My daughter is in her second year of school, sadly, one activity lacking in Czech schools seems to be drama. Fantastic for free thought, expression and creativity - it’s a great skill to carry you through life and as Lucie is full of drama and loves to dance, I decided to enrol her with Prague Youth Theatre. I’m happy to say that she loves it, it’s given her confidence and spurred on her reading and language skills in English. A big win-win for us!
Last year Lucie was enthralled watching a friend’s 12 year old son performing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in a real theatre. The performance was staged by the Riverside School at Divadlo Na Pradle and was a joy to watch. It got me thinking back to my own childhood and how we created plays at school and performed them for our parents. I realised that this wasn’t happening at Lucie’s school and that a dramatic outlet would suit her personality very well.
Over the Summer I got in touch with Prague Youth Theatre and signed Lucie up for their Autumn semester. She was old enough to join their Junior team (ages 7 to 11). Classes began in September and they run through till Dec 14 with a new Winter Semester beginning in January. It is a commitment. The junior class starts at 9am every Saturday and students are encouraged to attend every week as they work at delivering a professional theatre performance at the end of the semester.
Adam, the Founder and Artistic Director of PYT is a professional theatre and film actor from the UK. He also has a BA in Education and Acting and was the head of Drama at the English International School, Prague. The kids respond really well to him despite their free spirit personalities and mixed international backgrounds. It’s a balancing role as discipline in the group is necessary to learn lines and cues but creative expression is also required - it’s a challenging job keeping the group focused and aware.
PYT has also assembled a team of professional entertainers, actors and dancers to run some of the courses and share their talents with the kids. Many of you would be familiar with Vanessa, Jay or Nadima - all well known teachers and performers working in Prague’s international community.
Back to PYT Juniors, theatre games are played at the beginning and end of session. Several games were introduced on the first day, it was a brilliant way to start the session when kids are nervous and don’t know each other very well. Within minutes there were giggles, smiles, boisterous gymnastics - all good fun! Classes for the Juniors and Senior theatre groups are held at Divadlo Na Pradle, of Prague’s well-known theatres so kids get a realistic experience - up on stage and under lights from day one.
PYT also have special workshop sessions - this semester the Juniors had a session of puppet making and performing with puppet maestro Tomáš Běhal from Toy Machine Theatre and the Seniors enjoyed a Stage Fighting session with actor and martial arts specialist Kendrick Ong. Now it’s down to the serious business of learning lines and staging the play, sorting costumes and rehearsing over and over again. Surprisingly, Lucie’s enthusiasm has not waned, she loves her Saturday class.
PYT has expanded over the last couple of years. Semesters are broken up into Autumn, Winter and Spring with Summer Camps offered over July/August.
For younger children aged 4 to 6 years they have Prague Youth Theatre Tots for those interested in acting, Prague Youth Theatre Dance and beginning January they will start Prague Youth Theatre Music. All classes are held at Amadito & Friends Bookstore in Prague 5 (close to Andel).
Mid-range kids aged 7 to 11 years can join Prague Youth Theatre Juniors and Prague Youth Theatre Dance. The Juniors meet at Divadlo Na Pradle near Kampa Island, Mala Strana and dance lessons take place at Dance Lab in Vinohrady.
Older kids aged 11 to 17 years can join Prague Youth Theatre Seniors who also meet each week at Divadlo Na Pradle.
If you are curious or have kids who would like to come and watch the end of year performances by PYT students then tickets are for sale to the public and available online through Ticket Stream. Enrolments are now open for the Winter Semester starting in mid January, see PYT website for further details.
ADDRESS: Divadlo Na Pradle, Besední 3, Prague 1
FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.pyt.cz