BYT’s Sweeney summer

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The murderous barber is not a good name for a new hairdressers, but it is the inspiration for one of Borders Youth Theatre’s summer projects.

BYT will perform a new production of Sweeney Todd, written and directed by John Haswell, the founding director of the group.

Although it’s not the well-known musical version, new music is being commissioned to add atmosphere to the piece, which will be performed by children 12 years and over.

David Bisset, chair of BYT trustees, said: “We try to move our main projects to different parts of the Borders and we are delighted to be taking Sweeney Todd to Jedburgh.

“We have close links with Jedburgh Grammar School and the Town Hall will be a perfect venue in which to create the atmosphere for this Victorian melodrama.”

Rehearsals begin on July 6 and performances take place from July 18 to 20. For younger thespians, two-day workshops will be hosted in Galashiels, Kelso, St Boswells, Selkirk and Peebles.

Entitled Make a Play in Two Days with BYT, the programme will see children get the chance to work with experienced leaders to produce their own piece of theatre.

David added: “Youngsters will learn new skills, meet new friends, gain confidence and have lots of fun.

“These proved very popular last year. Once again, we are trying to cover a range of venues across the region to try to include as many young people as possible.”

Workshops run from July 29 to August 8.

To help ensure the projects are provided at a reasonable cost to participants, a Summer Soirée and silent auction has been organised for this Saturday in Smailholm Village Hall.

David told us: “As well as a buffet and refreshments, there will be a range of music and entertainment, much by present and past members of BYT.

“There will also be a Promise Auction where people will be invited to bid for a wide range of items and services.

“We already have interesting offers ranging from 10 hours of gardening to a supply of home-baked bread, from a singing lesson to the use of a car and driver for a day.”

The night starts at 6pm and tickets, priced £10 (£6 children), can be booked by calling Jennie Bisset on 1573 225275. This is also the contact for anyone wishing to offer an item for the Promise Auction.

More information about the summer programme and all BYT activities can be found at or by phoning 07896 620404.