National Youth Theatre

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National Youth Theatre
National Youth Theatre (logo).svg
Founded 1956
Founder Michael Croft
Kenneth Spring
Type Registered charity and company limited by guarantee
Registration no. 306075
Key people Paul Roseby
(CEO and Artistic Director)
Slogan Discovering Epic Talent
Website www.nyt.org.uk

The National Youth Theatre is a registered charity in London. It is committed to the creative, personal, and social development of young people through the medium of creative arts, and aims to use theatre to help in the personal and social development of young people.[1] It was founded in 1956 as the world's first youth theatre,[2] and has built a reputation as a breeding ground for renowned British actors such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Ben Kingsley, Derek Jacobi, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rosamund Pike, Colin Firth, and Orlando Bloom.[3]

Each year, the National Youth Theatre holds acting auditions and technical theatre interviews around the UK; on average, it receives over 4,000 applicants. Currently, around 500 places are offered on summer intake acting and technical courses (in costume, lighting and sound, scenery and prop making, and stage management), which offer participants membership of the National Youth Theatre upon completion.[4] National Youth Theatre members are eligible to audition for the company's productions, which are staged in London's West End, around the UK, and internationally.[5]

The National Youth Theatre's members staged the Olympic and Paralympic Team Welcome Ceremonies at the London 2012 Games in the Athletes' Village.[6] In 2013, it raised their age limit to 25 and introduced a new six-week summer course called Epic Stage to cater for performance and production talent in their new upper age group of 18–25.[7] In summer 2014, National Youth Theatre will stage the Village Ceremonies at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.[8]

History[edit]

The National Youth Theatre in Holloway, London.

The National Youth Theatre was founded in 1956 by Michael Croft, aided by Kenneth Spring.[9] Croft had been responsible for producing a number of school plays at Alleyn's Boys' School; following his departure, he was approached by a number of pupils from the school to continue working together on productions in school holidays. The first production of Henry V created something of a stir. At the time, it was unusual for young actors to be performing Shakespeare, and this innovative venture attracted the attention of a curious public. Amongst the first audiences were Richard Burton and Sir Ralph Richardson, who had agreed to become the first President of what Croft called "The Youth Theatre". The organisation evolved rapidly throughout the UK involving young people on a national basis.

Croft died in 1986 and was succeeded by Edward Wilson as Director. Building on Croft's successful vision, Wilson took the company forward into new territory, increasing its range of activities and reinforcing its approach to technical production values. Wilson also recognised the opportunity to extend the organisation to more disadvantaged young people, and started the first Outreach department in 1989, working initially with young offenders and gradually widening the opportunities to other socially excluded groups. Wilson also secured the organisation's current headquarters in North London, which now houses all of its production facilities, including rehearsal rooms, scenery and costume workshops, sound studios, photographic dark rooms, and administration offices.

Wilson left the company in 2004 when Sid Higgins (Executive Director), John Hoggarth (Artistic Director), and Paul Roseby (Artistic Director) took over. Since then, they have built on the legacy inherited from Croft and Wilson, and the organisation has continued to expand its opportunities to young people from a more diverse background through a wider range of theatrical projects and collaborations. Hoggarth stepped down in 2007 and Roseby continues as the organisation's Artistic Director.[10] In 2010, National Youth Theatre moved administrative offices from Holloway Road to the Woolyard on Bermondsey Street. In January 2012, Roseby was appointed as Artistic Director and CEO.

Alumni[edit]

