Review: Livewire celebrate a community spirit

Lifestyle / Fri 13th Oct 2017 at 12:28pm


Livewire: Our Town, Our Future – a review

Harlow Playhouse: Thursday October 12th.

By Ian Beckett

FOR an hour and a half on Thursday 12th October, Livewire community youth theatre “owned” the Playhouse. At times it felt like they owned Harlow itself and in some respects, in part, creatively, I guess they do. The young people, between 13 and 25 years old, that took over the stage and filled the main auditorium, demonstrated a clear understanding of the social visionaries that laid the foundations of our town with the arts at it’s heart, the increasing threat from land-grabbing philistines whatever shape they might be – circle, triangle or very, very square, and the bleak future that lies in wait if our inability to turn back time is not met with a conscious effort to preserve what we’ve got and develop the cultural seeds that are being planted and nurtured at places like Harlow Community Farm.

Harlow Community Farm featured strongly in this exciting piece of musical theatre, with coordinator Elliot Woollen in the audience, immortalised onstage and with a young member of the audience crying out at one point “I’m Elliot too” – I just about resisted the temptation to yell “I’m Elliot and so’s my wife!”

It would be wrong to single out individual performers because this was very much an ensemble piece. Although, there were one or two individuals who really shone through, the overall effect was dazzling and Creative Director Sam Ashford should feel very satisfied with his work and with the achievements of this talented group of Harlow’s young people.

A special mention should go to the accomplished musicians and singers who because of the frenetic activity onstage spent much of the time hidden from view, but at no point were you unaware of their presence and the enormity of their skills and talents.

Livewire had Harlow Playhouse buzzing and full of young people and their supporters and families with “Our Town, Our Future”. It reminded me of the theatre I began my public engagement life in doing some very Artful Dodging forty odd years ago. It reminded me that our cultural heritage is not just about buildings, it’s not just about individuals, it’s not about one organisation with the resources and others achieving something magical with little or none. It’s about making the best use of all of those things.

It’s about pop-up theatre and open-mic-nights, it’s about performing in the heart of our neighbourhood shopping centres, town centre and town park, it’s about making the best use of our existing venues and opening them up to new audiences through things like the Playhouse’s “pay what you can” performances.

There are no aspects of our lives that don’t come with threats as well as opportunities. The challenge is how we minimise the former and maximise the latter. Livewire are very clearly up for that challenge and demonstrated it through every minute of their “tale of community spirit and what might be…”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No Comments for Review: Livewire celebrate a community spirit:

Leave a Comment Below:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *