TALENTED TEENAGERS: Members of Turrets Youth Theatre before the pandemic
TALENTED TEENAGERS: Members of Turrets Youth Theatre before the pandemic

A TEESDALE youth theatre group is working to battle the impact of isolation and anxiety on teenagers’ mental health – and providing a space to express what the lockdown is like for them.
The Coronavirus Time Capsule is a week-by-week project created by London-based youth theatre Company Three and made available to groups of young people across the world. They create new videos every week responding to different topics linked to the lockdown.
Turrets Youth Theatre, based in Barnard Castle, are publishing videos every week, exploring topics such as home life, school, exercise and friendship. Each video is a window into the world of the participants in the project, showing them at home, with their families and in their rooms. By the end of the lockdown, the group will have created a cumulative time capsule for anyone to watch – and for themselves to look back on and remember this time. The Coronavirus Time Capsule is available for free to youth theatres, educational institutions, student drama groups, amateur companies and community arts projects everywhere. It includes a 20 page blueprint, online working resources and other materials. Groups can start when they want.
Turrets leader Rupert Philbrick said: “When news of the lockdown was first announced, we were lucky enough to have one workshop remaining with Turrets before it was enforced. Talking with the young people, all of them were clear that they wanted to try to find a way for the group to continue meeting and creating work together, but what that looked like and how it was to be delivered was a complete unknown.
“I saw this as an amazing opportunity. Not only has it provided a lifeline to the young people we work with in Teesdale, but the project is providing professional insight into the methodologies of some of the leading professional youth theatre companies across the globe.”
Turrets member Amelia, 12, said: “It’s kept us busy during lockdown. It’s always been something I can go back to if I’m sick of my school work, or I don’t feel like playing a game for the 50th time this week.
“It lets people know in the future what this was like, and it’s digital – so it means we still have a chance to see each other like in our normal weekly sessions.”
The artistic director of Company Three, Ned Glasier, said: “We know that the shutdown is particularly difficult for teenagers, living with all that the pandemic has brought and missing out on key rites of passage in their education and emotional development. So we wanted to provide something to provide support, connection and a space to be heard.”
Turrets Youth Theatre’s Coronavirus Time Capsule is available at https://www.facebook.com/turretsyouththeatre/