Students audition for the National Youth Theatre

Posted on: 13th Feb

The Downs School was visited by representatives from the National Youth Theatre yesterday, giving students from Years 9-13 the opportunity to audition for a potential place at the world leading youth arts organisation. Alumni include the prestigious acting talents Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Sir Daniel Day-Lewis and Colin Firth.

Students from Years 9 to 13 had applied to take part in morning workshops, which gave them the chance to explore ensemble theatre and how to work with their fellow performers. In the afternoon students performed individual audition pieces in front of the National Youth Theatre Associates.

Students will find out whether they have been successful on 6 May. It is incredibly tough to get a place, with 5000 students across schools, colleges and theatres for 500 places. If successful, students will be invited to join one of the NYTs 2020 Summer courses. Following the course, students will become a NYT Company Member, opening the door to a huge range of opportunities to get involved in NYT productions.

Speaking yesterday, Andrew Hanratty, Associate, National Youth Theatre who ran the event said: “This morning we will do a workshop with all the students, with a structure to introduce participants to how the National Youth Theatre works. The ethos of the NYT is built around the ensemble, everyone is a star. After the break we will work on devised theatre and run lots of exercises and games to get the students all working together. These exercises are verbal and non-verbal. For example we play a game that is the amalgamation of Grandma’s footsteps where students work together to achieve a goal.

“This afternoon student will do a 1:1 audition. They have prepared a speech and will perform that and then we will have a chat so I can get to know them. Today I am looking for engagement, who is engaged; I can tell a lot from a person by their body language. Part of the work we are doing this morning is to help shake off the nerves and make the students feel comfortable in their space. I am looking for people who are committed and engaged and who are having fun.”

Drama teacher Miss Duthie who organised the event reflected on the day saying: “It has been a fantastic day. Our students were exemplary in the workshops and really engaged with the NYT Associates. All the students commented on how much they enjoyed working with students from different year groups, and for those who wish to have a career in the theatre, the audition was a great opportunity to perform in a supportive environment and help prepare them for their future endeavours.”

We wish all the students who took part in the event the best of luck.



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