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Shetland Youth Theatre’s 2016 production was ‘Gargantua’, written by Carl Grosse, was presented as part of ‘Connections’, Britain’s largest youth theatre festival. The play is a homage to 1950’s B Movies. What it lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in noise! The world trembles with fear as Hugh Mungus, a 220 foot tall baby, wreaks havoc in revenge for the cruelty inflicted by the sinister Janus Technologies.

The 20 strong company of young actors attended 27 rehearsals over 10 weeks to pull the show together, which featured music created by Shetland College NC & HNC Music students based at Mareel, and pre-recorded music videos by the Vocational Pathways Video Production students. Another aspect key to the performance was the live video work helmed by Maddrim Media, with production management and vision mixing by Shetland Arts’ Technical Theatre Creative Apprentice.

“Gargantua was such a fun performance. Usually the projects we film are fixed and blocked out entirely but Gargantua was much bigger considering we had to film around 20 or so other actors. We were constantly on our toes and learning new things. Filming live acting was a big challenge and one that was really rewarding.” - Logan Nicolson, Maddrim Media

“Leading on the Technical Production was a great experience for me, particularly because it was the first big production I’ve been in charge of. I learned a lot about sound, lighting and video and the trip to Inverness to see the facilities at Eden Court was amazing.” - Liam Brannan, Shetland Arts Technical Apprentice

“Composing and recording music for a theatre production was a new experience for me. It was certainly a challenge, but a very rewarding one. A real-world project to test the practical skills we've learned at college” - Neil Adams, HNC Music student

This epic was presented in the main auditorium at Mareel on Friday 11th & Saturday 12th March 2016. Both performances were well attended and were received with great acclaim by the audience:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, it was produced so professionally. Some amazing ideas and methods to get the giant baby as a giant stage presence! Fantastic. Thank you for teaching and inspiring those kids.”

The SYT members then travelled to Inverness to perform their production of ‘Gargantua’ at the Highlands and Islands Connections Festival.

Connections began 21 years ago, and this is the 12th time Shetland Youth Theatre has participated. The festival was formed to give young people opportunity to experience professional theatre-making, and to allow them access to the very best of new writing for theatre.

Eden Court Theatre hosted the festival for the Highlands and Islands with nine companies contributing a four day celebration of drama. Shetland Youth Theatre had the largest cast of all the theatre companies present, and probably the largest age range. However, the young cast upheld Shetland Youth Theatre’s reputation of being one of the most progressive, experimental and talented youth theatre groups in the country and received a standing ovation for the show.

“I really enjoyed it and gained lots of experience, I really enjoyed socialising with other performers and getting feedback on the show.” SYT participant

Throughout the festival participants also attended workshops to develop theatrical practice, and made many personal and professional connections. However, Gargantua director John Haswell remarked that what was most striking was “the tremendous sense of fun and celebration.”

“I would just like to say thank you to you for making this event happen. (My daughter) had a wonderful time in Inverness, and her enthusiasm for everything she took part in during the trip is very evident.”

“...it was absolutely incredible and I had so much fun there meeting everyone and talking about the performances, it was just amazing.”

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