Dedication and tribute:
Because the organisation has never been chronicled, and the huge amount of time that has passed since the theatre group disbanded, I considered that the time was appropriate to firstly tell their story, and secondly, to dedicate it to two individuals who have now both passed away. Michael Blizzard, and his partner the late City of Burnie Alderman Jan Blizzard. Michael (Mike) was responsible for the group becoming a separate entity within the Burnie Musical Society that helped sponsor their first production of "Jesus Christ Super Star" in 1983.
It is interesting to note that both BMS and YT2000 claimed the honour of staging the show, but it was the Youth Theatre 2000 group who actually performed the show irrespective of whose claim was legitimate at the time. From here on they were to operate in their own right as an incorporated body.
The Blizzards, and in particular Mike did so much to foster, and mentor the Youth Theatre 2000 members, three of whom were their own children. All members were either teenagers or young adults who had talents that had to be seen to be believed. They were made up of actors, artists, choreographers, dancers, musicians or vocalists, and those who just put their hands up to help. A microcosm of young people from all sorts of backgrounds and social status with one purpose in mind, to do something useful, and have fun doing it. Not one of these young people found their way in to the court system during those years, or later.
The social aspect was beyond belief. I know, as my partner Joan and I became a part of it by default.
How well I remember attending the opening and closing shows to see both Mike and Jan Blizzard sitting in the centre of the Burnie Civic Centre. Jan in full evening attire, and Mike in a dinner suit. But the one thing that I remember more than anything else was Mike?s red cumber bund. Now why that of all things comes to mind I do not know. However I also realise it was their tribute to the cast and crew of Youth Theatre 2000. Both forever a lady and a gentleman.
So to Mike and Jan Blizzard, here's thinking of you both with love and affection, by all those who were a part of the Youth Theatre 2000 scene.
The History of YT2000:
In 1983 Michael Blizzard, of the Department of Community Welfare, and some colleagues conceived a youth training scheme based on the performing arts, which they called Youth Theatre 2000. With the assistance of a $1000.00 Arts Council grant and the Burnie Musical Society, the concept was successfully tested and Youth Theatre 2000 staged its first production. "Jesus Christ Superstar".
The following year 1984, a Commonwealth Employment Program person was employed to further the program under the supervision of Mike Blizzard. That person was Mrs Toni Buckley, put together a group of some 60 young people who wrote, produced and toured the North West Coast and West Coast with a rock musical called "My Mother Was A Johnny O'Keefe Fan".
Again in 1985, a Commonwealth Employment Program person Trevor Sneath, was employed with the specific task of permanently establishing Youth Theatre 2000 on the North West Coast. The task required the setting up of an administrative headquarters at Lincoln House, 30 Cattley Street, Burnie as a management body, internal departments and a community support group to plan, overseer, and assist the programs to run by the theatre company members. The first production for 1986, was Grease, had attracted a youth membership of over 100 people and involved them in to a total theatrical experience from which they grew and benefited.
The acquisition of Noel Browne as the artistic director of Grease was a great achievement for such a young group, they were able to repay him for his dedication to them, and to the philosophy of Youth Theatre 2000.
Shows presented in chronological order:
1983: Jesus Christ Super Star
Information provided by the Burnie Musical Society.
1984: My Mother was a Johnny O'Keefe Fan
Information to be added as it comes to hand.
Directed Casting: by Noel Browne, Co-director: Jeremy Jones. Musical Director: Manning Bartlett. Choreographer: Glenda Ellis.
1986: Little Shop Of Horrors
Information to be added as it comes to hand.
Burnie Civic Centre, April 29th to May 16th
Director: Noel Browne, Set Design: Jeremy Jones.
Choreographer: Mandy Graham. Choral Director: Beth Short. Musical Director: Andrew Legg.
