National Youth Theatre 2010 Showreel from IdeasTap on Vimeo.
Over a summer of uncertainty for both the arts and our young people, at National Youth Theatre we’ve once again seen the spectacular results of investing in the aspiration and potential of emerging British talent.
In 2010 have worked with 24,500 young people. Our national interviews, auditions and courses have discovered, engaged and invested in the potential of more young people than ever before. Working with puppet specialists Kinetica, our innovative Stadium Arts Courses continue to break new artistic ground whilst nurturing the creative and personal development of new members.
We’ve also showcased young British talent on professional platforms across the UK and around the world. In July 2010, we performed a bi-lingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at both the Shanghai World Expo and on London’s South Bank. Working with our online partner IdeasTap, we digitally linked two performances staged thousands of miles apart.
In Shanghai, we performed in front of a live audience of around 24,000 over two weeks, millions more on Chinese television and at the two year countdown to the 2012 Olympics we premiered a special NYT ‘London Song’. Our international programme demonstrates that the arts are a perfect platform from which to transform lives and give unique opportunities to our young people.
August 2010 kicked off with the thrilling Ghost Office – a devised, intergenerational community piece at our regional base in the West Midlands which explored the impact of the recession on a community. Our committed presence in Brierley Hill, which also includes a free provision for young people not in education employment or training all year round, is a beacon of possibility and vocational education in the local community.
In August 600 NYT performers swarmed across London from Battersea Power Station to Canary Wharf, displaying the same energy, precision and skill that makes NYT ensemble work infamous, but on a bigger and more ambitious scale than ever before.
In September NYT members told the extraordinary tale of Britain’s first celebrity chef with invention and wit against the stunning backdrop of the Tramshed, Shoreditch. Our wonderfully talented technical department brought the space to life theatrically and performing in front of a paying audience night after night gave our members an invaluable opportunity to hone their technique. Our gastronomic Relish gala night, kindly hosted by Sir Ian McKellen, also raised valuable funds for our bursary pot and indeed our profile as the UK’s leading youth arts organisation.
In Glasgow we staged Stars Over Kabul - a brave new play by Rebecca Lenkiewicz tackling the challenging and pertinent issues surrounding young people in Afghanistan. The production built on our presence in Glasgow over the past few year, established through free open access workshops, and will be followed by a community performance in December.
Last, but in no way least, our Playing Up programme continues to address the heart of the challenges facing young people today, with award winning preventative work tackling: knife crime, unemployment, conflict-resolution and homelessness. The effect of all this work is truly life-changing for our young people.
Over the past fifty five years and indeed the past few months, National Youth Theatre has made history by enriching, entertaining and ultimately changing lives for the better.
It must never be allowed to be just history.
Artistic Director, National Youth Theatre of GB