On a wild night in 2004, far from civilization in a remote valley on Dartmoor, a group of creative teenagers were camping out with with their drama group run by MED Theatre.
They told stories round a camp fire and then rose at dawn to take part in a site-specific happening among the trees beside the River Dart. The result: Wild Nights Young Company was born – a youth theatre company for 13-19 year olds living in and around the Dartmoor area.
This may sound like a strange way for a youth theatre to operate, but that is exactly what makes MED Theatre unique: all of the performance work they create is completely original and is inspired by Dartmoor. Even the name of their young company is the product of an immersive Dartmoor experience.
Wild Nights Young Company is still going strong on its eighth birthday this year, having achieved an award from the Dartmoor National Park Authority for their inaugural project in 2006, and a Young Motion Plymouth award for best film in 2007, as well as developing three subsequent Heritage Lottery Fund Young Roots projects.
In the process the company has built strong partnerships with the Dartmoor National Park, the National Trust, Natural England and Dartmoor Prison Museum, having created multi-media performances at their properties and locations. They stay true to their origins by beginning most of their projects with a residential trip held at different locations in the national park.
In a past project one member of the young company said: “If I could do this project all over again tomorrow I would! It was unforgettable.”
The young company are also the creators of the event Dartfest, a Dartmoor festival of young people’s new playwriting: this annual event in Dartmoor’s diary provides teenagers with an opportunity to explore issues and themes which are important to them and a platform to showcase plays which they write, direct and perform.
Wild Nights Young Company are about to start preparing for Dartfest 2012 which will take place in November. This year Darfest is part of MED Theatre’s Catchment programme, which has been awarded a grant by Arts Council England.
The company is always open to new members, so if you are aged 13-19 and want to be part of their next project contact firstname.lastname@example.org. They meet every Tuesday evening in term time, 7pm-9pm, at the MED Theatre Studio in Moretonhampstead. This is a free opportunity.
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