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National Youth Theatre at four London venues

Season preview

THE National Youth Theatre has announced its 2018 programme and it includes five productions at three London venues, plus a trip to the circus.

The 2018 summer and autumn programme includes the sixth annual REP season, featuring the world premiere of Victoria’s Knickers by NYT alumnus Josh Azouz (Buggy Baby) directed by Ned Bennett (An Octoroon, Pomona, Buggy Baby, Yen). The play was developed as part of NYT’s 2017 summer Epic Stages course.

Following its 2015 premiere, the REP also stages Writer’s Guild Award winner Evan Placey’s Consensual directed by Pia Furtado exploring teenage testosterone, teacher-pupil relationships and the age of consent in the UK.

Victoria’s Knickers and Consensual will this year take place at Soho Theatre (October 22 to November 10) following five successful seasons at the Ambassadors Theatre.

The REP Company will then perform a gender fluid version of Macbeth at the Garrick Theatre. Abridged by Moira Buffini and directed by Natasha Nixon, it runs from November 20 to December 7.

The NYT REP is inspired by the traditional repertory theatre model and was set up by Paul Roseby in 2012 to provide a much-needed free alternative to expensive formal training whilst embracing the best and diverse young talent to work with leading institutions culminating in three productions in London theatres. This year, 56% of the REP Company are actors of colour and over half come from low-income backgrounds. 25% of actors in this year’s REP Company are Asian, two of whom are from East Asian backgrounds.

REP alumni include Sope Dirisu, recently seen in the Young Vic’s The Brothers Size and in the title role of the RSC’s Coriolanus for which he was nominated for the 2018 Ian Charleston Award alongside fellow REP alumna Hannah Morrish, nominated for her portrayal of Lavinia in the RSC’s Titus Andronicus.

The NYT REP Company 2018. Photo by Helen Maybanks.

The NYT’s summer and autumn programme follows a successful spring season attracting large young audiences for James Fritz’s The Fall and Dennis Kelly’s DNA at Southwark Playhouse, and The Host by Nessah Muthy at St James’s Church Piccadilly.

In London, the 2018 summer programme at the Criterion Theatre sees the Facebook generation put the social network on trial in F-Off, a new part-devised/part-scripted play created by NYT’s Artistic Director Paul Roseby, writer Tatty Hennessy and the NYT Company. A cast of 30 will interrogate the highs and lows of Facebook, acting as judge and jury as they delve into the darkest depths of social media (August 20 and 21).

This will be followed by Function (September 17) a new play about female liberation by up-and-coming writer Sophie Ellerby, whose debut play Three was commissioned by NYT at the Arcola Theatre last year and who has since had new work staged at the 2017 HighTide Festival in Walthamstow. It will be directed by Lynette Linton, who was nominated for Best Director at the Stage Debut Awards in 2017.

This year NYT have launched a new partnership with Diverse City, focussing on its programme to become more accessible to young disabled actors. The programme includes new initiatives, with every pupil at Highshore School, a special educational needs school in Southwark, taking part in a free NYT workshop. NYT Associate Artists will also receive free training from Diverse City on best inclusive practices.

On August 10 and 11, NYT members will take to the National Theatre’s River Stage with the UK’s leading professional circus company, Extraordinary Bodies, (a partnership between Diverse City and Cirque Bijou). Thirty NYT members and Associate Artists will perform with 15 young disabled actors from Highshore School as part of the Community Choir of Extraordinary Bodies’ ground breaking new show, What Am I Worth?.

Image (bottom): The NYT REP Company 2018. Photo by Helen Maybanks.