Principals: Clifford Plumpton, Chris Lynch, Donna Such, Phillip Dobson, Monica Gaby, John McGlasson, Sheri Clarke, Bruce Simpson, Carol Ransley, and Sally Rees. A Chorus of 23 people. A Modern Ballet of 4 dancers. Tap routines of three dancers. And the band made up of four members.
Producers and Directors: Noel Browne and Jeremy Jones (Deceased).
Musical Direction, Andrew Legg. Adviser and mentor: Andy Farrell.
Chris Lynch: Chris was one of the dominant forces from the cast who was very quick to offer his recollections of the heady days of YT2000. His first comment was, "Why has it taken so long to happen?" and "It would be a pleasure."
The reviews Chris received from the art critics showed his calibre as a musical actor.
Royan Coutts: Comes from a family who have the arts running in their veins and no doubt his volatile actions and recollections will add spice to the history. Royan was able to turn his hand to most jobs as well as being a back up vocalist.
Glenda Ellis: Choreographer and dancer, was one of the more senior members of the group. A colourful personality, it would have been a shame, not to have Glenda add input to this project. Her memories came flooding back during a marathon phone conversation that lasted an hour. A marathon in my reckoning anyway.
Kim Medwin: Kim had joined the group in late 1984 after we moved to Burnie with our family. Now collectively with two children, it will be a case of oiling the hinges of her memory she became part of the backstage crew involved with makeup of the cast in both "Grease" and "Godspell". Fortunately Kim has been able to provide some historical background to the group, having been the group's secretary for a period of time.
Cast, Band members, and behind the scenes support:
The names of the people are in no particular order, just as they came to mind by those to whom I have spoken.
John McGlasson, Paul Stretton, Chris Lynch, Mark Lynch, David Lee, Kate Lee, Stefan Borojevic, Paul Hiscutt, Emily Blizzard, Zac Blizzard, Glenda Ellis, Royan Coutts, Ken Woodhouse, Clifford Plumpton, Trevor Sneath, Sally Rees, Manning Bartlett, Kellie Bryan (nee Medwin), Kim Medwin, Donna Sutch, Peter Sutch, Kerri-Lee (Blue) Maxfield, David Kirkwood, Monica Gaby, Sheri Clarke, Carol Ransley, Philip Dobson, Andrew Starik, Bruce Simpson, Denika Wilson, Morag Ritchie, Tania Russell, Nicole Dunham, Jane Delanty, Grant Carr, Katie O?Mara, Atholie Duncombe, Wendy Heald, Alex Turnbull, Trudi Hodgetts, Belinda Maher, Louise Guest, Shelley Fowler, Lisa Gillam, Lizette Sturzaker, Shaun O?Brien, Annisa Jones, Andrew Legg, Don Heron, Mark Applebee, Rachel Fothergill, Janine O'Halloran, and Elizabeth Sushames.
If there are more names not mentioned, please contact me, or add to this document and return by email as an attachment.
The demise of the group:
As with so many other organisations Youth Theatre 2000 was to fall by the wayside. The mainstays had all passed the age limit laid down in its constitution, and the younger members lacked the drive, ambition, and leadership skills to carry on. It was a crying shame as these young people had the talent to perform, but no organisational skills. These skills had to be learnt from those who were the leaders, but it just didn't happen, and mores the pity.
On the break up many had already left Burnie to live and work else where, others that stayed in the city, some gravitated back to the Burnie Musical Society from where they started from. While others just got on with life, married and had families, Youth Theatre 2000 was just a colourful and interesting passing social phase in their lives.
These then were the colourful youth of Burnie and the North West Coast during the 1980?s, and should never be forgotten for their cultural contribution to the city and elsewhere during that period. The one thing that amazes me is why didn't the Burnie Musical Society come to their rescue? They had everything to gain, and nothing to lose, or was it a case of not wanting the competition on their doorstep. No doubt that question will never be answered.
So a new page of Burnie's history has appeared and will expand as the story unfolds.
Copyright 2007 John C Medwin all rights reserved