Into The Woods & After Juliet


Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 20-Sat 21 Jul


It’s that time of year when, as the Festival looms, there’s a certain hiatus in the theatre. The big companies are busy preparing their showcase events, and all seems quiet. But on closer inspection, you might find some July entertainment that you hadn’t expected. Especially if you listen to Xana Maclean, the dynamic woman in her second year in charge of Lyceum Youth Theatre.

The much acclaimed company for people aged 11 to 21 is mounting its yearly jamboree for the stars of the future with two shows. Into the Woods Junior is a version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s dark musical incorporating fairytale characters, especially rewritten for youth companies. And After Juliet, Sharman McDonald’s play, is said to be based on an idea her actress daughter Keira Knightley had about the lives of the Montagues and Capulets after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

Maclean has a particular take on the Lyceum’s success with youth theatre, which is about the work. ‘The way I see LYT is that all of the benefits that young people get from youth theatre - things like public speaking and team building - are all there, and you’d get them from any good tutor in youth theatre,’ she explains. ‘Where I like to place a different emphasis, though, is that we’re intent on producing good quality drama as well. That’s where it’s not just about those benefits that young people get. The emphasis is on the show. I think that’s why we’ve got this reputation for theatre.’

(Steve Cramer)

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