National Youth Theatre

National Youth Theatre

The National Youth Theatre is a registered charity in London, Great Britain, committed to creative, personal and social development of young people through the medium of creative arts.[1]

The National Youth Theatre aims to use theatre to help in the personal and social development of young people. It is a member of National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS)[2].

It offer a series of acting courses with an emphasis on ensemble playing. The acting courses for new members generally take place in August and are of 12 days duration. During that time, up to thirty young people on each course improvise, devise and perform under the guidance of a professional director and specialist tutors, developing an understanding of performance and learning skills and disciplines which will serve them in the future. The courses culminate in a performance which is presented to other course members. These performances are closed to the public.

In addition to the NYT acting courses, the company also offers extensive and comprehensive Technical Courses for new and existing members to gain practical training and experience in the technical approach to theatre production. These include Lighting & Sound, Stage management, Costume and Scenery & Props. Applicants for the four main technical departments are interviewed, and if successful, join one of the departments to be given specialist training in their respective fields. Under professional supervision by experienced theatre practitioners, the technical members form the production teams for all of the NYT productions.[3]



The National Youth Theatre was founded in 1956 by Michael Croft, aided by Kenneth Spring[4]. Croft had been responsible for producing a number of school plays at Alleyn's Boys' School and 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 Ralph Richardson and being so taken by the achievement, Ralph Richardson immediately agreed to become the company's first President. The organisation evolved rapidly throughout the UK involving young people on a National basis.

Michael 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 building in North London, which now houses all of its production facilities including rehearsal rooms, scenery and costume workshops, sound studio, photographic dark room and administration.

Edward Wilson left the company in 2004 when Sid Higgins (Executive Director), John Hoggarth and Paul Roseby (Artistic Directors) took over. Since then, they have built on the legacy inherited from Michael Croft and Edward Wilson , and the organisation has continued to evolve, expanding its opportunities to young people from a more diverse background through a wider range of theatrical projects and collaborations.

John Hoggarth stepped down in 2007 and Paul Roseby continues as the organisation's Artistic Director.[5]

In 2010 National Youth Theatre moved administrative offices from Holloway Road to the Woolyard on Bermondsey Street and Sid Higgins stepped down as Executive Director and was replaced by James Mackenzie-Blackman.[6]

NYT alumni

Former National Youth Theatre members include:

Current staff


Artistic Director - Paul Roseby

James Mackenzie-Blackman - Executive Director

Artistic Team

Anna Niland- Associate Director

Kane Husbands - Artistic Associate: Regional & International

Beth Watling - Producer

Kate Young - Assistant Producer


Joe Duggan - Policy and Public Affairs Manager

Hayley O'Sullivan - Communications Officer


Richard Wilkinson - Development Manager

Rachel Parslew - Development Associate: International Programmes

Charlotte Rooke - Development Manager

Catherine Higgins - Alumni Relationships Manager

Carolyn McBain - Development Assistant

Finance & Administration

Teresa Szczotka - Senior Finance & Admin Manager

Ann-Marie Hodson - Finance Manager

Mervat Shallouf - Assistant to the Executive Director

Programmes & Partnerships

Alexa Cruickshank - Director of Programmes & Partnerships

Paul Edwards - Youth Programme Manager

Ali Godfrey - Youth Programme Manager

Jon Morris - Youth Programme Manager

Helen Temple - Youth Programme Manager

Jamie Storey - Administrative Producer

Michelle Masangkay - Creative Youth Worker

Current productions

Traditionally, National Youth Theatre have done most of their work with their members in the summer months, but increasingly this is changing. 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.

A full list of previous productions is available on the National Youth Theatre's website [7]

In 2010 National Youth Theatre's 2010 season - 'The Five Elements'[8]

including the following:
  • Living The Dream - a re-working of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Shanghai Expo.
  • Ghost Office – Empty Buildings Filled with Stories’ a site-specific devised piece exploring the impact of unemployment in the West Midlands caused by the recession.
  • S’warm - a 600-strong cast of young actors swarming around London from Battersea Power Station to Canary Wharf in a new style of street spectacle.
  • Relish by James Graham a new play about the superstar Victorian chef Alexis Soyer at the Tramshed in the heart of buzzing Shoreditch.
  • Stars Over Kabul by Rebecca Lenkiewicz – a tale of modern love and loss set against ‘Afghan Star’ the TV talent show that swept the nation.

The theme of National Youth Theatre's upcoming 2011 season is 'The F Word; Fear, Faith and Fundamentalism'.

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ information drawn from
  2. ^ Full list of NCVYS members
  3. ^ information regarding the courses available drawn from
  4. ^
  5. ^ drawn from
  6. ^ Third Sector Magazine
  7. ^
  8. ^ Broadway World

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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