In case you haven’t heard, the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool is becoming a haven for young creative minds in Liverpool. Their famous YEP programme offers free training and classes for people aged 14-25, no matter their background. Over the years they’ve branched out and now offer courses in acting, directing, marketing, producing, technical, and writing.
Creative Writing & Drama student at LJMU Tom McLean talks about his experience so far on the YEP Writers course.
I’ve always loved the Everyman. My parents took me a lot as a kid and it was there I learned what theatre was and could be. I saw all sorts there, from Shakespeare to Brecht to brand new work. So when I heard about the YEP programme, I was immediately interested.
I applied for the Young Everyman and Playhouse Writers team more out of hope than anything else. I didn’t know if I was good enough. I didn’t really know how to write a play. I’d only done one year of a Drama and Creative Writing course in university, which hardly made me an expert. But I was twenty four, and the cut-off age for ‘Young’ is twenty five, so I didn’t have much choice. I went for it.
I was lucky enough to get in, and found it immediately inspiring and intimidating. There were eleven of us, and each one of my peers was clearly smart and serious about writing. But the course soon showed how brilliant it could be. First, we were offered free tickets to most of the shows on at the Everyman and Playhouse. I’m now in my second term and I’ve got tickets every week- sometimes twice a week!
To go along with our theatre trips, we were given a reading list. Two plays a week, to be discussed at our weekly sessions. This was daunting at first- that much reading on top of uni was a lot to take- but the joy of plays is that it only takes about an hour and a half to read one. As an aspiring writer, I was soon thrilled and inspired by what I was reading. Some plays were great; some were crap. Once we spent the best part of an hour in our sessions rubbishing what we’d read that week. But everything was useful, and we all became better writers as a result.
In addition to all the reading, I found the scarily clever people I’d been put with to be friendly, fun and just as scared as I’d been. We were regularly going out to the pub after sessions and became good friends. It’s great having a group of people who are as interested as you are in what you love.
What’s great about YEP is that they have strands for every part of the theatre making process. My girlfriend is doing the producing course, and if anything it’s even better than the writer’s one. They also have opportunities for acting, directing, marketing and teaching. If they’re all as good as the writers course (and they are), they’re each brilliantly suited to anyone wanting to start out in the industry. I’m honestly so glad I applied for YEP writers, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. If you’re at all interested in theatre, or even working in the creative industry, you’d be mad not to check it out.