day when many of the audience came home to visit the Island and share in her celebrations. For this weeklong production the youth team worked with actors from The Walking Theatre Company, under professional conditions, rehearsing and learning and then performing as professional youth actors in the play along side the professional team. The Youth team were paid to part of this production thus creating an apprenticeship format and allowing these talented island youngster to get a taste of working in the creative industries and can professional experience that will count towards their Equity status should they choose to pursue a career in the performing arts.
The play was exiting for all involved and allowed the youth team to experience first hand the unique brand of theatre that The Walking Theatre provide. The audiences were led in a good walk from the museum to a cleared island village and back again to finish in the cafe, the use of varying sites both indoor and outdoor, in fields, on the coast, on hillside and amongst ruined crofts created a very special and moving atmosphere, notwithstanding the couple of performances that took part in the driving west coast rain, which challenged cast and audience and created a special bond between all those that took part in an entirely unforgettable experience.