Terry Dicken Business Park Feature Friday

Crash Bang Wallop


Crash Bang Wallop are a Youth Theatre and Performing Arts Academy based in Stokesley. Helping young people to build confidence by giving them the chance to act, sing and dance in a range of performances and shows.

Today we’re talking to Artistic Director, Dan. First off, let’s hear how Crash Bang Wallop started.


A high calibre vision

“I’m a local lad who originally trained as a professional actor in London.” Said Dan.  

“During my training, there was a distinct lack of high calibre support for children wanting to train in the arts, locally. Determined to bring a theatre school of the same calibre that you’d see in London to Stokesley, in 2005 I set up Crash Bang Wallop. Being a not-for-profit charitable youth theatre company, we’re primarily run by volunteers. However in the academy we employ professional teachers to ensure we can offer the highest quality training possible.”


Let’s hear more about the Youth Theatre.


Dedicated volunteer team behind the scenes

“The theatre team are all volunteers. Alongside myself we have our choreographer, Emma (who’s also my wife!). Alice who runs Lucky’s Play Barn is our musical director. We’re a small, local volunteer team which includes some ex members. Meeting every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  Working towards two shows a year, usually in February and July. Productions, held at the Forum in Northallerton, are a mixture of styles. For example we’ve recently performed Grease, Les Miserables, Seussical, In the Heights and West Side Story. Our next big thing is Bugsy Malone next summer.”


Comprehensive weekly training schedule

“Mondays at the academy are all about drama. Singing lessons are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then on Saturday mornings the performing arts academy kids get an hour of acting, singing and dancing. Our academy teachers are all talented professionals so the students are learning the best possible skills. Not only are they learning to act, sing and dance they are also building the skills needed to become a performer. It’s not just about building confidence. Having resilience, self discipline and being a team player are all really important in this industry. That experience can then be taken away to future shows.”


Inclusive approach to talent development

“Unlike many traditional performing arts schools, we’re big believers in non-audition classes. You don’t have to arrive here being any good or having loads of confidence. The quietest person in the room with zero confidence is welcome and can just come along and join in. For example, a few years ago we had a young girl of 7 join us. She was very quiet and just happy to be part of the chorus, with no interest in taking a lead part. Coming along and being included was enough for her. Fast forward to 2021 and out of the back of covid she took her first lead role. She’s now playing a starring role in Les Miserables and at 17 is planning to go to drama school. Other theatre groups just wouldn’t have worked for her. This example is exactly why Crash Bang Wallop was conceived.”


Fostering teamwork and confidence

“Obviously we audition for the main parts, but genuinely anyone can take part. We have no big star performers. All lead roles are circulated. People join, get involved and gain confidence.  We’re working to keep children’s feet on the ground. Making sure that they understand it’s about what we achieve as a group. This helps them to build confidence not a giant ego!”


Boosting wellbeing through community and creativity

“Being a part of Crash Bang Wallop is really good for students wellbeing. I hadn’t appreciated how good it was for people’s mental health until covid. Me included! Everyone really missed the weekly interactions. During the lockdowns we did a lot of classes online, hosted quizzes, and challenged students with learning songs each week to record and upload. We were also one of the first youth theatre groups to stream live performances. Both a number of students and parents said ‘Thank goodness you did all of that during the pandemic as we wouldn’t have known what to do’.” 


Developing mental health and supportive community post-pandemic

“Post-covid we’ve noticed many more young people struggling with their mental health. Especially the kids who were GCSE age during the pandemic. Enjoying drama classes is one thing that helps but also the social aspect of being here plays a part too. Additionally, there are other responsible adults here to talk to. We like to think of it as a safe place to share thoughts about mental health. These are the dimensions that we are working with, with our young people. Our staff have also been trained to understand that and keep an eye out for children who may need extra support.”


A game changing move

“Being on the estate is a huge benefit to us as we’re able to have our own theatre studio. We took over the building in 2010. Prior to that I travelled all over the region so we never really had a regular base. Being on the Terry Dicken Business Park gives the students a home. They have helped decorate the studio and some are even on the board of trustees. This gives them real ownership of this safe space. Moving to the park was a real game changer. Space for us and the kids to feel settled. If we need to expand numbers we have the space to do so.”


Sounds like it was the right decision to move here! Let’s find out if Dan would recommend the Terry Dicken Business Park.


Great community hub with a collective feel

“Absolutely! Mark and Sue are amazing and have always looked after us. Hugely helpful, understanding and really flexible. Mark is always available if we need him. The park is a great community hub with a collective feel similar to what villages and towns used to have 50 years ago. Mark and Sue have always encouraged that cross-park working. Direct Business Supplies are next door so we use them often. Wentworth Security & Fire Protection do all of our fire and safety stuff. Simply put, it’s affordable and friendly here!”


If you’re interested in getting involved in the Youth Theatre or Performing Arts Academy, Crash Bang Wallop Can be found at Unit 16, Terry Dicken Industrial Estate, Station Road, Stokesley, TS9 7AE

Email Dan at danbrookes@crashbangwallop.org.uk for more info and to get onto their waiting list. Or visit their Facebook page 

If you’re looking for a new space for your business then call Mark on 01642 714744 to get on the business park waiting list.

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