From Banana Flats to Tin Town

From Banana Flats to Tin Town

Written and directed by Leon Phillips.

The Belgrade Community & Education Company presented the Youth Theatre’s brand new production From Banana Flats to Tin Town from 5 to 8 May 2010.

The play brought together young people from the Canley and Tile Hill areas of Coventry in a performance that highlighted some of the issues affecting young people today.

From Banana Flats to Tin Town took its inspiration from real issues and events that continue to affect the people of Tile Hill and Canley, including the past and present tensions between the two areas, family and loyalty, the economic downturn and unemployment. The story was one of triumph over adversity as the people from the two areas, young and old, eventually come together to build a better future for all.

Leon Philips, Drama Worker and Director of the play said at the time:

From Banana Flats to Tin Town is a unique piece that not only explored the tensions between the two areas, but also the affect the past can have on the present and the role that youth centres and community members can play in trying to keep young people from going down the wrong path.

“In the future we hope to build on this pilot project to create a larger scale community play in Canley and Tile Hill involving a wider range of residents and performing on a bigger scale.”

The Outreach Youth Theatre groups are part of the Belgrade’s Community and Education Company and have been running across Canley, Tile Hill and other areas of Coventry since autumn 2006. The groups aim to make youth theatre activities accessible to those communities that do not have access to a community drama organisation and to create and maintain lasting relationships between different areas across Coventry.

The groups have been involved in a range of projects and have established themselves as a key part of the Belgrade programme, with their own identity and energy. Previous productions staged by the Belgrade’s Outreach Youth Theatre groups include Four by Four, a small scale sharing and The Last Heroes, a large scale community performance about industry in Coventry which played in the Belgrade’s B2 auditorium. In July 2009, the groups produced their own ‘mystery plays’ as part of the Belgrade’s Community Mysteries – The Mysteries – In Our Own Words in which young people took over the Belgrade for two weeks, performing throughout the theatre building.

The Belgrade had been developing a satellite youth theatre programme in the Tile Hill and Canley areas for the last five years prior to From Banana Flats to Tin Town. The aim is to bring Youth Theatre activities (with all the accompanying benefits of personal and social empowerment) to young people who may not otherwise access a community drama provision. The groups combine young people from Canley and Tile Hill with young people from other areas of the city from the Belgrade’s Middle Youth Theatre. The idea was that this will help to build pride in the area amongst local young people, and builds connections with an area that can be quite remote for other young people in the city.

The production was performed in Coventry’s Westwood School (Canley) on 5 and 6 May and Jardine Youth Centre (Tile Hill) on 7 and 8 May at 7pm. Tickets were free but had to be booked in advance.

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