The Family Storytime Company is part of our Pathways programme - a commitment to stretch young people’s theatre making skills, experiences and ambitions.
The company features four young theatre makers aged 18 - 25. Over the year, they will create five engaging pieces of theatre for an early year's audience. Each of the pieces will be inspired by drawing out the science concepts in well known tales, working in partnership with Edinburgh International Science Festival. In addition, company members will have the opportunity to learn more about the basics of touring work and also undertake a personal study of an artist or company who specialise in work for children.
Each of the performers/devisers receives a training bursary and will work with an experienced early years theatre director to develop their craft.
For more information on our Family Storytime performances click here.
Get to know our 2018 company members below....
Name: Daniel Orejon.
Background: I am an Edinburgh-based theatre maker and acting graduate from Edinburgh Napier University. I'm currently working with Edinburgh's Annexe Repertory Theatre Company on their inaugural showcase festival and I am also part of Scottish Youth Theatre National Ensemble 2018. My recent theatre credits include Aufidius in the EUTC’s production of Coriolanus, Trinculo in Some Kind of Theatre’s The Steampunk Tempest, and Otho in Aulos Productions’ award-nominated Women of the Mourning Fields, as well as Aulos’ award-winning Gobland for the Goblins! and producing their debut show First Class.
My hobbies include tinkering with Shakespearean texts, playing the ukulele (badly), and pretending not to be Spanish.
Why did you join? I have been wanting to work with young audiences for quite some time, and now that I have graduated I finally have the time to pursue this passion. As well as working with Scottish Youth Theatre as part of their Family Storytime season I am also involved in Strange Town's after school drama classes, helping children discover the wonders of acting and theatre.
Favourite childhood tale/book. With the risk of sounding unoriginal, I have to choose Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as my childhood book, not so much because I liked it (which I did) but because of how much I owe it. It was the very first 'real' book I read, and the one that would awake within me a hunger for more stories. Without Chamber of Secrets there would not have been any Saramago or García Márquez, Shakespeare or Austen, and for that I will always be grateful to it.
What character would you be? I am not sure I would want to be any of them. Most protagonists tend to be orphans (blame the hero's journey for that) who have to endure rather awful stuff before they get their happy endings. I would much prefer to read their stories in the comfort of my own life... unless of course I can choose to become a villain - bad guys always have the most fun!
Name: Leona Craig
Background: I am currently studying Musical Theatre at New College Lanarkshire. I was a member of Scottish Youth Theatre’s first National Ensemble 2017 - an incredible opportunity for me to work collaboratively on devising, composing and performing. I have also attended the RCS Junior Conservatoire for Musical Theatre, where each week I was put through intensive Musical Theatre training. Throughout my childhood I have attended my local youth theatre and played a variety of roles, my favourites being Maria in The Sound of Music and Fantine in Les Misérables. I am also an actor-musician and composer. I have written mini-musicals and songs for many different productions I have been involved in. I am a trained singer and pianist with ABRSM to Grade 8 and I am self-taught in guitar and the banjo. I am very excited to embark on this new adventure with the Family Storytime Company.
Why did you join? As an actor, dancer and musician I have had many opportunities to work with young people. As well as learning my craft, I thrive on passing on my knowledge of drama, dance and music to spark imagination and ignite excitement to learn. What attracted me most to the Family Storytime Company was that I will have the opportunity to work creatively in devising, composing and performing as well as working with young children.
Favourite childhood tale / book. My favourite story has to be Birthday Bear from Far Away Farm and other stories. I loved it so much, it has become tradition in my family to read it the night before someone’s birthday. I think I loved the character of Rosie mostly because she wore a yellow dress and yellow is my favourite colour. It is such an exciting story; you’ve got the excitement of waking up on your birthday, the curiosity of finding the bear, the anticipation for the birthday party and the happy ending of giving the bear a happy home. This story will always remind me of my childhood.
What character would you be? I would love to be Katy Morag because of her free spirit and sense of adventure. I would love to dart about in my wellies all day exploring new parts of the beautiful island I live on, something I miss out on now living in a big city. She is a curious character who is encouraged by those around her to try different things and find out who she wants to be. Katy Morag is very clever and witty and she makes everyday an adventure.
Name: Jai Sharma
Background: I studied Acting and Performance at City of Glasgow College achieving both my HNC and HND, finding work as actor in plays, short films, vocals for video games and background roles on television. I have a fair amount of experience devising theatre spending 8 months in Italy creating and touring shows for children up and down the country. Most recently I worked with SYT's Artistic Director, Mary McCluskey and fellow cast members to devise the 2017 Christmas show Tommy and The Snowbird.
Why did you join? I enjoy working with children - you never know what they will say or do and you constantly have to be on your toes to adapt and change to the inputs they give you, i'm looking forward to continuing to work on improvisational skills and to be pushed out of my comfort zone. Joining the Family Storytime Company means more than just showing up and acting and I thoroughly look forward to learning new skills through the work that takes place behind the curtains.
Favourite childhood tale / book: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
What character would you be? The Cat in The Hat. Who wouldn't love a magical top hat you could pull anything you needed from?
Name: Rhona Mackay
Background: As a graduate of Edinburgh Napier's Acting and English Degree, I have always been fascinated with performing and creating. I am a founding member of the Forty Elephants Theatre Company, which brought female centered new writing to the Edinburgh Fringe. I have been a part of many devised pieces performed all over Scotland and even Stockholm as well as short films and voice over roles. Alongside reviewing theatre as part of Young Perspective, I also write plays and short stories.
Why did you join? My first job was as a workshop assistant for the Scottish Youth Theatre and I worked with the company for many years before leaving for university. Not only do I want to return to such an impressive institution, I also want to specialise in children's theatre and in particular drama teaching. Family Storytime seems like such a fun experience and the perfect place to develop these skills.
Favourite childhood tale / book? The Story Giant by Brian Patten was and (still is) my favourite book.
What character would you be? Sophie from Roald Dahl's The BFG. I always wanted to taste how disgusting a snozzcumber really was and fart-flying always majorly appealed to me (sorry whizzpopper flying!)