Project Theatre still treading the boards

Project Theatre is five-years-old
Project Theatre is five-years-old

A local theatre group which grew from a teenager’s dream to teach performance skills to youngsters is about to celebrate its fifth anniversary.

Jamie O’Rourke was only 18 and a veteran of Grangemouth’s Young Portonians when he founded Project Theatre, which will mark its five years with a series of small productions by members at Abbotsgrange Parish Church tomorrow (Friday).

Now 23, Jamie says he has learned just as much as, if not more than, the youngsters he has taught over the last few years.

He said: “I wanted Project Theatre to be more inclusive than other groups, without making anyone go through auditions. We started with six children, doing workshops for the first couple of years.

“We give people a good grounding in theatre and build a strong foundation. A lot of children don’t get parts because they don’t have enough experience, so we try to give them the experience.

“In the last couple of years we’ve started branching out, doing festivals and annual productions like our latest show ‘Back to the 80s’. We’ve now got over 40 members and 15 volunteers who help out with production, marketing and publicity.”

Project Theatre, which hopes to achieve charitable status this year, relies on fundraising efforts by its own members and grants from organisations like O2 Think Big, which donated £2500 to help fund the ‘Back to the ’80s’ show.

Jamie said: “We do a lot of our own fundraising. It’s good for the youngsters to get involved in all aspects of a production, including raising money for it, so they appreciate it a lot more at the end of the day.”

Jamie will be temporarily standing down from his role as Project Theatre artistic director in September when he starts studying at Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He has promised to return, however, to help Project Theatre expand into areas like Stirling and Edinburgh.