I first became aware of the Tricycle’s Young Company when taking part in the National Youth Theatre’s ‘Epic Stages’ course (a six-week training programme for 18- to 25-year-olds) last year. During one of the workshops about working in youth theatre, Mark Londesborough, Tricycle’s Head of Creative Learning, told us that “a lot of exciting things are happening at the Tricycle, so get involved” – and as soon as I heard the word “exciting”, that was it: I knew I had to be a part of the Tricycle!
Now, as part of the Young Company, I’m in The Kilburn Passion by Suhayla El-Bushra, working with other young actors and being directed by Emily Lim. Being a part of such a big cast can have its challenges – especially as everyone has such varied skills, approaches and schedules – but I have found that the cast and team on The Kilburn Passion are really considerate and supportive towards each other. I know it may sound cheesy, but I think this is because we have come together as a community of young artists who all have a shared passion for telling stories.
I think it’s great that the Tricycle has dedicated time, energy – and their main stage! – for young people to showcase their skills with Takeover Festival. Not only that, but collaborating with professional writer Suhayla El-Bushra (who was herself part of a previous youth theatre group at the Tricycle) and the team at the Tricycle has given us a platform, which I believe is not always accessible. It feels daunting to be a part of the ‘headline act’ for Takeover on the main stage, as we are partly representing the voice and youth of London today, but I feel so honoured to have this chance and can’t wait for the shows to begin. Mark was right when he said the youth work at the Tricycle was exciting!
One piece of advice that I would give to anyone who wants a career in theatre is to get involved in as many things as you can, because it’s through trying things out that you learn what type of theatre interests you. It makes me laugh because people frequently say to me that “you are always at the theatre”, but it’s because the theatre excites me so much that I just can’t leave.
Yolanda Mercy is an actress and playwright from London and part of the Tricycle Young Company. Photo by Richard Davenport.