A LOCAL group which supports young people to get involved in musical theatre is celebrating its first anniversary.

Launceston Youth Music Theatre was established in 2023, with the aim of providing a space for young people in North Cornwall to access the creative arts.  

One year later, the group is now celebrating its achievements, and in the last 365 days the group has grown enormously in popularity.  

Speaking to the Post, Amy Hodgson, one of the group’s directors, said: “We set up Launceston Youth Music Theatre (LYMT) to offer local young people the opportunity to be involved in high quality musical theatre. 

“Funding for the arts in schools is at an all-time low, and coupled with a mental health epidemic in our young people, it has never been more important to provide these opportunities.”  

The Musician’s Union has said that between 2010 and 2015, £300-million in governmental arts funding was lost, with a further £178-million lost in ‘real terms’ through grants and lottery funding in the last 13 years.  

Despite this, Amy believes there is a huge variety of benefits that young people can experience by getting involved in groups such as this. While not only are they given the opportunity to perform and express themselves, it can also teach them a number of real-life skills. 

Amy explained: “Being part of a musical theatre company gives young people a community where they are able to take risks, find confidence, learn new skills, work as part of a team, experience a sense of achievement, and are able to truly be themselves. For many of our young people, LYMT is a safe space to be with other like-minded young people and escape the pressures of school, family and social media.” 

              Launceston Youth Music Theatre
(Submitted )

Despite the success of the group, it certainly didn’t come without the hard work of everyone involved. Amy explained that there is much more to running a theatre than one might first think.

“Reflecting on our first year, it has been a whirlwind and has required a huge amount of work,” Amy said. “From the initial processes such as applying for status as a Community Interest Company, setting up finances, safeguarding, data protection, risk assessments, marketing, rehearsal venues, branding and licensing, funding applications all the way through to planning our first show, scheduling, auditions, rehearsals, costumes, set, venue, technical team, chaperoning, marketing, volunteering, ticket sales, budgeting and accounting.  

“It's almost impossible to believe that we have only been running for a year.”  

All of that hard work came to fruition when the group took to the stage to perform their production of ‘Shrek the Musical’. The performance saw three sellout shows with 900 tickets sold, and audiences couldn’t help but provide rave reviews.  

Amy continued: “Without a doubt, our production of Shrek the Musical Jr at Launceston Town Hall was a huge achievement, only made possible by our fantastic team. Three sellout performances, and 900 tickets sold, firmly placing LYMT on the Launceston map, and giving our cast of 40 young people an experience they will hopefully never forget.”  

Launceston Youth Music Theatre
The group’s performance of Shrek the Musical earlier this year (Submitted)

Having started from humble beginnings, the group has now grown to great local acclaim, inspiring local youths to get involved and display their performative talents. As numbers grow, the group believes they could have the next Leonardo DiCaprio on their hands. 

“We now have 60 young people on a Saturday morning, with another 15 on the waiting list, and plans for the next 18 months are well underway,” said Amy. 

With so many members and a keen waiting list, Amy and the team are looking forward to what is coming next, and with both LYMT and audiences excitingly awaiting the group’s next production, Amy has reassured locals that there is plenty on its way.

“We are hoping to perform a Disney concert in the Christmas term, and then a smaller show featuring our 14 to 18 year olds in February 2025. Our full company show will be in July 2025, and this will be announced as soon as we have the licensing in place.”

Amy, alongside her directing partner Sarah Bradley and all other staff involved in the group have thanked locals for the support they have received in their first year.  

Amy said: “The reaction to LYMT has been nothing but positive. We feel extremely supported by the local community.”

Amy also gave a special thank you to one of the groups’ biggest advocates, the mayor of Launceston Helen Bailey.  

She continued: “We would particularly like to thank Helen Bailey, the mayor of Launceston, for all her support, and most importantly, the families of all our members, who have been so generous with their time and resources.”  

Find out more about LYMT, their upcoming work and how to get involved via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LauncestonYMT