Bristol Theatre News

Travelling Light Celebrates 20 Years of Youth Theatre

Travelling Light is celebrating 20 years of bringing accessible youth theatre sessions to Bristol’s children and young people this year.

Over 1000 young people have benefited from the affordable and inclusive sessions since the company started providing them in a Portacabin at the former St George School.

Since the early days, Travelling Light have expanded their reach, setting up groups for those aged 7-19 years of age as well as dedicated groups for disabled people at the Wellspring Settlement in Barton Hill.

Travis Alabanza in Burgerz

One of the company’s most famous alumnus Travis Alabanza, is a non-binary performer, writer and theatre maker who has been making waves in the industry.

Travis grew up in Hillfields with the youth theatre being the only local activity their family could afford.

Since then, Travis’ debut show Burgerz, won the Edinburgh Fringe Total Theatre award in 2019 and they are now currently promoting a new book.

“When Burgerz came out, people said ‘congrats on your first show’ and I’d always say nope, when I was 17 there was a show with Travelling Light,” They said.

“Along with my friend Ruby, who is now working as a theatre director, we got to write, direct and cast our own show – and it launched at The Fire Station then Tobacco Factory theatres. I remember it vividly because it felt like a huge deal to be able to put on our own work.”

It was the opportunities Travelling Light offered them that set them on the road to success.

“At the time, I was going to school on the outskirts of Bristol, where I often stood out,” Travis said. “Travelling Light helped me realise that isn’t always going to be the case.

“I hadn’t ever really been around artistic people, or creativity in that way, and it helped me realise that it was allowed and that there were different people in the world.

“I am so grateful for my time at Travelling Light, and it was literally the only place we could afford for extracurricular activities. It’s so important for our city to have accessible arts spaces for young people, and I’m grateful to Travelling Light for creating them.”

Travelling Light’s Action Speak Group

Travelling Light’s youth and community officer, Louise Betts said: “Professional theatre company Travelling Light was able to launch a youth theatre in the early 2000s as a result of government funding for Barton Hill, one of Bristol’s most deprived wards.

“Acclaimed south west storyteller Martin Maudsley ran our very first session and it was such a success, we quickly added a second group. In 2022, we are now operating four separate sessions each week. These groups are often over-subscribed, but this term some places have come available for new members to join.”

For children and young people interested in getting involved with the youth theatre, weekly sessions are available for the 7-10s, 11-13s and 14-19s. The company also operates a group for young disabled people aged 7-15, called Louder Than Words.

For more information, email Louise Betts at or call or text 07305008789

For more information about Travelling Light, visit: