March 21, 2022 Rhiannon Ingle

Q&A: The Tempest

Hello and welcome to this Q&A series where we ask the weirdest, wildest and most wonderful questions to the brilliant people behind some of the fabulous shows going on here at The Edge.

In this edition, we’ve got in touch with the Manchester Active Youth Theatre all about their latest production coming to The Edge this week, The Tempest.

A story of revenge, power and magic full of incredible music and movement – this is sure to be an exciting modern take on Shakespeare’s final play.  

So, first things first, tell us a little bit about the Manchester Active Youth Theatre…

Manchester Active Youth Theatre is a youth-run, youth-led theatre company which strives to give the young people of Manchester the opportunity to have their voices heard through the medium and have fun doing it. We aim to tackle plays and themes that have relevance to what we, as young people, face day to day. 

MAYT launched in 2019 with our debut production of Teechers by John Godber and we have since created pieces of work such as The Lockdown Collective, which focussed on the hardships of experiencing the pandemic through various young people’s eyes, as well as other digital projects before we were able to return to live performance. 

The Tempest will be our second show performing at The Edge after FARM (our take on George Orwell’s Animal Farm) ran in September. We are so excited to return to The Edge’s stage! 

What was it like adapting a centuries-old play through a modern lens?

At first, the process was extremely tricky. At MAYT, we always strive to push ourselves into territories we haven’t particularly explored yet and Shakespeare seemed like a great opportunity to see what we are able to bring to such an old text.

Our biggest breakthrough in the way of adapting this play was realising that rules can be broken. We still have the Shakespearean language and the beautiful poetry, but we have really tried to break down traditional Shakespearean theatre conventions and just have fun experimenting and deciding what we wanted to play with. 

Why is The Tempest, and Shakespeare in general, still so relevant today?

There is a reason that Shakespeare is still performed today. The language and storytelling elements are beautiful and the themes tackled throughout his work are still potently relevant today. 

Take The Tempest, for example, the play is all about the abuse of power and how that can corrupt a person’s worldview, it is a play about the importance of compassion and willingness to listen. It also achieves all of this through the lens of a very funny script – what else could you ask for?

How have you found exploring the relationship between music and movement in the play?

Music and movement, to me, have always been such important factors of theatre, there are some things we are simply not able to express through words alone and allow us avenues to be much more creative in the theatre-making process. 

If you saw FARM, you will know just how big of a part music and movement played in the show and The Tempest is no different. The use of these devices have not only allowed us to create some very visually beautiful moments but have also allowed us even more of an opportunity to bring our own unique spin on Shakespearean theatre.  

What’s been the best moment (or moments) you’ve had as a collective so far?

Partnering with The Edge has been an incredible opportunity for us at MAYT. Having the support and complete trust of such an incredible venue has given us a real push to trust in ourselves as young creatives and put our all into our productions. 

Another incredible moment for us has been seeing the increasing interest of young people in what we are doing. Knowing that the youth of Manchester is seeing our work, coming to the theatre and wanting to get involved is overwhelmingly validating. We cannot wait to grow as a company and allow as many young creatives to express their artistry in new, exciting ways! 

So, if you’re in the mood for some classic Shakespeare brought into the 21st century with Manchester Active Youth Theatre, this show definitely promises to be much more than your typical Shakespeare production…

The Tempest will be on at The Edge Thursday 24th – Sunday 26th March 2022 at 7:30 pm with a cheeky matinee viewing at 2 pm on the Saturday!

“By accident. Most strange, bountiful fortune hath mine enemies brought to this shore.” 


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