Name Occupation
Kate Adie Journalist
Robert Addie Actor
Orlando Bloom Actor
Remy Blumenfeld Television executive
Alan Booth Travel writer
Hugh Bonneville Actor
Louise Brealey Actress, writer, journalist
Jamie Campbell Bower Actor, singer, model
Mike Bushell Sports presenter
Tom Burke Actor
Joanna Christie Actress, singer
Daniel Craig Actor
Kenneth Cranham Actor
Timothy Dalton Actor
Gareth David-Lloyd Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis Actor
Calvin Dean Actor
Michelle Dockery Actress, singer
Chiwetel Ejiofor Actor
Idris Elba Actor, producer, singer, rapper, DJ
Sophie Ellis-Bextor Singer, songwriter, model, DJ
Shaun Evans Actor
Aruhan Galieva Singer, actress
Romola Garai Actress
Julian Glover Actor
Danielle Harold Actress
David Harewood Actor
Jessica Henwick Actress
Douglas Hodge Actor, director, musician
Tom Hollander Actor
Jessica Hynes Actress, writer
Jeremy Irvine Actor
Derek Jacobi Actor, director
Robbie Jarvis Actor
Alex Jennings Actor
Ellie Kendrick Actress
Ben Kingsley Actor
Alex Kingston Actress
Thomas James Longley Actor, model
Matt Lucas Comedian, screenwriter, actor, singer
Clive Mantle Actor
Matthew Marsden Actor, producer, martial artist, singer
Freya Mavor Actress, model
Gina McKee Actress
Harry Melling Actor
Max Minghella Actor
Helen Mirren Actress
Hazel Monaghan Actress, musician
Hannah New Model, actress
Alec Newman Actor
James Northcote Actor
Chiké Okonkwo Actor
John Oliver Satirist, writer, producer, television host, actor, comedian
Adam O'Brian Actor
Nathaniel Parker Actor
Ed Petrie Actor, comedian, television presenter
Rosamund Pike Actress
Gareth Pugh Fashion designer
Diana Quick Actress
George Rainsford Actor
Charlotte Reather Writer, performer, journalist
Richard Reid Actor
Sam Riley Actor, singer
Andrea Riseborough Actress
Reece Ritchie Actor
Ricky Sekhon Actor
Ed Sheeran Singer, songwriter
Elisabeth Sladen Actress
Ron Smerczak Actor
Matt Smith Actor, director
Sarah Solemani Actress, writer, playwright
Sebastian de Souza Actor, screenwriter, producer
Rafe Spall Actor
Timothy Spall Actor, television presenter
Clive Standen Actor
Dan Stevens Actor, producer
David Suchet Actor
Liza Tarbuck Actress, television and radio presenter
Abigail Tarttelin Author, actress
Catherine Tate Comedian, actress, writer
Jamie Theakston Television and radio presenter, producer, actor
Antonia Thomas Actress
Michael Thomson Actor
Polly Toynbee Journalist, writer
Luke Treadaway Actor
Harry Treadaway Actor
David Walliams Comedian, actor, author, television presenter, activist
Simon Ward Actor
Raymond Waring Actor
Ed Westwick Actor, musician
Paula Wilcox Actress
Beth Winslet Actress, singer
Michael York Actor

Productions[edit]

Traditionally, National Youth Theatre have done most of their work with their members in the summer months, but this is changing more and more. Creative events and performances take place throughout the year, courses take place in the Easter holidays, and the company continues to expand its work with young people from all areas of the community.

2009[edit]

The theme of National Youth Theatre's 2009 season was "first timers",[11] which included the following productions:

  • Tits/Teeth – two young girls caught up in a body obsessed world – one comically and one much less so – from disco mania to body dysmorphia, bulimia and Japanese man bras. Written by Michael Wynne.[12]
  • Foot/Mouth – a night of black comedy from dismembered washed up feet to a world governed by a control of language. Written by John Nicholson and Steven Cann.[13]
  • Eye/Balls – the tale of a young student's attempt at paying off her loan by joining the sex trade, and for sloppy seconds the author is grabbing the subject of young men away on a stag night by the balls! Written by Sarah Solemani.[14]
  • Fathers Inside – based on true stories from inside male prisons. Following on from the Child’s Play programme using active theatre techniques to explore the challenges faced by young fathers in Rochester Young Offenders Institute, the National Youth Theatre mounted a scratch performance of Fathers Inside at the Soho Theatre studio in 2008 with a mixed cast of NYT members and participants from the social inclusion programme.[15]
  • Skunk – explores the effects that smoking the hydroponic weed, or skunk, has on young people, how their families are affected, and why this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue today. Loosely based on Kafka's The Metamorphosis.[16]

National Youth Theatre's 2009 intake members performed a 'Stadium Arts' show outside the Laban Dance Centre in Deptford, south-east London. The performances lasted approximately 25 minutes and consisted of a combination of all the course cohorts work to create an ensemble physical theatre performance.

2010[edit]

The theme of National Youth Theatre's 2010 season was "the five elements",[17] which included the following productions:

  • Living the Dream – a re-working of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Shanghai Expo.[18]
  • Ghost Office – a site-specific piece exploring the impact of unemployment in the West Midlands, caused by the recession.[19]
  • S'warm – a 500-strong cast of young actors swarming around London from Battersea Power Station to Canary Wharf in a new style of street spectacle.[20]
  • Casino 52 – an online drama produced by the National Youth Theatre in association with IdeasTap.[21]
  • Relish – a play about the superstar Victorian chef Alexis Soyer at the Tramshed in the heart of buzzing Shoreditch. Written by James Graham.[22]
  • Stars Over Kabul – a tale of modern love and loss set against Afghan Star, the TV talent show that swept the nation. Written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz.[23]

