Youth Theatre

Kirkgate Youth Theatre is a theatre school for young people between 10 and 18 years old.

There are two public performances a year, one in the summer usually coinciding with the annual Cockermouth Live! Festival at the beginning of July and one at Christmas at the Kirkgate Centre.

Kirkgate Youth Theatre is held on Thursday evenings at The Kirkgate Centre in Cockermouth.

Sessions are fun and challenging, and include games, improvisation, devising, script work, voice and movement.

It is a great space to make new friends, develop confidence and learn communication and drama skills.

Join Kirkgate Youth Theatre

We have two groups, Young Performers and Young Actors:

Ages 10 – 13 @ 4.30 pm
Ages 14 – 18 @ 6.30pm

No previous acting or theatrical experience is necessary but this is a great stepping stone if students want to explore a career in theatre, film or television – or any other job that involves presenting, performing or public speaking.

Each class costs £5 per person.

Kirkgate works to comprehensive safeguarding policies and procedures. For more information contact Tish Thornton on the address below or email us here

If you wish to enrol your child please complete and return this form: Kirkgate Youth Theatre Consent Form 2021

Email KYT Principal, Letitia ‘Tish’ Thornton here.


Tish Thornton – Kirkgate Youth Theatre

Tish is a trained actor and teacher. She has worked extensively in theatre including several tours of Canada, many of these being shows she wrote or co-wrote.

She has worked for Stagecoach Theatre Arts and has run KYT since January 2018, devising and writing many original pieces with the young people.

She taught Drama and English at schools in Manchester and Merseyside for over 10 years and now along with working at KYT she is a GCSE Examiner, private tutor, supply teacher and allotment fanatic. And she likes to sing.

All productions are scripted by the Principal.

We are grateful to National Lottery players and the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their support.


Videos of previous performances and sessions like the one below can be watched here

December 2022 – A Winters Gathering

A story telling journey to discover who were the Screaming Skulls of Calgarth and are they screaming to this day, who was the Prince of Wolves and why do Ukrainians hide a little toy spider inside the branches of their Christmas trees.


Kirkgate Youth Theatre’s December 2021 performance was part of Kirkgate’s #IAmDorothy project celebrating the life of Dorothy Wordsworth in the 250th year since her birth.

Lockdown & 2020 – part of Company 3’s project #coronavirustimecapsule.

We released a short film each week exploring life in lockdown for teenagers. The Young Performers worked on developing Operation Pied Piper – a radio play looking at evacuees in Cockermouth during WW2.

National Theatre Connections – a production of The It by Vivienne Franzmann. Performed February 9 2020

2019 Examples

Strange Lands 11 year old Amani’s experience of leaving her homeland and making a home in Cumbria

July 2019 – Here Am I – Exploration of teenage mental health and emotional resilience

July 2019 – Where is Home? – what would happen if a meteorite was to smash into Earth and we had to find a new home?

March – Red Alert – 6 different re-tellings of Little Red Riding Hood

2018 Examples

The Blackberry Pickers and Dead Man’s Penny – part of Kirkgate Heritage’s  Oral History Project to explore Cockermouth during WW1