Awards for youth theatre class acts

Footlight Youth Theatre winners line up with their awards at the presentation night
Footlight Youth Theatre winners line up with their awards at the presentation night

A YOUTH theatre has celebrated a successful year by handing out a host of honours at its annual awards ceremony.

The Footlight Youth Theatre, which has been providing opportunities in performing arts for young people in Hartlepool aged between four and 19 since 1994, staged a presentation night at the town’s Springs health club.

Awards were given out in 24 categories to reflect members’ achievements during 2010.

Theatre founder Councillor Paul Thompson, who represents the Seaton ward for Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “The annual awards ceremony is a key date in our calendar and one which gives us the opportunity to recognise the enthusiasm and skills of our members.

“Last year we had successful productions of The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland being brought to the stage.

“We had never before tried to put on two such large-scale productions in one year and it meant starting work on the second show almost as soon as the first ended.

“However, everyone – from performers to the many backstage helpers upon whom we rely so much – rose to the challenge brilliantly,” added the independent councillor. The keynote award was the STAR (Special Thanks and Recognition) Award which went to Rachel Weatherall.

She joined the theatre aged eight and after nine years as a performer she became a teacher so she could pass on her skills.

Rachel has managed to combine her role at the theatre with her degree studies.

Coun Thompson said: “This award is well deserved recognition for the commitment that Rachel has given and continues to give, both as a performer and a teacher.

“She really does typify what we are all about.”

The theatre, a non-profit making organisation with registered charity status, has about 80 members and 15 volunteers who help out every week.

It is based permanently in the Hartlepool Families First premises in Thomlinson Road.

Weekly sessions take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm until 7.30pm or 8.30pm, depending on the members’ ages

Bosses say the theatre, which places emphasis on fun and enjoyment, is always on the lookout for new members of all abilities.

Anyone interested in joining should visit for more information or call (01429) 867060.