This is what some of our previous members said about their time at Harry’s Youth Theatre…
“Harry’s has given me much more than just an opportunity to continue my passion for musical theatre – it has given me lifelong friends too! As an adult I am now a member of several societies in Swansea and Llanelli, but I don’t think any of this would have been possible without the opportunities I received at Harry’s. Without that initial confidence and direction I wouldn’t have thought about continuing performing as an adult, but Harry’s has opened the door to much more for me. During the day I am an English teacher who is passionate about the stage, and I have been fortunate enough to direct my own productions too, both in and outside of school. I’ve learnt so much from being in Harry’s – not just lyrics to musical theatre songs, but how much work and dedication is needed to pull together a production, from rehearsals to mic plotting to costume sourcing. I love that this group is still very much a part of Swansea’s theatre scene, and look forward to supporting each production that’s put on by the whole team.”
“I joined Harry ‘s in 2002 when they first opened their doors. I was very inexperienced and didn’t know what to expect but was put at ease straight away by the warm and welcoming atmosphere. In my time at Harry ‘s I took part in several shows and grew in confidence and ability over the years due to the fantastic guidance of the teaching staff. Without which I would never have been able to gain a placement at the prestigious Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and pursue a career in theatre. Harry ‘s made learning fun and I made friends for life while I was there. I am truly grateful for the support given during my time with Harry’s and for the all the fond memories!”
Michael Aubin – Teacher, Actor, Director
“I started at Harry’s when the group was first established many years ago and had the absolute pleasure of being in many company productions throughout the years. I played ‘Tyrone’ in the first production of Fame opposite the lovely Rosie! I never considered dance as one of my strong points but under the direction of Kath and some assistance (lots of assistance) from Rosie, we managed to achieve what we set out to do. My last production was WWRY before I went to drama college and I can honestly say looking back at my time at Harry’s it was one of the most amazing times of my life and have made many lifelong friends from my time there. All the best for the forthcoming production, I know it’s gonna be just as “faaaabulous” (as Kath would say) as every one so far!! Break a leg everyone!!! Love Gary”
“I joined Harry’s from an early age. I had older sisters that were in Harry’s so I was so excited to join at the age of 5. Harry’s gave me the confidence and chance to perform on the big stage and also helped me to make so many friends. The angels at Harry’s are all amazing and taught me lots of skills whilst still having lots of fun. I am now fortunate to teach our minis at Harry’s and love every minute of it. I get to do something that I love and still be involved with all the amazing people that helped me…Harry’s is a big part of my life and I am very grateful for everything it has taught me.”
“I first joined Harry’s in 2011 and have not looked back since! Whilst I never dreamt of pursuing a theatrical career like many of my friends at Harry’s, my time there has been just as beneficial. As a member, I have improved my confidence and discipline immensely, allowing me to excel in my undergraduate law degree and now my masters. Without the skills I developed during my time there, I doubt I ever would have coped with the demanding nature of my law degree (not to mention the public speaking)! You never really leave Harry’s. It is no exaggeration when students say it is like a second family. In fact, I have come to call the Angels my second mothers. The amount of support offered is tremendous and doesn’t stop when it’s your time to leave the group. No matter what your ambitions in life, whether you want to pursue a theatrical career or something completely different like myself, I could not recommend Harry’s enough!”
“I attended the very first Harry’s class back in 2002, and never thought it would become such a massive part of my life! I was lucky enough to be involved in at least 2 productions a year with Harry’s for 10 years! (Until I became too old to perform with them, otherwise I’d definitely still be a member!) these productions included: The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Fame, We Will Rock You, Billy Elliot and Oliver, to name just a few. Although Oliver was my last show performing with Harry’s, I never had any intention of leaving it behind. I have since helped in rehearsals every Monday and backstage for all of their shows. I now teach the Minis, our 3-6 year old section, alongside Rebecca, who is also a past Harry’s member! Harry’s has always been, and I’m sure always will be like one big family! I have made friends that I know will last me a lifetime. Being a part of this group has taught me many life skills and definitely made me a more confident person. The discipline you learn at Harry’s can be applied to any aspect of life. Finally, Harry’s is run by a group of volunteers, the ‘Angels’ and they really are angels! They make sure Harry’s runs smoothly, allowing our members to put on spectacular shows, year after year. But as well as that, they are a team of people willing to offer their support to the young people whenever or why ever they may need it! I have loved the past 17 years of Harry’s and look forward to experiencing lots more of the opportunities Harry’s gives young people, and myself.”
“I joined Harry’s in 2002 and I have no doubt the training and life experiences I had lead me to where I am today. I was lucky to be part of some fantastic shows, Billy Elliot, Oliver, We Will Rock You and Honk to name a few. Being part of this group showed me that I wanted to be involved in theatre in a professional capacity. I became very interested in what happened backstage, especially after seeing all the work that goes in to it. After helping out backstage in productions, I went on to train at Mountview Academy of theatre arts in Production Arts. I have been lucky to work on U.K and Ireland tours such as Matilda and Billy Elliot and in the West End on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Waitress. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Harry’s. This group gave me the grounding and life skills I use everyday. This group isn’t just about being on stage. It’s about the confidence, growth and being a part of something. I have made some great friends over my time at Harry’s. Not all went on to be performers, some are Doctors,solicitors and dentists. I know they look back at their time in Harrys with great fondness and are happy to admit they use the skills gained in their everyday life. I must mention the work the Angels do. The amount of work that goes in behind the scenes is incredible. The fact they all volunteer and give their time so freely continues to amaze me. What started out as helping out in their children’s theatre group to now nearly a full time job that their kids are too old to attend! Thank you ‘Angels’ for continuing to change and improve young people’s lives. The world needs more of you.”
