Looking great for 60, the Royal Court celebrates its milestone with an array of outward looking projects. Lynne Gagliano, Head of Young Court, sure knows how to throw a party. Heading up the Royal Court’s inclusive programme of activities for young people up to 21 years, Lynne cheers the Young Court projects which aim to make new theatre, offering active, direct experiences alongside the on-stage work.
“It’s all about unique learning exchanges across all departments, placing young people at our centre, fostering a live dialogue in which their views and ideas are valued and encouraging young people to discover their power to influence and change theatre.”
No party planner is without their badge of experience, and youth isn’t wasted on the young. She talks about her career and how she herself became involved with theatre at an early age. “I volunteered. My first volunteer job was at a venue I loved, the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill. It was a fantastic experience. I learned a huge amount in my time there and met people that I’m still working with today.”
Lynne trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and, before that, taught Drama and English. How transferable are those skills in her current role? She explains, “The ability to collaborate successfully has helped me enormously in every theatre job I’ve had since leaving Central. Having worked as an English and Drama teacher has also helped me in countless ways in running an education department.”
With collaboration in mind, it’s clear the Court is really going all out to make this celebration as inclusive and open an opportunity as possible. “Being representative, and diversifying talent are core aims. We are driven by the aspiration for the Royal Court to be a proven place of opportunity for all with diverse and brilliant plays on stage and inclusive participation.” She goes on to add, “We actively seek, mentor, nurture and place writers and artists from the widest possible pool of talent and ensure that their work reaches audiences across London, nationally and internationally.”
She urges participants to let the Royal Court hear about their plans, “I think young playwrights need to try to do everything they can to let theatres know about their work. The new writing scene is incredibly robust and vibrant.”
One of the jewels in the Royal Court’s birthday crown is titled Open Court Festival. “This summer young people will be handed the keys to the Royal Court. The reins of each department are being handed over to the future of theatre. Our Youth Board and ten fantastic young writers will imagine, curate and produce a summer festival of new work. For three weeks in July, audiences can partake in thrilling, exciting events, performances, talks and projects.” Young people are not only invited to the party, but asked to shape the future years of the Royal Court, an iconic hot-bed of contemporary drama.