Amersham School

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Edinburgh Fringe Festival - Year 2 - Secrets of Us

My name is Sam Mitchell, director and producer of JAM Productions, a theatre company for young people based at Amersham School, Buckinghamshire, where I work full time as a drama teacher.

JAM Productions is a theatre company set up by myself and Jess Walters, renowned playwright (Writers Company). JAM Productions are a group of twenty young people, aged 14-18, very interested in all things theatre. We came about in 2012 participating in the National Theatre Connections Programme. Independently, JAM Productions took that show to Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013. The whole experience proved life-changing for all involved.

JAM’s actors are students from Amersham School.  We are a secondary school in a grammar school county, Buckinghamshire. The students all start school knowing that they have not 'made the grade' (their words not mine). It is our aim to encourage the students, giving them the opportunity to be the best they can possibly be.

We feel that the collaborative nature of theatre makes it the ideal, most inclusive medium, allowing us to involve the largest possible numbers of young people in various different capacities. I myself am passionate about drama and theatre experiences for all, but find that it seems extremely London-centric and young people from the suburbs don’t seem to get offered the opportunities London kids do. Frustrating! The success of Edinburgh 2013, and the passion it has inspired, led to Jess and I collaborating over the last 2 years, in our own time. We want to be able to offer this experience again to a new group of young determined up and coming actors, theatre technicians, film makers and aspiring directors.

Jess has written Secrets of Us, a play that investigates the complexities of what it is to be at that age when you’re neither a child nor an adult (adolescence), and the secrets that encompass us. The play exposes us to the realities of a young person living in a digital world and the potential dangers faced (paedophilia/grooming). Secrets of Us, exists on a theatrical and media level. A large projection screen features throughout (the back drop) which serves the play and original film/video work will play and add to the theatre experience, whilst assisting the characters on their journey.

We are now undergoing an intensive period of rehearsals. We will go above and beyond to make Secrets of Us a brilliant and engaging production. However, an undertaking such as this has large financial implications and this is where I hope you will be able to help in some way, as every little bit will help make this happen.

We have been fund-raising extensively, and have held and are organising the following activities: cakes sales, bingo and cream tea events, Amersham round table Santa sleigh collection, car boot and jumble sales, shopping bag packing at Waitrose, sponsored onesie swim and walks. We have raised £4,000 so far.

JAM Productions really hope that you will be able to help us by making a donation, whatever size.

We will, of course, have local press coverage and we will inform them of all the support that has been given, including advertising and thanks within our literature. However, we will confirm if this is what you want; as we understand you may prefer to remain anonymous. Everyone that helps will receive free tickets for Secrets of Us in Edinburgh 2015. The performance will take place from 10th – 15th August 2015.

I very much hope that Secrets of Us, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015 has interested you, and that you will be able to offer any support financially or otherwise, to this group of passionate young performers. Please view our YouTube channel:

www.youtube.com/channel/UCpTKD5IBYjPS82Bjnixs0aQ/videos

Any donations to support us financially please go to the following link :

http://www.gofundme.com/sa2j8xc