Barrow-in-Furness hosts the For / With / By Festival of European Youth Theatre 24 – 28 July

An ambitious and imaginative line-up of plays, screenings, and workshops for a theatre festival celebrating European Youth Theatre this summer is now on sale.

The For / With / By Festival of European Youth Theatre will be hosted this year in Barrow-in-Furness, following two years of huge success in Birmingham.

People from Barrow and across the region are invited to enjoy the programme, which features ten theatrical productions, nine workshops and two family shows, and promises thought-provoking and unique experiences for all involved.

“We’re so pleased to be able to bring this successful festival to Barrow,” says Dr Daniel Tyler-McTighe, Creative Director, BarrowFull. “After the Festival’s first two outings in Birmingham, and with plans to be hosted in Spain in 2024, I’m delighted that Barrow-in-Furness are hosting this year. It’s important to me and to BarrowFull that we help to put Barrow on the map nationally and internationally, and bringing great theatre from overseas and across the country for local people to experience while showcasing our home-grown talent is one of the ways this can happen!”

Barrow’s local youth theatre participants will rub shoulders with young people from theatre companies from across England and the wider continent in what will be a captivating and rare chance for public audiences and participants of all ages to experience high quality international theatrical collaboration in the area.

The extensive programme includes a performance of the WWII drama Prague 1941, from Madrid’s flagship young company: La Joven Compañía. This promises a view of the Holocaust from a child’s point of view, and tells the tale of Petr, who lived in Prague during the time the Nazis occupied the city and wrote in his diary about the horrors he witnessed on a daily basis.

Barrow’s own Theatre Factory open the Festival with a double bill: The Spaces In Between and Voices of Generation Zed. The Spaces in Between juxtaposes who we are, and who others see, and Voices of Generation Zed explores honesty, anxiety, transparency, non-binary, gender fluidity, body positivity, neuro diversity, and climate responsibility. “These 12 micro plays are ‘woke’ and proud of it, says Rachel Ashton, Artistic Director, Theatre Factory. “They present a view of the world which prioritizes communication, listening, inclusivity, empathy, kindness and friendship.”

Among the performances and workshops for primary school-aged children is Strays; a captivating journey into the imagination specifically designed for young people, brought to the UK from Greek Theatre Company Hippo Theatre. This funny, compassionate and charming contemporary fairy story follows a stray dog and a stray cat in a hostile city environment.

Sweden’s Uppsala City Theatre screen TIME, a theatre piece exploring the ebb and flow of time, and why it sometimes runs at different speeds, and audiences can participate in a live murder mystery from Hull Truck Theatre, where the suspects are interviewed and a vote is held to guess the culprit. Buxton Opera House Young Company perform John Rettalick’s engrossing Risk, which asks why some young people can be drawn to danger through dangerous activities and crime, and Birmingham Young Rep premiere Blackout, which imagines the world in a technological blackout.

Open Theatre, who specialise in working with Learning Disabled, Autistic and neurodiverse young people, will be delivering a special fun, non-verbal physical theatre workshop for all including parents and carers and everyone can join in the action with Open Theatre’s Fee Fi Fo Fum, which explores Jack and the Beanstalk through play.

Members of the public of all ages can book onto a programme of workshops including playwriting, casting, design, acting, devising and producing theatre. These workshops will be led by experts from Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Hull Truck, Lyric Hammersmith plus the visiting companies from Sweden, Greece and Spain and will help unlock the secrets of the professional theatre industry for people keen to get a foot in the door.

“We’re delighted to welcome these internationally renowned young theatre groups to Barrow, showing what our own town can produce and raising aspirations and awareness of careers in the arts”, says BarrowFull Producer, Natalie Bowers.

The festival’s base will be at The Forum and the full programme can be viewed on the BarrowFull website


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