Review: Dust and Dreamtime Derby Theatre

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The young talents of Derby Theatre Youth Theatre are not short on energy and enthusiasm that’s for sure.

This weekend they are staging a double bill of gritty drama that each explore the lives of young people and their struggle to find a voice.

The two plays feature cleverly choreographed dance and combat scenes, great use of sound effects and an abundance of highly charged acting from the young team.

They might be two very different pieces but director Emma Waslin, who works as the Creative Learning Associate at Derby Theatre, has linked them with subtle styling.

Dust, written by Sarah Daniels, tells the story of a school trip to the Globe Theatre which turns surreal when the students are evacuated from the Underground because of a terrorist attack.

Bullied Flavia stays on the train to escape her cruel peers and is blasted into Roman times where everyone, from centurions to gladiators and the warrior Queen Boudica, seems to echo the people from her own world. It is here that Flavia learns how to overcome the bullies and stand up for herself.

The youngest members of the youth theatre tackled this play and they should be proud of their achievements.

At one point there were so many moral themes being explored that it was difficult for me to hold on to all of the threads and the actors did well to carry the audience.

Dreamtime, by Stacey Sampson in conjunction with the Youth Theatre, is centred on a group of teenagers who meet in their cars in a car park to find comfort and consolation with each other.

Danny the hero of the piece is about to leave for university and is being forced to sell his beloved car; Cass his girlfriend is caring for her sick mother and Jamie is unsure of his sexuality. Their lives are all changed by the antics of an angry joy-riding girl.

The here and now is linked to an Aboriginal tale of warriors with a great use of costumes music and movement.

It is refreshing to see young people able to develop their skills in not just acting but also in teamwork and organisation. What a great confidence builder being part of this group must be.

The plays can be seen at 7.30pm tonight, Friday, and tomorrow, Saturday April 4. For tickets go to

The cast of Dust is Susie Bailey, Jemma Black, Adam Bloor, Daisy Chell, Dharum Dhadli, Daisy Drakeford, Charlotte Gatford-Ball, Isabelle Gatford-Ball, Joshua Gill, Tabitha Gresty, Tally Hewig, Jessica Kneale, Tom Monahan, Reid Oliphant, Luca Panetta, Daniel Pimperton, Ben Pimperton, Holly Pridmore, Lucy Proctor-Lamb, Callum Reilly, Lewis Sewell, Jamie Snell, Daniel Stimson and Faith Wright.

The cast of Dreamtime is Niamh Atkinson, Mitchell Baker, Sophie Bloor, Adele Bond, Jack Dranfield, Daya Dhadli, Lucy Evans, Dominic Gibbs, Amy Kelly, Lucy Mabbitt, Nikita Mediratta, Maddie Newbury, Brogan Piggott, Rebecca Pipes, Joseph Rainbow, Mia Schroder, Ellie Smith, Anand Talwar, Sophie Whitebrook and Chloe Wragg.

The crew is director Emma Waslin; assistant directors Maddie Newbury, Brogan Piggott, Jack Dranfield, Daisy Chell and Luca Pancetta; designer Bryony McCombie-Smith; sound Drew Baumohl; lighting Hallam Knight; youth theatre assistants John Dawson and Lauren Hart; company stage manager Leann Dawkes; deputy stage manager Anthony Fearnley; dramaturg Richard Hurford; devising collaborator Stacey Sampson; costumes Tim Heywood and chaperone Sharon Lambert.