Phoenix Youth's 20th Anniversary
Over the course of 20 successful years, several hundred young people have passed through the doors of Phoenix Youth Theatre. From developing confidence and composure in our weekly classes to treading the boards at each of the North-East's professional venues, they made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
In honour of the school's milestone birthday, many of our pupils past and present sent their best wishes to our team and also shared why their time in Phoenix Youth means so much to them.
See what some of them had to say for yourself below.
"...What Phoenix did for me growing up was invaluable. I learned a lot about how to carry myself as a person and that was largely due to Liz and Clare, as well as the wide range of different types of people that attended. It goes way beyond amateur dramatics and putting on shows - Phoenix has and still does mean the world to me..."
"...Being a part of Phoenix Youth has given me so many wonderful experiences throughout the years. I have made incredible friendships, as when you join Phoenix you join a family of people who continue to support each other no matter what..."
"...Being not a very confident teen with a lot of self-doubt early on, Phoenix Youth really helped me come into my own and give me confidence. Both on and off the stage. Thanks to Kevin my poor family still have to put up with my singing at any given moment..."
"...The idea of going on stage to sing a solo or have a part was something I never thought I could do, but with the amazing teaching and the people you are in classes with, they help get you to the point that it’s almost a breeze..."
"...They say that every stranger you meet has the potential to change your life, and for me, Liz Milne and Clare and Kevin Haggart – who were once strangers – have changed mine. The highlight of my childhood was spending a Saturday afternoon learning from the best, as they helped me grow into a confident young woman. I will be eternally grateful for the opportunities Phoenix Youth Theatre has given me and the memories that will last a lifetime..."
"...I hope the young blood make the most of their time and know how lucky they are to have such a unique bonding experience..."
"...I’ve been coming to Phoenix since I was 4 and I’m nearly 10 now. I love coming to class every Saturday, I’ve made some of my best friends there. I’ve been part of some amazing shows too, my favourite was The Scarlet Pimpernel..."
"...The teaching at Phoenix Youth didn’t just stop at theatre skills for me - I was taught manners, how to be confident, how to act in a professional manner! It was always an amazing way to develop, not just as a performer! I love being part of the Phoenix family to this day..."
"...After being involved in many different theatre groups in the past, it is safe to say none of them can be compared to Phoenix. Phoenix Youth has such a fantastic balance of putting on incredibly high-quality productions, whilst being such amazing fun..."
"...My years at Phoenix youth theatre were some of the best years of my life, during which some of my favourite memories and most special friendships were formed..."
"...I grew as a person immeasurably over my time at Phoenix youth and it’s the lifelong friends and life skills that I learned there that I will always cherish. I will always be immensely grateful for every opportunity Phoenix gave me. It was always an honour..."
"...There is no cliché when I say that becoming a part of Phoenix is like becoming part of a family and I can’t thank everyone enough for all they have taught me and the support I have been given. My confidence has grown so much and I have met so many friends who all share the same passion as me..."
"...Phoenix Youth Theatre holds a special place in my heart. I remember waking up every Saturday morning, just counting down the hours until class started. One of my fondest memories was my first performance on HMT as one of the twins in the King and I. Thank you Phoenix, for everything. It's hard to describe in words how grateful I am to have such fantastic memories. You really do make dreams a reality. Keep doing what you're doing..."
"...Liz and Clare are two women that I look up to and they have taught me not only about performance and theatre, but about how to become the person you want to be and I will always have an enormous amount of respect for them..."
"...Thanks to Phoenix I’ve met and worked with so many amazing and talented people and been given so many exciting performance opportunities. My only regret is I didn’t join sooner, because four years just isn’t long enough..."
"...Phoenix encouraged me to be creative, confident and passionate about theatre. I will always be grateful to the entire team for making my childhood very special..."
"...Joining Phoenix was 100% one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life! The high level of training, support and family atmosphere are all genuinely incredible! I could write a 20-page essay on this, but all I feel I have to say is, from the bottom of my heart - I would not be the person I was right now if it was not for you guys..."
"...I have enjoyed making new friends in my class..."
"...From a young age, I always had the urge to perform and Phoenix was an ideal outlet for me to do just that. Being privileged enough to perform as a principle in many shows over nearly 10 years filled me with confidence and helped shape me into the person I am today..."
"...Phoenix changed my life, they gave me the best possible springboard for the career in performing I have now..."
"...Liz and Clare are so incredible at what they do and have provided so many laughs and memorable times for many kids in Aberdeen. Every year at Phoenix Youth I made new friends, performed in different shows and was given the chance to be a part of so many more exciting things. Even now (as an almost-adult) I love helping with the Youth shows, as they have such incredible talent and it is a delight to see how they all love it as much as I did..."
