Classworks Theatre was founded in 1983 by Artistic Directors, Jenny Culank and Claudette Bryanston. At just 30 pence per session, and a vision to engage young people (14+) in the performing arts, Classworks set up the first youth theatre in Cambridge, meeting weekly at the ADC Theatre. By charging only a small amount, our aim was to enable a wide range of young people from varied social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds to make the choice to explore the potential of the performing arts. Having become a registered charity we invited HRH Prince Edward (The Earl of Wessex), then a student at Jesus College, Cambridge to become our Patron and were delighted to become his first patronage.
Our Youth Theatre toured to Germany, Finland and Poland and visited the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for many years where in 1988 we won the first ever award given by The Independent for the Best Production at the Fringe. When it became clear that people, despite leaving their youth behind, were not leaving our theatre company, we created a community theatre as well …. and then went on to establish our professional touring arm. And now we are looking to the future with more ideas in mind … READ ON ….
PAST PRODUCTIONS & PROJECTS
Over the years, Classworks has engaged in numerous projects, as well as hosting multiple productions. We have highlighted just a few of these below.
THE HEART OF A DOG – First winners of The Independent award for the best production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Subsequent 2 week tour in London
GERMINAL – Adapted from the novel by Emile Zola. First site specific performance at the Pumping Station in Cambridge. Subsequently our first tour abroad to Poland.
HUMAN CANNON – A play by Edward Bond set during the Spanish Civil War
THE CHILDREN – Edward Bond susbsequently wrote this play for us to perform with students from Arbury Community College, Cambridge.
THE INSECT PLAY – An analogy about warring nations seen through the lives of insects. Promenade performance through a nature reserve (Youth Theatre performance 14+)
THE CV OF AURORA ORTIZ – Professional tour. Commissioned by Classworks – an adaptation by Craig Baxter of this Spanish novel, by writer Almudena Solana. Talk/discussion at Foyles Book Shop, London, with the writer during Spanish culture week.
KEEP THE HOME FIRES BURNING (A Living Exhibition) – A community production to commemorate the opening of the first convalescent hospital in Cambridge during WW1. Researched and improvised by the cast (aged 8 – 94).