Homeless theatre group is back - and lining up new city centre base

Members of Echo Youth Theatre, which is hunting for a new home. Picture: Echo Youth Theatre

Members of Echo Youth Theatre, which is hunting for a new home. Picture: Echo Youth Theatre - Credit: Echo Youth Theatre

A theatre group which nurtures the talents of young performers is on the brink of a comeback, more than a year after being forced from its home.

When Open Norwich closed it doors in spring 2020, it left the Echo Youth Theatre Group homeless, with the Bank Plain building providing the base for both performance and rehearsal purposes.

The closure left the group in search of a new location - a process Jo Myers, one of its directors, described as "frustrating".

But now, after linking up with the Maddermarket Theatre, the group is kicking off auditions for its next production, a dystopian adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, which will be performed at the theatre in October.

The Maddermarket Theatre is to reopen in November called Norwichs Community Theatre. Picture: Tony S

The Maddermarket Theatre is to reopen in November called Norwichs Community Theatre. Picture: Tony Scheuregger - Credit: Tony Scheuregger

And with the Maddermarket providing the group's performance space, the final piece of the jigsaw will be a permanent home for its rehearsals - which it is on the brink of securing.

It is understood the group is working alongside the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, a charity which restores and preserves former churches into new uses, to take on a disused city centre building as its new home.


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Mrs Myers said: "It has been a challenging year but now we really feel that things are starting back up again.

"We're delighted to be working alongside the Maddermarket, which itself has had a horrendous time.

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"It has been quite frustrating trying to find a new home - we've looked at so many different options but so far just haven't been able to nail anything down."

Mrs Myers said the group's hope was to be able to take on a vacant commercial building, which could then also be let out for other community groups to use.

She added: "We had such an amazing space at Open and it is so upsetting to see it still empty, but hopefully that may change."

Auditions for the Jungle Book will be held on Saturday, July 3 and are open to any child in full-time education between the ages of eight and 18. An information evening for the show will be held at the Maddermarket on Thursday, July 1, at 7pm.

Further information can be found at echoyouththeatre.co.uk

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