"...The shy and self-conscious girl that my mum had to drag to her first class at Phoenix Youth was certainly not the person who came out of the company aged 18..."
"...Phoenix Youth Theatre will always be a huge part of my life. I will cherish the lessons I learned, the skills I acquired and the friends I made for years to come. Liz, Clare, Kevin and all of the other teachers give up so much of their own time for Phoenix and are not thanked enough for their generosity and selflessness. I will forever consider myself lucky to have been one of their students, and even luckier to be one of their friends..."
"...I just wanted to say that without Phoenix I wouldn’t be where I am now, and that I’ll be forever grateful to everyone at Phoenix for helping me realise my true potential and achieve my dreams..."
"...When Phoenix Youth was created, I couldn’t have been more excited. Somewhere for all that singing and dancing energy to be released! It was a huge part of my formative years. It gave me confidence, friends and some of the best memories I have. I miss it so much..."
"...One of my happiest moments was being a chaperone at HMT and watching the children reading all the signatures written in the drawers. They were so excited and happy, saying how they were going to write their names one day..."
Kim, mother of Harvey (2016-present)
"...Everyone at Phoenix Youth puts in so much work and enthusiasm into making it such an incredible group. It is something I am very proud to have been a part of and am very jealous of anyone still there..."
"...Phoenix Youth has left me with lifelong friends and my family have even taken up the mantle, enjoying every aspect of what Phoenix has to offer. Although I am sadly no longer in Aberdeen, I love coming back to watch them and the rest of the company performing on stage and feel very proud to have been a part of Phoenix when they do..."
"...A non-judgemental environment and family atmosphere are the perfect recipe for building confidence and having fun. Phoenix ticks all these boxes! I have felt welcome from day one and have made many happy memories and friends here..."
"...Phoenix Youth gave me so many skills that I will take with me to the very end..."
"...Phoenix taught me confidence, Phoenix taught me self-belief, Phoenix taught me humility and that it was okay to be different. Many of the skills (public speaking, teamwork, pressure handling to name a few) that I gained from Phoenix I now use on a daily basis working at the BBC. I cannot express enough how thankful I am for the tools Phoenix gave me..."
"...There is always a friendly and fun atmosphere at Phoenix Youth and I love being a part of it..."
"...From weekly rehearsals and bi-annual productions, to performances with Ellen Kent Opera International and corporate events at the AECC and Skibo Castle, the experience has given me confidence and a lasting love of music and theatre. I am forever thankful to have taken part and grateful for the dedicated mentoring I received from Liz, Clare, Kevin and everyone involved..."
"...I joined Phoenix theatre as a shy seven year old, who had no idea who I was or where I wanted to be. Phoenix gave me the confidence I needed growing up and through my adolescent years to put myself out there, take risks, be daring and not worry about what others thought of me..."
"...Phoenix was very special to me – besides giving me an understanding of theatre as an art form and as a profession, besides teaching me the discipline required to create good work, and besides giving me my first baby steps towards what is now my career in theatre production; Phoenix was a place I came to be someone else, and to tell a different story, where I got to live (for a savoured hour and a half) in a world I understood and even fit into..."
"...I think Phoenix is so fun and I laugh all the time..."
"...Being a member for over 12 years, Phoenix Youth was such a huge part of my childhood. I can’t be more grateful for the opportunities I was given and how much my confidence improved thanks to Liz, Clare and Kevin. Most importantly, I have made so many great friends from my time at Phoenix. Our group is even closer than we were during Phoenix, and meet up as often as we can..."
"...Over my 10 years at Phoenix, I made some of the funniest memories and met some of the most amazing people. Saturday's haven't been the same since I graduated..."
"...Phoenix provides a great environment for children to develop confidence, make new friends, have fun and get the opportunity to be part of fabulous, professional shows. My boys love it..."
Lynn, mother of Oran, Struan & Finn (2015-present)
"...Phoenix provided me with a unique experience and a wonderful, welcoming, close group, all the way from Youth into the adult group..."
"...Phoenix Youth honestly changed my life. The ‘Phoenix Family’ is like no other and show weeks were, and still are, the highlight of my year. Thank you to Liz, Clare, Kevin and everyone else involved in the company for giving their time for the past twenty years to changing the lives of young people..."
"...If I hadn’t joined Phoenix, drama wouldn’t be my favourite subject at school. I love doing all of the shows and I have made lots of new friends..."
"...Every class offered something new and challenging and developed my skills in different ways. Liz, Clare & Kevin were perfect directors and made the whole process of being in a show incredibly fun and exciting..."
"...Áine has gained a lot of self-confidence since she joined Phoenix. She enjoys going there every Saturday..."
Rosie, mother of Áine (2017-present)