7 November 2014

In a new collaborative performance premiering at YMCA Surbiton on Wednesday 12th November at 7.30pm, YMCA LSW’s Benchmark Theatre has partnered with Southborough High School to explore the theme of loss.

The play is called #yblost and with the Twitter-inspired title, the creators hope the audience will use the hashtag to take part in a public discussion and also tweet replies to the question; why be lost?

What was the hardest thing you ever lost?

Clare Fry, Support Worker at YMCA LSW and founder of the Benchmark Theatre Group, said:

“The students at Southborough High and the members of Benchmark were asked five questions about loss, including ‘what was the hardest thing you ever lost?’ and ‘what does loss look like/ feel like/smell like or taste like to you?’ The play is inspired by their answers to these questions.

The students and the Benchmark members have worked separately to devise the performance, so the finished play only really comes together on the night of the premiere. Because as with loss, you cannot really prepare for it – it only hits you when it happens. We want the performance on Wednesday to convey that same feeling and atmosphere”. 

Hopes to spark reflection and debate

Nineteen students from Southborough are involved in the play, alongside eight members of the Benchmark Theatre group.

Morgan Melhuish, Head of Drama at Southborough High School, said:

“This is the Year 10 students’ first performance and they have shown a lot of maturity in the work with the performance. The topic is a difficult one and the students have very different levels of experiences with loss, some having experienced it on a personal level. The questions we asked definitely sparked reflection and discussion among the students. One of the questions we asked them were ‘In 15 years, what advice would you give your 15 year old you?’” 

The partnership between Southborough High School and YMCA LSW dates back to December 2013, when the YMCA organised a PSHE day at the school, discussing topics such as homelessness with the students. The day also included a drama workshop with Clare Fry and members from the Benchmark Theatre.

About the Benchmark Theatre Company

Benchmark Theatre Company comprises of residents, staff and volunteers from YMCA St Paul’s Group. The company was founded three years ago by Clare Fry and Lucy Taylor, as a result of the successful promenade style theatre piece ‘Homelessness’; a project which ran in collaboration the Page to Stage Theatre Company.

Benchmark Theatre aims to make quality, relevant and challenging performances that convey a message, include our community and entertain.