Banbury’s youth create musical concert in lockdown to benefit local charities

After having to postpone their summer musical – In the Heights - due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Youth of Banbury Operatic Society (YOBOS) worked hard to stage a musical theatre concert with a big difference.

By Matt Elofson
Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 9:23 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 9:26 am
The Youth of Banbury Operatic Society (YOBOS) recently won Best Youth Musical Award for their 2019 production of 42nd Street
The Youth of Banbury Operatic Society (YOBOS) recently won Best Youth Musical Award for their 2019 production of 42nd Street

YOBOS, who recently won NODA’s Best Youth Musical Award for their 2019 production of 42nd Street, took a digital ‘look back’ at their successful 17-year history whilst also raising money for Katharine House Hospice and Banbury Young Homelessness Project.

Whilst The Lockdown Look Back will be free to watch, YOBOS are encouraging people to donate via their Just Giving page.

Viewing of The Virtual Variety Show is free, but donations via www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/YOBOS are encouraged, with any profits being split with Katharine House Hospice and Banbury Young Homelessness Project.

The Lockdown Look Back was streamed at www.YOBOS.co.uk on Sunday August 15 and will be available until Sunday September 13.

Ben Coleman, the Youth Officer for YOBOS and Banbury Operatic Society, said: “We are so excited to be able to release this incredible film. After being forced to postpone In the Heights, we considered taking a year off.

"However, theatre is so much more than a building and our incredible young cast deserve a chance to show of their incredible talents."

Ben is no stranger to creating digital theatre in Lockdown having helmed Avocet Theatre Company’s Virtual Variety Show in June.

He added: "Katharine House Hospice and Banbury Young Homelessness Project do such vital work within our town and should be supported – especially in this tricky time.

“To use what would have been a very upsetting time to celebrate YOBOS’ successful history is such a wonderful achievement and we are so proud of our incredibly talented cast. Banbury is so lucky to have such a wealth of young talent within the town and the results of this production is nothing short of magical.

“Like so many during this time, we have costs to cover and no income. Any donations will go some way to supporting us with those costs.

"We also want to raise as much money as possible for Katharine House Hospice and Banbury Young Homelessness Project, with whom we will be splitting any profit, so they can continue the vital work they do.”

The Youth of Banbury Operatic Society (YOBOS)

YOBOS is Banbury’s multi-award winning, non-profit group that gives 11 to 19 year olds in the Banbury and North Oxfordshire area a taste of what it takes to be in a musical production.

The group, set up in 2003 as an exciting musical theatre project, specialises in putting on each production in just one week in the summer holidays, with casting and three workshops taking place in the months prior to the summer performance.

YOBOS’ high quality productions have resulted in them gaining national recognition and members have not only gone on to perform in the West End, but also to taken on leadership roles within YOBOS. The ever-growing group was set up as an offshoot of Banbury Operatic Society who will soon be celebrating their 60th Anniversary. YOBOS is a chance for young, passionate performers to stage a musical with like-minded individuals.

The concept for The Lockdown Look Back came after the group was forced to postpone their summer production of In the Heights.

The Youth of Banbury Operatic Society (YOBOS)

Believing that young people needed theatre now more than ever, YOBOS set themselves the challenge of creating a musical theatre concert whilst in lockdown.

YOBOS members – past and present – have contributed to this special film and the group have held virtual rehearsals online. The Lockdown Look Back consists of numbers from every show YOBOS has performed in their 17-year history including Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Grease, Rock of Ages and their recent award winning show, 42nd Street. The cast members have sent in the videos that they have filmed in Lockdown, which will be edited together to create a full-length video production. The show promises singing, dancing, orchestrations and even some technical theatre.