Asian Youth Take Centre Stage With Launch of Pioneering New Performance Group

Posted on 15 May 2014

The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry is delighted to announce the launch of a brand new Asian Youth Theatre performance group for 2014. The group, which runs weekly on Wednesdays between 4pm – 6pm is open to ages 11-16 and has been set up to offer young people from Asian ethnic minority backgrounds the opportunity to develop their performance skills in an inclusive, professional theatre environment. No previous experience of drama is necessary to take part in the group and all communities are welcome.

The youth group is run by the Belgrade’s Community and Education Company, which this year celebrates 50 years of delivering pioneering educational projects to young people and communities across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Asian Youth Theatre Co-ordinator, Reena Jaisiah explains: ‘The project is about celebrating the voices of diverse Asian and ethnic communities in Coventry and is the first Asian Youth project of this kind to be undertaken by the Belgrade Theatre. Through the process of devising and performing their own work, the students are encouraged to integrate and learn about each other’s identity, building bridges between different communities in the process. The project is about challenging stereotypes within Asian communities through drama and empowering young people to question those stereotypes. Through participating in this group, the students have developed valuable life skills such as the ability to communicate better, to work as a team, to use techniques like improvisation, to use their voice and to think critically about their own culture and identity’.

Workshop student Gianna Wright, age 13 added: ‘’Taking part in the workshops has really helped me with my confidence on stage and around other people too. This is my first experience of taking part in Youth Theatre and I’m really enjoying it so far’’.

For more information about the Belgrade’s Youth Groups and TiE programme, contact the Community & Education department on 024 7684 6741 or

For further media information and images, please contact Kate Evans (Communications Officer – Press and Digital Media) T: 024 7684 6715 or email:

Community and Education at the Belgrade:

• In 1965, the Belgrade formed the first ever Theatre in Education (TiE) company, a company dedicated to using theatrical performance and drama workshops to explore issues of cultural, social, political and moral significance as part of a free service to schools and the young people of Coventry.

• The Belgrade Theatre has a strong tradition of Youth Theatre. It currently runs eight Youth Theatre groups and five groups that target young people from black, Asian and socially disadvantaged contexts. The Belgrade Young Company has been established to provide young people with the opportunity to experience projects more closely mirroring the environment of a professional rehearsal and production process.

• The Belgrade currently runs one TiE project on an annual basis, Big School, a project about transition from Primary to Secondary school. The theatre is open to developing new projects on request, and was recently commissioned by the Minority Groups Support Services of the Local Authority to create The First Time I Saw Snow to support schools in their handling of the arrival of large numbers of pupils from new incoming communities in the north of the city.

• The Belgrade’s heritage continues to inspire the theatre’s current programme of work. The TiE programme is much smaller than it once was, but giving young people and minority groups the opportunity to build their confidence and to develop their own voices, whether as young artists or active citizens, remains at the heart of all the theatre’s community and education work.