Ref no43798
TitleRecords of the Arts Opportunity Theatre and St Paul's Youth Training Scheme
DescriptionThe collection includes minutes, accounts, correspondence, legal and personnel records, photographs, newsletters, posters and programmes, newscuttings, reports, inventories, notes and memoranda, production scripts and other material relating to the Arts Opportunity Theatre Co. Ltd and its companion organisation, the St Paul's Youth Training Scheme
Extent15 boxes
Administrative historyThe Arts Opportunity Theatre Co. Ltd (AOT) was established in April 1981 as a Manpower Services Commission (MSC) sponsored Youth Opportunities Programme to provide skills and training in acting, dance, music, sound, costume, and stage management for unemployed local young people. Courses in literacy, numeracy, and social and lifestyle skills were also provided. AOT's most famous production was Freedom City, a reggae funk musical written by Guyanese musician Reynold Duncan and TV film maker Yvonne Deutschman in 1979 and publicly performed for the first time in 1981. Freedom City was subsequently performed at other venues in the United Kingdom and went on tour in Germany and Holland, meeting with international acclaim. The business partnership formed by Reynold Duncan and Yvonne Deutschman continued until the company was dissolved in 1989-1990. In January 1983 AOT produced Black and White in Colour, which also won a number of drama awards, both in Britain and on the Continent. Originally based in the Dockland Settlement in St Paul's, the organisation moved to new premises at 98-100 Grosvenor Road, also in St Paul's, when AOT became part of the MSC funded Youth Training Scheme, as St Paul's Youth Training Scheme, which extended its training areas to include other skills, such as photography, basic electrical work, and book-keeping. During the organisation's early development two reggae bands, Restriction and Zion Band (the latter providing the music for Freedom City), were formed. There were also a jazz-funk ensemble named Kobra, a female vocal backing group, the 3Js, and a break dance and body-popping dance group, the Emperial Force. An independent, self-financing theatre company, the Arts Freedom Theatre, was also created out of AOT by a group of former trainees, accompanying it with Freedom City and Black and White in Colour on tours abroad.
Access statusOpen
Custodial historyAcquired as part of the Bristol Black Archives Partnership from Reynold Duncan in 2008. Prior to this it was kept at home by Reynold Duncan, whose advice enabled some of the material, particularly the large collection of photographs, to be sorted into its present categories
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