Corn Exchange Young Performers

Corn Exchange Young Performers (CXYP) provide opportunities for young people to learn about theatre and explore their own skills and potential. We provide three weekly workshops, covering different aspects of theatre including acting, dancing, singing, costume, make-up, set design and technical production. The Corn Exchange is a community resource and CXYP plays a vital role in allowing young people to come along and use our facilities.

Cultivating the interests of young people and their enthusiasm for drama is at the heart of our practice. We believe that dramatic expression allows children and young people of all ages to embark on journeys of personal, social and creative development. Participants in our sessions often develop levels of confidence and self-esteem, whether performing onstage or with their peers.

The set up of our drama groups allow young people from different school years to come together and interact in a safe, creative and supportive environment. We actively involve our young people in many areas when staging a production. So if you’re interested in acting, scriptwriting, directing, lighting, sound, costume, make-up or stage management, then come along and join one of our drama groups!

New participants are always welcome. However, due to the high subscription of our drama groups, new members may be periodically placed on a waiting list until a place becomes available for them.

Please see information on our new membership charges here.


2017/18 Season

Please read our 1st term newsletter here.

2016/17 Season

Please read our term newsletter here.

2015/16 Season

Please read our end-of-season newsletter here.

Please read our fifth term newsletter here.

Please read our fourth term newsletter here.

Please read our third term newsletter here.

Contact Sam Swinton or Skye Watson


Frequently Asked Questions

Who runs the drama sessions?

We have two Group Leaders and two Drama Assistants here at CXYP.

Our P1-4 & P5-7 Programme Coordinator is Skye Watson. An ex-Biggar High pupil, and HND Musical Theatre graduate, Skye has worked with Shine Youth Music Theatre for the past five years. Among her many credits as an actress, Skye has played Amber in Hairspray, Jenny Lind in Barnum and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar. Skye recently performed with Webster’s productions in High School Musical 1 and 2 playing the role of Miss Taylor McKessie. Skye is assisted in both groups by two experienced senior pupils from Biggar High School.

The Artistic Director and Group Leader for the Senior Drama Group is Sam Swinton. A secondary school drama teacher, Sam has been working with CXYP since 2014. He holds a BA in Drama and Theatre Arts and an MFA in Creative Writing.

Where and when do the Corn Exchange Young Performers meet ?

Every Tuesday during school term time in the main auditorium. We have five terms taking place from August until June. A typical CXYP term runs for 6-8 weeks and breaks during the various school holidays.

What age groups are able to attend and what times do they meet?
  • P1 – P4: 3.15pm – 4.15pm
  • P5 – P7: 4:30pm – 6pm
  • Seniors (S1 – S6): 7pm – 9pm
  • My child is progressing to P5/High School. Can they join the older group?

    Of course! We encourage our participants to progress through the groups, enabling them to experiene new opportunities and challenges. Participants are also welcome to join Biggar Theatre Workshop when they feel ready.

    How much do the sessions cost?

    The drama classes can be paid weekly and cost £4 per session. There is also the option to pay in advance for a full term of sessions. Special rates are available for siblings.

    Are there any opportunities for parents, carers and others to see what the young people are learning?

    Yes! Over five terms, from August until June, the workshops culminate towards staged performances of original youth theatre. Group performance dates usually take place during the months of May, June or December.

    I'm a parent of a CXYP participant, can I support CXYP in any way?

    The value of our work is recognised and supported by our participants’ parents, some of whom undertake a significant commute to allow their children to participate. We are always appreciative of any parent volunteers who could help with administrative and pastoral activity and/or spare an hour or two once a term to serve drinks during our workshop intervals.

    Our History

    The Corn Exchange Youth Project started providing drama workshops in September 2011 for P6 to S2 pupils. 12 young people attended one-off workshops. This core group then formed a regular weekly workshop which grew to accomodate 25 participants.

    The group was initially set up with the help of Kenny Douglas. Leah Moorhouse ran a series of workshops with the assistance of her students and led a two-day open workshop in the Summer of 2012.

    In the summer of 2013, the Corn Exchange Youth Project ran an intensive three-day project entitled A Play in Three Days. The performance was directed by Clare Prenton, with music provided by Georgia Gordon.

    In August 2013, when Kenny emigrated to Australia, Jen Hodson took over as Programme Co-ordinator and Group Leader. Rebranded as Corn Exchange Young Performers, Jen expanded CXYP’s operations to include a drama workshop specifically tailored for Nursery – Primary 3 pupils. Her P4-7 and High School groups later went on to perform two original shows in March 2014. Disaster adventure Zombie Apocolypse and the mysterious thriller, The Island became CXYP’s first full-scale productions.

    Sam Swinton joined CXYP in April 2014 to work in partnership with Jen. In August 2014, Sam took over as Programme Co-ordinator and Group Leader. By now, CXYP was providing workshops for nearly 60 participants. The Nursery-P3 group had become large enough to perform a show of their own and the decision was taken to commission three original productions for mid 2015.

    The Ladybugs’ Adventure became the P1-3 group’s first production. The Buccaneers of Muck, a swashbuckling pirate adventure play, cemented the P4-7 group’s reputation as a large and fiercely talented drama group. Meanwhile, Passed On became the senior group’s third original drama.

    2015 also marked the beginning of a new annual summer event: Three Plays in Three Days. Splitting into three production groups, CXYP participants successfully devised and staged three original one-act plays in under 72 hours. This fast and furious summer event proved popular with local audiences, who were treated to an evening performance of each play.

    In 2016, the drama groups showcased a further three original stage plays. The Pharaoh’s Plastic Pyramid, Sweet Dreams and Altitude Antics continued to establish CXYP as a vibrant, new writing youth theatre. A trip to see Annie at the Edinburgh Playhouse rounded out yet another successful season.

    2017 became CXYP’s busiest season yet, with five productions performed across the three drama groups. Theatre practitioner, David Ross, became the leader of both primary groups, and oversaw a creative adaptation of CS Lewis’ Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Meanwhile, Sam and the Senior Drama Group set about creating two more original productions: The Night Train and Hindsight. A further performance of Alan Ayckbourn’s Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations was well-received by local press and audiences alike.

    In August 2017, CXYP welcomed the arrival of musical theatre practitioner, Skye Watson. Skye took over as leader of the P1-4 & Primary 5&7 Drama Groups and immediately set about laying the foundations for a modern adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (scheduled for May 2018).

    In December 2017, the Senior Drama Group staged their first Christmas production: A Christmas Carol: The Show Must Go On. Bringing Charles Dickens’ iconic ghost story to life, this festive comedy of errors delighted audiences with its inventive mix of Victorian wit and slapstick humour.

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