OnOff Stage

26th April 1996 at 01:00
A special project involving some rather enlightened thinking concluded with performances last week at an unlikely venue. The ground floor of Hackney Free and Parochial School was transformed as a theatre space to host Tales from the City, a youth drama project led by the Royal Court Young People's Theatre.

One of seven participating London-based groups, Magic Me, created a performance piece based on actual interviews with elderly people from Tower Hamlets. The theme of the piece was "Leaving Home", and the young interviewersyouth theatre members wove stories into their performance about leaving Jamaica to come to Britain in the 1950s and the difficulties immigrants faced after their arrival.

Magic Me is an ongoing project, partnering young people aged 9 to 15 with adults in long-term programmes of training, visits and shared creative activities such as photography, clay modelling, dancing and storytelling. The group works both on school-based and out of school projects.

For more information about the Royal Court Young People's Theatre, ring 0181 960 4641.

Strathcona, one of the country's foremost disabled theatre companies, performs Breaking the Mould at the Young Vic Studio until May 4 as part of a national tour. Devised by an ensemble of eight learning-disabled performers, it is an uncompromising, unforgettable piece looking at the issues surrounding genetic engineering. You'll come away shaken but thoughtful. For bookings, ring the Young Vic box office on 0171 928 6363.

Congratulations to the winners of the Unicorn Arts Theatre's National Young Playwright Competition 1996. Joint winners in the 13 to 16 category were Joel Nicholson from King Edward VI School, Southampton and John Salgado from Forest Gate School, London. Miranda Howard-Williams from St James's School in Muswell Hill won the 9 to 12 year old category.

In the youngest age group, Leila Rimmer of City of London School for Girls won with her hamster adventure story, along with Lauren Wahed and Hannah Jones, who entered the competition from Jeddah.

The Festival, at which rehearsed readings of the winning plays were performed, took place on April 21. For information on the competition and how to enter for next year, ring the Unicorn on 0171 379 3280.

Postal bookings are available now for The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which the Globe Theatre Company is performing in August in this summer's Prologue Season. It is to be directed by Jack Shepherd and will star the Globe's artistic director Mark Rylance on a temporary stage. For every performance, 500 Pounds 5 tickets will be sold to "groundlings" or promenaders.

The Shakespeare Globe's first full theatre season on its permanent stage opens in the summer of 1997. Although the theatre itself has been funded, the complex needs another Pounds 6 million in order to complete the education facilities and permanent exhibition. The Two Gentlemen of Verona runs from August 21 to September 15. For more details, ring the Globe on 0171 620 0202.

Travelling Light Theatre Company tours TIR NA N-OG to non school venues for the first time. The play, about two Irish traveller children who find a magical white horse who spirits them away from the world of prejudice to one of hope and adventure, was adapted from the film Into the West by Jim (My Left Foot) Sheridan.

The national tour, which includes the New Vic Studio, Bristol, the Green Room, Manchester and Darlington Arts Centre, continues until June 16. For more details, ring Jude Merrill at Travelling Light on 0117 949 2666.

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