In this blog post, Renecia Allen, talks about her journey with Camden Youth Theatre. From rapping for the first time for ‘Noise’ to becoming a CYT alumna and staying on board to help with Chords of Protest.
It was a cold night when I first entered the automatic doors of Old Diorama, nervous probably would be the first word I would say it was, I was sixteen at the time, (the only reason I remember that is because I had exams). My dad came with me once and then for the rest of the time I was going to be having to take the travel on my own, with him picking me up after because I would get home late. Anyways now that I’m done rambling let’s get back to the first day. From the get-go I knew that some already knew each other so I knew this was not the first rodeo, but come to find out that I was the second generation I wasn’t mad, CYT was still pretty new.
When we entered into one of the many special named rooms of Diorama, we got straight to walking around the room, at the time it was, The Jack of all trades BOB, (Yes I kid you not that was his name, I don’t think I met a Bob, so another first) he was really friendly and soon enough I was feeling very comfortable. Then we met Gemma one of the sweetest human beings you can meet such sweet ginger, and small and cute. She had us do various things. After having done different activities to help us get to know everyone, I then soon after made friends with my kpop buddy Nora, Noza (that’s Nozzzzzza) we became very close as well as meeting the twin tower sister, Eternal-Rose and Bellisia, and how can I forget my mother Phebe, who became and alumni.
My first proper performance was ‘Noise’, it was the first time in my life I had ever rapped, I don’t know why I decided to make a rap I have never successfully rapped in my life! But I did love poetry so I guess I was thinking if I can write poetry I could try my hands out on rapping, and in a blink Gemma was asking me to rap. I thought this would be the only time I would have to rap, but low and behold that was not true!
In my third year I think of being with CYT, The great Lakeisha came, unbeknownst to her she would be taking on the role Gemma had soon enough, but before that let’s go to Scotland! Yes, you heard me… Read me right? You get the idea, we were picked to go to Scotland and perform and the festival! Excited, nervous and ready for a new adventure I was, I could not believe I was going to be going to Scotland to perform, this was a big week for me, I didn’t know what to pack, What to do? My brain was all over the place with the thought. For my second to last performance I will be going to Scotland at the age of seventeen, my prayers had been answered. I was overjoyed to be able to experience something like this with people who felt like my second family, by this year we had to say goodbye to some, but hello to new people like Kacey (who is my girl okay) new music and upgrade of performance was happening, my rap changed into an amazing duo, I even changed the lyrics, which I felt were deeper, but because I love punishing myself (sigh) I made it more difficult for me to get to the beat.
After that amazing experience, we had to again say goodbye but hello to even more people, when I say the auditions was full of people it was incredible we have become worldwide phenomenon… Okay, I may be exaggerating worldwide, but there were people from different parts of the UK so that counts for something right? We had quirky people like Jeremy and we had the amazing Madaline join us as well as some others, who became our third CYT generation as we then began to do a remake of ‘It Snows’. This was going to be my last performance with CYT as I was turning nineteen soon. I felt sad at this point thinking that my adventure was over with these amazing people I did not want to go. Like an angel, Lakeisha and Gemma came over and told me that I did not need to go but I could become alumni and stay helping and making performances too. Serendipity…. That was the feeling I felt, I was honestly flying, I always wanted to direct (and that is not because I’m a Capricorn… I promise…) It was like winning the lottery for me, I love working with youth and I love performing. That is how my journey with the amazing Friday group began!
Chords of Protest is magnificent it is a must-watch, having youth come and talk about important things whilst using comedy and music is something that just can’t be missed. It was hard to put together, but Lakeisha did an amazing job of everything from script to make the poster. This performance brings the importance of listening to the Youth whilst using comedy to help people open their eyes to what is happening in their borough. Directing youth is not an easy thing, and writing lyrics is not easy especially when you are not making it for yourself, I have come to find out. On the other hand, when you watch them perform and give there all when you see the brightness from their laughter you remember why you’re doing this, to give others a chance to become confident. It reminds me of when I was their age, I sprung out from my shell and was able to feel like myself and be happy expressing myself. That is ultimately what CYT is about, by the end You’ll gain experience in ways you thought would not be possible.