La Inestable 21 Theatre Company was set up by the Drama School in 2001 and La Petiestable Theatre Company in 2009 as a pre-professional, educational project. During these years it has enabled teenagers and children from the city to enjoy an experience which has taken them to the length and breadth of our country to theatres, festivals and competitions, whislt performing the shows at a high artistic level.
Broadly speaking, the projects are within an educational and professional framework whose objective is to provide the teenagers and children with the experience of forming part of a “professional” theatre company. Being a member of the companies means participating in the creative process, creating a theatre production and going on a tour with that show during that school year around Spain.
The audience’s reaction on seeing and hearing “small yet great” actors and actresses is at first one of surprise and at then end of the show one of appreciation. Both companies demonstrate that it is possible to give an actual voice to our youth, seeing they are the future. Being used to receiving culture of all forms, they here become undoubtable protagonists, taking an active social role in society.
Given that the project has won more than 60 awards and recognition nationwide, that 40 % of those who have participated in it during the last 15 years have gone on to do drama in higher education and 27% have become professional actors, shows that it has been well worth doing.
A balance between teaching and the artistic outcome
Achieving a balance between teaching and the learning process, plus a high-quality artistic outcome is key to the project. One without the other would make the good results obtained throughout the years impossible.
One of our contributions to the work with under-18s is the creation process of the dramaturgy. Currently, almost all theatre scripts are written by adults, even those which talk about and deal with topics to do with youngsters. To this, one must add the difficulty under-18s have to make words written by someone else their own. We work on the basis of creation via improvisation and work on open-ended problems which come up throughout the process. There is no script that has been agreed upon previously for the youngsters to learn, but rather the dialogues and monologues come together and take shape in a far more natural way. The result is a much more natural and believable performance. They become playwrights and theatremakers.
Whilst the youngsters are involved in carrying out this process, an artistic and technical production team take charge of all the other necessary aspects regarding staging and the subsequent tour.
Empowering young children and teenagers
The main purpose of the shows done by La Inestable 21 and La Petiestable 12 is the view teenagers and young children have of the things that surround them. By saying that, we do not mean we only present shows dealing with their everyday life and their daily problems, but that we can consider their view of a global problem, a new look at a classic, or take a closer look at more universal questions affecting human beings.
La Inestable 21 has done, amongst others, a new look at Shakespeare’s Hamlet and at Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry right when the war in Iraq was going on (2003), a play about a young girl in a coma, or a new look at biblical stories. La Petiestable 12 has done a story about fear or a new look at Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare.
Creation of a new cultural audience
The shows done by the two companies are aimed at an audience of all ages, but they especially connect with young people. We all know how difficult it is to get young people between the ages of 13 and 21 to go to live cultural events like theatre, dance and music. The strength of La Inestable 21 and Petiestable 12 lies in the fact that they create a product that empathises in a direct way with people of that age group ensuring that the youngsters who come to see one of the shows want to come back to a theatre.
Furthermore, we give them models of people of the same age so that they can see what they are capable of doing, as they feel identified with them. Associating a cultural activity with a positive memory experienced first-hand, is the best way to make youngsters want to have that experience again.