Students collaborate with Salford youth theatre group for Shrek musical

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Dozens of University of Salford students are hard at work pulling together the costumes, props and set design for an upcoming youth theatre production of Shrek the Musical Junior at our New Adelphi Theatre.

Around 70 costumes and an exciting set design are being worked on by students on our BA Costume Design and BA Film, Television and Stage Design course in a unique collaboration between the University and the Salford-based Urban Stage School of Performing Arts.

The performing arts school, which runs youth theatres for young people aged five to 18, are bringing their senior youth theatre students, aged 11 to 18, to our New Adelphi stage on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 April.

Helen Kay, co-principal of Urban Stage, said: “We are so impressed with the designs that have come through from the University students. Some of the set designs we’ve seen have equalled examples from professional theatre and it has been very difficult to choose. We want to try and use elements from all the designs we’ve seen.

“Its so exciting for us to be working with both the University and with our current youth performers on this project. It feels very liberating as we seek to help all find their future in this creative sector.

“We also wanted to show our students that there is a University on their doorstep with a professional theatre where they can continue their training. It’s all about giving them access to the opportunities within the city of Salford to continue their training and experience of theatre.”

The Performing Arts School has had a long-term relationship with the University and has previously performed productions in the University’s Robert Powell Theatre but this is their first University department collaboration.

Whilst the musical takes inspiration from the hit film Shrek and its Broadway version, the Urban Stage will be performing the Broadway Junior script courtesy of Music Theatre International. Students were given ‘carte blanche’ to deliver their own vision for what the characters, costumes and sets should look like.

In total, 40 students from our two undergraduate programmes are working on the project which is giving them a unique opportunity to work alongside industry professionals and young people from diverse backgrounds to gain valuable experience and enhance their skillset.

Caroline Devonport, Lecturer in BA Costume Design, said: “This collaboration is an excellent example of how partnerships can provide meaningful opportunities for learning, community engagement and industry partnerships, benefiting all involved and resulting in a successful production of Shrek.”

The production is also making use of former lab coats from our School of Science, Engineering and Environment that are no longer in use with our students now deconstructing and sewing the coat material into new costumes in a sustainable way to use garments that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill.

On the musical itself, Helen added: “This is a feelgood story that the students have purposely chosen to do themselves. It’s all about being authentic and finding your true self which is a message that is resonating with young people a lot at the moment.”

Tickets for the performances are available now, taking place at 6.30pm on April 10 and at 3pm and 6.30pm on April 11.

The banner image is from Shrek (2001) and is owned and provided for use by DreamWorks Animation LLC.

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