OnOff Stage

29th March 1996 at 00:00
My apologies to Belgrade Theatre's education department for misrepresenting in my last column the outcome of its long-standing troubles. The theatre's dispute with Equity has been settled and short-term contracts have been offered to some of the company, but 10 members of the education department will be made redundant on March 31. The Coventry branch of the National Union of Teachers is continuing its boycott of all the theatre's services, apart from the work of the community and education departments. For more information, ring the education department's spokesperson Tony Grady on 01203 256431.

It's not every day that there's some good news for the capital's young. But London Arts Board has awarded 36 grants from its Developing Youth Arts fund, totalling more than Pounds 60,000. Activities to receive funding - all of them outside the formal education sector - include circus masterclasses and carnival, dance and music workshops. Among the recipients are Leap Theatre Workshop, a peer-led initiative for young unemployed people, the Royal Court Young People's Theatre, Lewisham Youth Theatre and Only Connect, a Southwark-based drama project working with young people with learning disabilities.

Congratulations to Bedfordshire County Youth Theatre which will represent Britain at an international theatre festival in Japan in October. It will take an original adaptation of Romeo and Juliet provided it can raise funds through commercial sponsorship to cover hefty travel expenses. If you know of anyone able to contribute towards costs, contact BYT's artistic director Nigel Williams on 01525 873836.

And welcome to a new journal. Research in Drama Education, edited by John Somers, senior lecturer in education at the University of Exeter, is, in his words, "intended as a storehouse in which some of the accumulating wisdom in our fieldIcan be stored." The first issue is an eclectic and truly international mix of articles, ranging from "Shakespeare in the Bulgarian school" to pieces on the relevance of theatre for development in Africa and south-east Asia. Copies can be ordered from Carfax Publishing Company on 01235 553559.

For anyone who thinks their family is dysfunctional, take a trip to the theatre to see what a real problem family looks like. Jonathan Neale's Oedipus Needs Help, presented by Vital Experience, parallels Oedipus with Freud, the man who made him a household name. Oedipus is played by blind actor and former teacher John Wilson Goddard. The play can be seen at the Pavilion Theatre, Brighton (01273 709709) from April 10 to 13 and at the Diorama Arts Centre, London (0171 419 2000) from April 17 to May 11.

On a lighter note, Granada Studios Tour is running drama workshops on the set of Granada TV's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes through April and May. Children work alongside professional actors and entertainers to develop acting skills, as well as being given a backstge and soundstage tour of the studios. The workshops are tailored to different age groups and run from Tuesday to Friday. For more information, ring Eileen Allen at Granada Studios Tour, Manchester on 0161 828 5243.

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