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In light of the recent news of the closure of Scottish Youth Theatre I wanted to share both my story and my reasons for Scotland needing SYT to stay up and running.

I first joined Scottish Youth Theatre In 2013 as an anxious closeted queer kid. I felt alone and I didn’t know why. On my first day I can remember being overwhelmed by how friendly everyone was. Nobody cared who I was they just wanted to make me feel welcome. These people quickly became my friends and now they are more than that. They are family. At times when I felt hopeless my SYT family would provide it and I know without a doubt without SYT I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Scottish Youth Theatre was also home to many children with diagnosis of ASD, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Anxiety disorders, Eating Disorders and many other medical conditions that other drama groups would deny due to their more ‘compex’ needs. However, in my experience when SYT saw a challenge they ran towards it not away from it. The workers at SYT cared about every child.

SYT is more than just another drama club. It teaches children and young people team work, responsibility, resilience, motor skills, social skills and most of all it thought us that we are never alone and there is always time for a good game of whoosh. There is also a huge amount of ex syt participants who go on to be great actors/actresses who otherwise may not have got the experience and confidence they needed to peruse and closing it down would just deprive Scotland of some great people.  

My main reason for fighting this is because at 14 I was part of an syt production of Freckleface Strawberry. I had only had one session when I experienced external problems that meant that I couldn’t afford the fees for my place in the show which devistated me if I’m completely honest. Reminder, I am 14 and have no way to fund this myself. It was completely out of my control so I emailed them as I was too upset to cancel over the phone and I explained I had to quit the production and apologised. I was then surprised when they told me to come to the next session. They then helped me to apply for a scholarship from one of the donors of syt who helped to fund my place in the show and I went on to preform and I was the happiest I had ever felt. Hundreds of youth organisations see kids with financial difficulties every day and in my experience Scottish Youth Theatre has been the only one to ever give me the opportunity to prove I can overcome all obsticles. Even the things out of my control. They showed me to never call it a day without a fight. And that’s what I’m doing.

I am not an actor. I am a nursing student and even then I am able to identify skills that syt gave me that I can use in practice and everyday life. I believe closing down this organisation would deprive the community of something beautiful and knowing that my kids may never get to walk through those doors deeply saddens me.

So I ask that you, a complete stranger signs this to bring attention to the fact that syt is more than meets the eye and it deserves a place in our children and young people’s lives for years to come. 

 



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