“I am incredibly proud to be a piece of the Harrys history. Year after year they bring out the best in every young performer. Whether you have a desire to pursue a career in the Arts or are just there for a bit of fun and confidence building, you are made to truly feel part of a big family. With a support network that go above and beyond, to make a difference to everyone, it’s a complete team effort. There is no room for egos – if you have no lines and are standing at the back in a chorus line trying with two left feet to keep in time to the music, in Harry’s you are made to feel just as important as the person playing the lead role. What a rarity this is in modern culture where ” being the best” is drummed into you via social media and by so many of the other stage schools and youth groups around. You are only expected to do your best and this is the vital difference.
When I joined Harrys I had already been working as a professional child actor for many years with success on TV, adverts and Films. I had been also lucky enough to have performed on a few london theatre stages in the West End, performing both conedy and magic. However, the one thing I didn’t have under my belt was any musical theatre experience. I went to watch their first production of West Side Story and instantly knew it was the group for me. I joined straight away. I made friends – a few that will be in my life until I’m old and grey! Making friends and social interaction has always been very hard for me (unless in character) due to anxiety from having both dyslexia and high functioning autism. However, for the first time I felt truly accepted. I remember having to leave to film a television series and being truly gutted I had to miss Harrys and not seeing my new friends for a few Mondays.
Harrys would perform 2 full scale musicals on the Grand Theatre main stage twice a year – one in July and one in September. The first full scale show I performed in was The sound of Music, I had previously auditioned and won the role of Fagin in Oliver but unfortunately the show had to be changed. I was then cast as Mr Mushnik in Little Shop Of Horrors – I loved it! I lost myself in the role and now, just turning 14, I caught the theatre bug big time.
I was very blessed that over the years, Kath as Director trusted me with a lot of very “out there” character choices… She would encourage me and my outside the box ideas, always collabrative and championed, never put down or made to feel silly for a suggestion. Kath is not only a wonderful director but she really understands theatre and Harrys are very blessed to have her. Even when I decided I wanted to play the Cat in Honk the Musical as if Jim Carey had been given the role. In my head the larger than life character made perfect sense to me to play it as a complete homage to every Jim Carry film… and my goodness, did it work lol.
I remember getting the role of the old man Pickering in My Fair Lady. On opening night I was 16 year old, playing a man in his late 60s, but by the last night my character had evolved – he developed arthritis, sciatica and was more like a 90 year old.
Kath always encouraged me, and for that I will always be grateful. I learned my love and craft of being a character actor. I even made my own costumes for many of the roles I played. I think if there was a role in a show with a difficult accent, ethnicity, or larger than life character, it was a case of “out the way it’s mine” and like a chameleon I would transform completely.
My career since leaving Harry’s:
I left Harrys age 20 and have continued to work as an in high demand professional in the industry covering many fields including films on Netflix, guest leads in many popular TV shows and a string of adverts. I am also a Comedy Writer and producer for TV in America as well as BBC & Comedy Central back in the UK.
But theatre is my passion and I truly believe that this is because of those very important years at Harrys. I work as a theatrical consultant and theatre Director throughout the UK and Europe & as a stand up comedian working with many of the most popular TV comedians as an additional writer/ collaborator. I have been asked to lend my name and image to brands such as Disney, Sony & Pepsi as well as being a motion capture stunt actor for the Emmy Award Winning Da Vinci’s Demons on FOX, plus regular voice over works to date.
As a theatre actor I have appeared in everything from iconic roles like Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet, have toured playing the lead in The Invisible Man, plays including more Shakespeare & Brecht, as a member of Fluellen Theatre Company.
I have covered roles in plays by Arthur Miller and Patrick Marber for various theatre companies and most recently reprised a one man play that toured in 2017 to rave reviews and critical acclaim. I have played everything from Al Jolson to Frank N Furter.
I also have lent my vocals to new musical theatre works for showcases before they go into the West End or Broadway and have even written a musical myself.
As I write this, I have been in ten professional pantomimes playing everything from Buttons and Simple Simon to Captain Hook and Abanazar, for companies like Imagine Theatre & Qdos Entertainment.
I believe that the confidence in performance and love and longevity I have of stage performing is because of those crucial years at Harrys. I am delighted and so proud that my daughter Scarlet Faye is now following in my footsteps as a member of Harrys and I can’t wait to see what roles she has up her sleeves 🙂. I truly owe Harrys such a lot it – actually changed my life.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart to Deb, Sharon, Kath and all the team.
Harrys needs to be treasured xxxxx”