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The Top Reasons To Visit Half Moon Young People’s Theatre
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The Top Reasons To Visit Half Moon Young People’s Theatre

Picture of Talim Arab
Updated: 9 February 2017
Few cities in the world can boast of maintaining theatres dedicated to young people. But London’s Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, located in Limehouse, East London, is a theatre like no other. Shows are aimed at young audiences ranging from toddlers to teenagers, and a unique feature of the theatre is its commitment to community work, exceptional educational programs, and a non-audition youth theatre group. It’s inspiring a young generation of artists, theatre-goers, and here are six reasons why.
Theatre For Young People
Courtesy of Half Moon Theatre

It’s Show Time!

No matter the age, children and young adults are entertained and captivated by a stunning variety of shows staged at Half Moon. An intimate black-box theatre hosts many original performances, including whimsical puppetry, musicals, and thought-provoking contemporary drama tackling current affairs and issues affecting youth such as migration, bullying and friendship. Performances for ages three and up dazzle with bright sets and clever plots, with a running time between 35 to 60 minutes – the perfect length to enthral the littlest of theatre patrons.

Half Moon On The Move
Courtesy of Half Moon Theatre

Half Moon On The Move

Live outside of London? Not a problem. Half Moon has an extensive list of touring programs that see young people across the country access theatre. From Liverpool to Kent, Half Moon tours most, if not all, of their productions for all ages, so young people and families who can’t commute to the capital can be enriched and kept up-to-date by all the shows Half Moon has to offer. Past shows include Mermaid and the Mirror, Plum and Pickle, and the beautifully written and staged production about the extraordinary discipline of free running, Free.

Careers In Theatre
Courtesy of Half Moon Theatre

Careers In Theatre

The stand out feature of the Half Moon is perhaps the Careers In Theatre program. Every year, the company invites schools from across East London to spend a day at the theatre to be an industry professional. Pupils can choose from the following areas: acting, sound, stage design, lighting and stage management. Half Moon challenges young people to create a production in a day from conception to performance. Guided by talented workshop facilitators, pupils receive hands-on experience in acting, operating lighting equipment, creating original music, creating and constructing a full set, and discovering the managerial and administrative side of theatre. This unique day provides pupils with the opportunity to discover how different skills and departments come together to produce live theatre. It is also a testament to the Half Moon’s dedication towards creating inclusivity in the arts for young people by allowing them to develop and stage their own performances.

Continuing Professional Development for Teachers

The Half Moon also offers teachers the chance to refresh and refine their skills as educators and industry professionals. They offer a multitude of skill-based workshops ranging from vocal techniques to drama and dance for early years. The sessions are based at the theatre and provide teachers with an abundance of techniques and fresh ideas to help them deliver inspiring lessons for pupils of all ages. The theatre also hosts the Tower Hamlets Secondary Drama Forum, where teachers across the borough can share good practice and implement drama in the core curriculum.

Inside Half Moon
Courtesy of Half Moon Theatre

The New Half Moon

In 2014, Half Moon completed its refurbishment and transformed a Victorian building, once the Limehouse Board of works in 1864, into a sleek, contemporary theatre space. The theatre has wheelchair accessibility at street level and the open plan design allows maximum light to illuminate the foyer creating a warm and bright reception area. The theatre and foyer are located on one level, which means there are no tricky stairs to negotiate for toddlers and parents bringing groups of children. But it wouldn’t be a children’s theatre without something playful. Part of the walls are mounted with chalkboards, and young people are welcome to a piece of chalk to draw smiley faces or names encircled by hearts.

There are plenty of seats for parents, and many books to keep children occupied before a show. As a testament to ingenuity, Half Moon uses the foyer as a multi-purpose space, creating the Gallery at Half Moon. Local artists from the community can exhibit their works that are appropriate for children and young people. The gallery displays everything from professional artwork and photography to children’s art from local schools and have exhibitions that occur throughout the year. It goes to show that theatres and galleries needn’t be stuffy and awkward places for children, but spaces that can enchant and challenge the minds of young people.

The New Interior
Courtesy of Half Moon Theatre

Half Moon and the Community

If stuck for something to do, The Half Moon provides the perfect space in which to stir the imaginations of children and teenagers. With continual collaboration with theatre practitioners, writers, artists across the world, parents, and local schools, each year the theatre produces some of the finest shows for young audiences in London. There is also provision for educational performances, such as Road Safety projects and holiday projects where pupils can spend the summer holidays learning all about theatre and creating their own show.

The theatre’s capacity to reach young people goes far beyond the borough of Tower Hamlets, as well. Dramaworks is a 2015 project designed to use drama, dance and storytelling for children attending the Richard House Children’s Hospice. An established theatre in its own right, the Half Moon stages engaging performances, but has a deeply rooted connection to the community as well. It’s a theatre, packed with entertainment that delivers no end of amusement and inspiration, where shows are written and performed exclusively for young people, yet a theatre where children can bring their parents, too.

Historic Half Moon
Courtesy of Half Moon Theatre

Half Moon Theatre, 43 White Horse Rd, London, UK, +44 20 7265 8138