Birmingham has a history of celebrating its incredible diversity: one the first super-diverse city in the UK, it boasts an impressive array of cultures, faiths and practises. It is no wonder that Birmingham-based Stage2 Youth Theatre return with their inspiring new show, I Am…, aimed at celebrating the incredible diversity of their actors and sending a plea to the older generation: “Realise that you need to help them too.” 

The show, entirely devised by young people from the area, stands to be “a show by young people for all people”, taking audiences through the ups and downs of family relationships, the struggles of a gay educator, and most importantly the ever-changing experience of being a young person in modern Britain. While the younger generation are talking, is the older one listening? 

“The young generation have a lot of potential. They can change the world as we know it today, do not underestimate them. But also realise that if you are putting that kind of responsibility on them, you need to help them too,” tells me Lauren Brine, during rehearsal, “it is not a deflection, it is a collaboration.” 

Stage2 has a long history of challenging topics, with their recent and notable Lighting The Way: A Climate Change Anthology performed last Christmas at the Crescent Theatre, again directed by Rosie Nisbet. Also devised by members much like this show, it aired deep fears and incredibly mature understanding of young people’s attitudes to political issues; I Am… is no different, with many cast members expressing how the issues impact them daily. 

“You always start to doubt yourself, and when there is no one to ‘pick you up’ because you don’t fit in, it’s hard to be happier… you feel isolated,” says Krrish Mehta, another member of the cast, “we’re all going through struggles. It is so important to empathise”.

The hard-hitting truths of the show are interspersed with moments of heart-warming humour and verbatim from adults voicing their hopes for this generation and admitting the shortcomings of theirs. This lively and mature celebration of Birmingham’s diversity is filled with an electric sense of teenagerhood and all that comes with it, providing a truly unique viewing experience.

Rosie Nisbet once again leads her cast in a show-stopping, quirky and hard-hitting show. Some may feel the urge to dismiss the plea of these young people, but it is plainly evident that they have what it takes to change the world we find ourselves living in, for the better. In the words of Sammy Whiting, one of the youngest members of the cast: “we are all different and that is good, but in the end, we are all human beings.”

Tickets for the show, which runs 20th -23rd Dec 2023, can be found on the Crescent Theatre website.