2010's intake members again performed their "stadium arts" presentations at the Laban Centre. The theme this year was "the foreigner".[24]

2011[edit]

The theme of National Youth Theatre's 2011 season was "the F word: fear, faith, and fundamentalism",[25] which included the following productions:

  • Our Days of Rage – a production that saw young actors and writers responding to past riots and protests in North Africa, the Middle East, and in London at The Old Vic Tunnels.[26]
  • Orpheus and Eurydice – Molly Davies' reimagining of the Greek myth set at The Old Vic Tunnels.[27]
  • Slick – a cast of 250 young actors continuing the three-part environmental trilogy at Sheffield's Park Hill estate.[28]
  • Ghost Office – a site-specific piece of interactive theatre written by Rachel Clive that takes its audience on a journey through redundant spaces, bringing them and their stories to life in the Lighthouse building in Glasgow.[29]

National Youth Theatre's 2011 intake members performed at the Watch This Space Festival outside the National Theatre. This was the first time the "stadium arts" course's work was open to the public. The theme was "welcoming the world".[30]

2012[edit]

In summer 2012, National Youth Theatre created and performed the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Team Welcome Ceremonies, with 200 of its young member welcoming 20,000 Olympians and Paralympians to the Athletes' Village in the Olympic Park with 200 performances.[31]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nyt.org.uk
  2. ^ "Time to apply to National Youth Theatre". 3 December 2009. 
  3. ^ Whitney, Hilary (17 Jul 2006). "It's a stage they've all been through". London: Daily Telegraph. 
  4. ^ "Matt Lucas urges future stars to join youth theatre that inspired him". Evening Standard. 23 December 2009. 
  5. ^ "Bridging different worlds for National Youth Theatre". Metro. 11 August 2008. 
  6. ^ "'Two weeks that could change your lives': Team GB athletes given carnival welcome to the Olympic Village". Daily Mirror. 24 July 2012. 
  7. ^ http://www.thestage.co.uk/columns/education-training/2013/02/a-couple-of-new-courses/
  8. ^ http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2014/01/national-youth-theatre-perform-glasgow-commonwealth-games-ceremonies/
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ drawn from www.nyt.org.uk
  11. ^ "2009 Season: First Timers". Ideastap.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  12. ^ "When your bum looks big in this.. – Theatre". Bexley Times. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  13. ^ Reviewed by Michael Coveney (2009-08-31). "Foot / Mouth, Soho Theatre, London – Reviews – Theatre & Dance". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  14. ^ Maddy Costa (2009-08-21). "Eye/Balls | Theatre review | Stage". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  15. ^ Garner, Richard (2009-06-30). "National Youth Theatre gives youngsters a break – Education News – Education". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  16. ^ Lyn Gardner (2009-09-10). "Skunk | Theatre review | Stage". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  17. ^ "National Youth Theatre of Great Britain Closes LIVING THE DREAM 7/30". 30 July 2010. 
  18. ^ "National Youth Theatre of Great Britain Announces LIVING THE DREAM et al for 2010 Season". Westend.broadwayworld.com. 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  19. ^ August 9, 2010 (2010-08-09). "Ghost Office – National Youth Theatre – Waterfront on Friday and Saturday | Brierley Hill Blog". Brierleyhill.org. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  20. ^ Posted on 19 August 2010 Written by Jake Orr (2010-08-19). "Review: S’Warm, National Youth Theatre | A Younger Theatre". Ayoungertheatre.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  21. ^ "Casino 52 Launches!". Ideastap.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  22. ^ Posted on 07 September 2010 Written by Jake Orr (2010-09-07). "Review: Relish, National Youth Theatre | A Younger Theatre". Ayoungertheatre.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  23. ^ "Stars Over Kabul". Ideastap.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  24. ^ from IdeasTap Plus 2 years ago (2010-11-05). "National Youth Theatre 2010 Showreel on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  25. ^ "NYT at The Old Vic Tunnels". Ideastap.com. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  26. ^ "BBC News – National Youth Theatre brings 'rage' to London stage". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-08-22. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  27. ^ Henry Hitchings (2011-08-31). "Orpheus and Eurydice, Old Vic Tunnels – review – Theatre & Dance – Arts – London Evening Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  28. ^ Youngs, Ian (2011-09-02). "BBC News – Sheffield housing estate made star of theatre show". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  29. ^ "Events: Ghost Office, Glasgow". IdeasTap. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  30. ^ http://vimeo.com/33228021
  31. ^ http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/team-gb-athletes-given-carnival-1163511

External links[edit]