Summer Holiday with David Jell

Our annual Summer Youth Project is a fantastic opportunity for anyone aged 9 to 21 to work on a full scale production under the direction of a highly skilled creative team including a professional Director, Choreographer, Musical Director, Musicians and Technical.  The project lasts two weeks and ends with five performances on the Wyvern Stage from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th August.

Our previous Summer Youth Project’s have included: Grease (2016), Hairspray (2015), Bugsy Malone (2014) and Our House (2013). For our latest Inside Swindon Theatres blog we spoke with David Jell, Technical co-ordinator for the Summer Youth Project about the technical aspects of the show, what is involved and his fondest memories. Read more below.


Hi Dave, we are really looking forward to this year’s Summer Youth Project! What’s special about being involved with Summer Youth Project?

For me, being involved in Summer Youth Project is special because it is basically where I started my career in technical theatre.  Whilst I was studying for my degree at university, I spent my summers at the Wyvern working on West Side Story and Fame, as well as going to Oxford and Birmingham to help start similar projects there (both places I would also return to for different jobs!).  So, when I had the chance to return to Swindon for a job at the Wyvern and subsequently being able to lead on the technical side of Summer Youth Project , I jumped at the chance!  Summer Youth Project at the Wyvern has always been the most special for me.  The talent and enthusiasm of young people in Swindon really can’t be beaten.  The venue is great for working hard for two weeks together in, creating a friendly atmosphere.  So many of my friends are people I have met doing Summer Youth Project over the years – my Summer Youth Project family – and the memories last forever.


Grease (2016) Photo Credit: Peter Dewhirst

That’s great to hear! What are your fondest memories of SYP?

All my fondest memories are about the people I have worked with.  Many of the young people who have done Summer Youth Project over the years, both onstage and backstage, are now working professionally!  It is so good seeing these people learn and grow from a young age and progress so far in their chosen careers.  Even those who don’t end up working in theatre tell me often that doing Summer Youth Project helped so much in getting confidence, building relationships and having a great time over the summer.  That’s what it is all about for me – each individual project member getting out of Summer Youth Project exactly what they want to!  Seeing the hard work throughout the building every year culminating in fantastic performances that just get better and better are the ultimate proud moments!


Grease (2016) Photo Credit: Peter Dewhirst

How can you get involved with working in technical?

We invite people from the age of 14 to 26 to come and join the technical team for Summer Youth Project – anyone who has an interest in any aspect of technical theatre can apply.  We often get people asking throughout the year about work experience placements as well, so we often suggest that they take part in Summer Youth Project as they get to see the whole process from beginning to end – warts and all!!  Due to the training and experience we can over Summer Youth Project time, we often take on participants as casual technicians as well.  Every year the details of how and when to apply are posted on the website and anyone who is interested in getting involved in technical can also email me.


Grease (2016) Photo Credit: Peter Dewhirst

What is involved with working in technical for SYP?

We try to make sure that everyone has as much chance to be involved in everything that is going on.  The full-time technicians at the Wyvern take supervisor roles, looking after stage, flys, sound and lighting and they train technical participants to be able to do the jobs required to run the shows, including operating the lighting desk, making props, building and painting scenery, rigging and focusing lights, making costumes, stage managing and moving set and scenery into place during performances.  We always talk to people who apply beforehand to find out what they are interested in to tailor their experience with us. Some of the work that participants can do in the technical team can be limited by age, for example anyone under 16 isn’t allowed to use  equipment such as follow spots and some power tools.  You also must be over 18 to be able to work on the fly floor (bringing in flown scenery such as cloths and backdrops).


Grease (2016) Photo Credit: Peter Dewhirst

How you can find out more information?

Every year the details of how and when to apply are posted on the website and anyone who is interested in getting involved in technical can also email me.


Grease (2016) Photo Credit: Peter Dewhirst


Summer Holiday will be at the Wyvern Theatre  from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th August.

For more information and to buy tickets please visit: 

Follow the Wyvern Theatre on FacebookTwitter and Instagram using the hashtag #SYP17

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