INTERVIEW: Young Company | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Wambui Hardcastle (far left) with members of Young Company in Where Do We Belong by Pamela Raith Photography

The actors and writers of Northern Stage’s Young Company are unafraid to confront the big questions; their shows Where Do We Stand? and Where Do We Belong? have offered audiences the chance to hear the kaleidoscopic views of the 16-21 year olds that make up the ensemble. They’re currently preparing for their new show Where Do We Go Now?, which it’s hoped will get an airing in the near future.

Wambui Hardcastle is a young freelance theatre maker from Newcastle, inspired to get involved with Young Company after witnessing the passion and creativity of the company “It was during my Summer Holidays in 2017. I was scrolling aimlessly and It popped up on my feed. I remember having an almost visceral reaction of knowing that I needed to be part of that group of people. They all looked like they were having the time of their lives while also making super cool work.”

She cites the adrenalin kick she gets from performing as one of the key reasons for joining the group, but a sense of community is also important.The artists I’m a lucky enough to be surrounded by are there because they care. Because they believe in work and what it’s trying to say. Being able to work with people who simultaneously can inspire you in new exciting ways every day will keep you forever magnetised to an art form.”

Wambui explains that Young Company’s productions interrogate the world around us by looking through the eyes of people that live in it. “Sometimes the only way you can explain and raise big ideas and themes is by making them small and bringing them close to home. Where Do We Go Now? is about laughter. And it’s about new world orders – and the possibilities for them to exist.  And it’s about change and love and pain – how it resides in us all differently. It’s also about the climate. And capitalism. And dancing! But ultimately the show is about us. Us the human race as a whole, and us, the young people occupying Stage 2 at Northern Stage.”

Wambui is vehement in her opinion that the region’s youth aren’t heard enough in a theatrical setting. “Having ‘Youth’ or ‘Young’ in the name is simply a factual description of the people making it – it doesn’t make their thoughts and beliefs any less relevant or worthwhile. Young Company can’t – nor should we – be the only mouthpiece to represent every young person. There is most definitely more to be done here.”

While Wambui is less than optimistic about the amount of paid opportunities available to young people in the arts, she’s also grateful for initiatives like Young Company to enable her to learn her craft. “If I can ensure that I am going to be able to make epic, challenging art that matters with people that properly care, then I have found my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

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