Youth Theatre on the lookout for brilliant new talent

Date published: 08 January 2019

The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (NYT) will be heading to Manchester this month and next as part of a UK-wide search to find undiscovered talent to join the nation’s leading youth arts organisation.

Successful applicants will join a celebrated company of hand-picked young talent, following in the footsteps of alumni including Helen Mirren, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Craig, Matt Smith an Manchester’s own Sair Khan, who is seen in Coronation Street and on 2018’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. 

This year local acting auditions will take place at the Royal Exchange Theatre on February 19, 20, 21, 23 and 24 and the Hope Studios on January 19 and 20, with backstage interviews taking place at Hope Studios on January 19 and 20. 

Downton Abbey and Paddington actor Hugh Bonneville, who is a National Youth Theatre Patron and alumnus, said: "Becoming a member of the NYT changed my life.

"The chance for young people to explore their creative talents is essential for their development.

"For some, taking part in drama can inspire a career in the creative industries; for all, it provides invaluable skills, building confidence in communication and self-expression.”  

Following auditions for NYT’s Summer Acting Course, successful applicants aged 14-17 will gain a space on NYT’s Junior Acting Course; successful applicants aged 18-25 will join NYT’s three-week Senior Acting Course or a four-week Epic Stages Course.  

Intake courses take place in Summer, 2019.

Freddie Hughes-Stanton and Olivia Dowd (Macbeth) in NYT's Macbeth at the Garrick Theatre

Acting auditions consist of a three-hour group workshop and an individual performance of a prepared speech.

Speeches should be from a published play and learned by heart.  

The NYT membership that participants receive allows them the opportunity to showcase their acting abilities through NYT productions, locally, nationally and internationally and develop their skills working with the industry’s top professionals.

Participants can also be considered to be part of the NYT REP Company, a free alternative to formal training that offers workshops with leading practitioners and the chance to perform three productions in an established London venue.

With 2018 marking its sixth year, over 95% of REP Company participants have gone on to work professionally in the creative industries with alumni including Sope Dirisu (2013), recently seen in the Young Vic’s The Brothers Size and in the title role of the RSC’s Coriolanus, Seraphina Beh (2016) who won Best Emerging Actress Award at the IARA Awards 2017 and was cast as Madison Drake in EastEnders after being spotted in the REP and Lauren Lyle (2015), who stars as Marsali in the Amazon Prime drama series Outlander.

This year, 56% of the REP Company were actors of colour and over half from low-income backgrounds. 

The backstage programme provides practical experience, allowing participants to develop skills within a range of fields including lighting, sound, scenic construction, stage management or costume.  

Auditions cost £46 and the NYT operates a bursary fund for those suffering from financial hardship.

Last year it awarded over £650,000 worth of bursaries to over 300 young people enabling them to engage in the opportunities with the NYT. 

Applicants must apply at least 48 hours before each audition day and the final audition day will take place on March 31 in London.  

More information on the courses and how to join can be found on the National Youth Theatre’s website at: and you can follow the organisation on Twitter: @NYTofGB.

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