Saving CYTO

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My Bit!

2011-08-13 20:25:07

Dear Mr Rouse,


I am sure the last week has been a nightmare for you as it has for most of us trying to live our lives amidst a wave of vicious and unnecessary violence.  I have to ask though, why you would force the closure of an institution that gives young people a place to go and be together, to be productive in a positive way, to learn an art or a profession, to be educated and welcomed despite any race, gender or social handicap.


CYTO has provided a haven and education, and physical and mental outlet for children and adults for over 47 years.  It has produced successful actors, lighting technicians, stage managers, directors, writers, costume designers and many more who don’t even work in the Arts but have benefitted from the experience and confidence CYTO was able to provide.  None of these people were rioting this week.


We learnt Shakespeare, Beckett, Stoppard, Miller, Berkoff, Kafka, Dickens and so many others, it opened our eyes to a whole world that we didn’t always get at school. Kids wrote essays to prepare for a one line, walk on part, we made costumes – people learnt to sew, paint, carpentry, electrics, mechanics.  Everyone found a place they fitted.  I know people who were so shy they couldn’t speak to people for months, who are now lecturers, stage managers and so much more.


CYTO isn’t just “a place for kids to go”, it is a place of learning, a place to build confidence, experience writing, directing, acting, having their opinions heard, discussed, accepted.  Our network of older and younger members keeping in touch spans the 47 years.


I accept that what happened this week wouldn’t have been prevented by a single youth theatre in South Norwood, but wouldn’t it be better to ensure that our young people would have something better to do and that Croydon was the place that offered it?


I look forward to your response.




Heather Millar

New Update from Viv

2011-08-05 18:29:24

Hi Guys - sorry to be the bearer of yet more bad news as far as CYTO is concerned but we really need to get our fighting hats back on and re send your protest e mails. I have recently heard that the new performance arts posts have been 'frozen' - what this means is that they will not recruit to those empty posts. Which means we have all been lied too in a major way that things will still happen at CYTO. If you had a response from the MP please forward it with your protest stuff direct to Jon Rouse at Croydon Council who has made this decision. Please also re send to the MP and to the press. Spread the word around other ex members too. We need our voices to be heard!!

Heather Millar

The Future of CYTO

2011-05-06 16:31:57

Thank you, thank you, for the many, many expressions of support that have been given in petitions, in letters, in sign-up sheets, in various ways on the Internet.


What’s happening?

As part of the restructuring and budget cuts within the Youth Service,

the support that the Council currently gives CYTO is going to be massively reduced*


The posts of the ‘permanent’ members of Youth Service staff who work all, or most, of their time with CYTO are being deleted.

(Artistic Director (Viv) Admin Support (Tash and Kathryn), Dance Coordinator, (Delores)Technical Tutor (Alan) and Youth Worker (G))


The pocket of money that pays for the ‘casual’ tutor sessions is disappearing.

(regular workshops, special one-offs, and guest directors, musical directors etc)


A Youth Performing Arts team is to be created:

A Youth Performing Arts Manager (full-time) and the equivalent of one full-time Youth Performing Arts Worker (hours spread across 3 people)

They will have a Borough-wide responsibility and will not be ‘dedicated’ to CYTO but they will be based in The Shoestring Theatre and as part of their overall programme will run some performing arts workshops there.

20 hours /up to four evenings a week (in term-time).

There appears to be no provision for productions/shows.


The CYTO Management Committee has been offered the opportunity to be the Team’s ‘landlord’ in return for a ‘rental’ payment and will be free to organise CYTO’s ‘own’ activities.  There is no identified financial or staff support from the Council for such activities. The MC is currently (6th May) considering this offer.


The immediate future (till July)


The Youth Service staff have been instructed to ‘carry on as usual’ until the end of term while the new IYSS structure is being put in place – i.e. as the new posts are filled by existing staff or by new ‘recruits’.  So, for a while, things may not appear to change much.  But Kathryn (admin support and drama tutor) is leaving to have her baby and it is unlikely that her duties will be covered in her absence.


The Song and Dance show is going ahead on May 19th, 20th and 21st and “Our House” will be the end-of-term production on 21st -24th July.


We (the CYTO Management Committee) are not sure about what may happen during the Summer holiday – in terms of activity.


The not-quite-so-immediate future

(If CYTO can negotiate a viable ‘rental’ from the IYSS which will enable us to continue to run the building)

The Council plans to begin its new Youth Performing Arts Project, based at the Shoestring Theatre, in September – so there should be workshops there - on up to four evenings a week.


The CYTO Management Committee is considering options for its activity in the building – we have only very small financial reserves so we need to put together a properly costed plan in order to know what we’re fund-raising for.

We would welcome any assistance available in this planning process.



*Despite the impression given by Councillor Tim Pollard, Cabinet member for Children, Young People and Learners in the Croydon Advertiser of 15th April 2011.

Heather Millar

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