Building confidence and getting creative at Arty | Vicky Meets

Vicky meets... Hannah Thomas, 13, Arty member, Bognor Regis.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 8:26 am

• What is Arty?

Arty is the resident Youth Theatre at the Regis Centre for children aged eight to 16. We meet every Saturday morning during term time for drama workshops, or, if we are getting ready for a show, to rehearse. You get to meet new people from other schools and we do improvisation, drama and play games. We all get to suggest our favourite games. It’s very inclusive and everybody is really friendly. We have loads of fun – some of the games are crazy!

• Is it just for wannabe actors?

Hannah Thomas (front row, centre) with her fellow Arty members

No! I have been coming for three years now and as well as being is shows I have got loads of other life skills from Arty. Learning to stand on a stage and speak out loud gives you confidence for things like job interviews. Practising creativity and using your imagination really helps you with things like problem solving and in other ways. Whether you’re good at it or not, I think drama is really important for young people.

• You have just been working on a play for the National Theatre’s Connections project. Will you tell me about this?

We chose to do a play called Tuesday. My character was a shy person who hid behind a science block at school because she got picked on, but who managed to stand up for someone else. The play was about the sky ripping apart and people being sucked up into another universe, while people from that universe fell into ours. The atmosphere didn’t agree with the people who fell into our universe and they got ill with a bad cough. It reminded us about the pandemic because it was about how society can be pulled apart, but also how by coming together it is much easier to beat something. I am so proud of everyone for what we did. Everyone worked so hard learning lines, staging and rehearsing. I am so glad we had the opportunity to do it.

• Did you manage to keep in touch with your Arty friends during lockdown?

We managed to meet on Zoom every week. Sometimes it wasn’t great because Wi-Fi kept dropping out or the connections lagged, but we kept going and managed to do some games. Each week we also had a theatre-related quiz. Whoever won it had to set the quiz the following week.

• What’s next for Arty?

Next term we are going to start working on an Arty Showcase. We get to choose the material and even to write some of it ourselves. I’m excited to see what everyone else is going to do.

• What would you say to anyone considering joining Arty?

I would say just go for it! You’ll be made really welcome. When I first joined I was so scared, but I was welcomed with such kindness and love. I made friends almost instantly and now it’s like a second family.

• Where can we find out more?