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Half Moon Young People's Theatre collection

History of Half Moon Young People's Theatre

Half Moon logo The Inner London Education Authority established Half Moon Young People's Theatre in the mid-1970s. It functioned as the specialist youth and schools arm of the Half Moon Repertory Theatre, producing youth theatre productions, specialist training programmes and participatory theatre-in-education for schools.

The parent company itself was founded in 1972 when local active theatre artists took over a disused synagogue. The company moved again in 1979 to an old Methodist chapel based on the Mile End Road, Stepney, East London. This was refurbished in 1985 into a state of the art modern theatre, but in 1989, the Repertory company went into voluntary liquidation. The archive of the parent company is now held by Royal Holloway, University of London at Egham, Surrey.

In 1990 Half Moon Young People's Theatre established itself as an independent Limited Company and gained charitable status. In June 1994 Half Moon identified a permanent base in Limehouse for its operations which was significantly refurbished in partnership with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets with financial assistance from London Docklands Development Corporation and European and Social Regeneration funds. The appointment of Chris Elwell as Director in 1997 signalled in a change in Half Moon operations, supported by increased funding from the Arts Council. In 1998 Half Moon launched its base in Limehouse as an operational public venue, staging productions and providing participatory programmes for young people living in London. In January 2008, the company purchased the freehold of the building as a result of grant aid including the Lottery and so secured independent ownership.

Half Moon and the East London Theatre Archive

Half Moon has played an important role over the past 40 years in the development of theatre originating and responding to the unique world of communities that sit in the East London. While our parent company's archive, Half Moon Repertory Theatre (which sadly went into liquidation in the 1980s), sits at Royal Holloway, Half Moon Young People's Theatre's archive since its formal creation in 1990 has until now only existed in orderly, if dusty, boxes in our basement offering inevitably limited access. ELTA offers a wonderful opportunity for the wider public and academics to get a snap-shot insight into our creative work - both professional productions and participatory workshop programmes. The materials were carefully and sensitively chosen by the ELTA team at UEL, and will, we very much hope, bring more enquiring minds to our doorstep initially virtually and then in person as a result. We are delighted to be part of this initiative.

The history is based on the following source:

http://www.halfmoon.org.uk/ [accessed 13 October 2008]

Scope and Content of the collection

The digitised items are sourced from archives held by Half Moon Young People's Theatre at its base in Limehouse, East London.

Copyright holders

Half Moon Young People's Theatre; Chris Elwell; Alison Cartledge; Fin Kennedy; Patrick Baldwin.

East London Theatre Archive

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East London Theatre Archive

East London Theatre Archive