Gavi Singh Chera to Make Professional Debut in National Theatre's BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS, 10 November

Gavi Singh Chera to Make Professional Debut in National Theatre's BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS, 10 November

Gavi Singh Chera, a member of the National Youth Theatre's Playing Up course in 2014, will make his professional stage debut at the National Theatre in David Hare's new play Behind the Beautiful Forevers, alongside Meera Syal and Stephanie Street, directed by Rufus Norris.

The cast will also include former NYT member Shane Zaza, who recently appeared in the ITV drama Happy Valley.

Chera, 19, from Leatherhead said: "To work at the National Theatre is a dream come true, and what I learned with the National Youth Theatre put me in great stead for the part I auditioned for in Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Playing Up has been the most exhilarating experience I have ever had creating theatre. It has been sensational. I was exposed to people from all over Britain, from different classes and races and regions. That's why I'd recommend to anyone to join the National Youth Theatre, because it broadens your horizons"

This is the latest success for the NYT's Playing Up course, now in its fifth year. The course is a free ten-month talent development programme for young people who are at risk or not in education, employment or training.

95% of this year's students have been offered places on higher or further education courses, at institutions including Bristol Old Vic, Central School of Speech and Drama, East 15 and Rose Bruford. Other former members of Playing Up have gone on to roles in Youngers (E4), The Smoke (Sky1), The Musketeers (BBC) and at theatres such as West Yorkshire Playhouse, Soho Theatre and the Roundhouse.

Overall, Playing Up has an 85% success rate of moving young people into higher education, further training or employment. 55% of this year's Playing Up members were BAME and all previous cohorts have included a similar level of diversity.

Paul Roseby, Artistic Director of the NYT, said "Gavi's success and our Playing Up course proves that acting talent amongst young people in Britain isn't the prerogative of any one class, ethnicity or region, despite opportunities for diverse talent in the industry at times suggesting otherwise. I'm thrilled for Gavi who fully deserves to make his debut at the National Theatre. His success is testament to his exciting raw talent and the quality and value of this free vocational opportunity."

Directed by Rufus Norris, Behind The Beautiful Forevers is a new play by David Hare from the book by Katherine Boo. It begins previews on 10 November as part of the Travelex £15 Tickets season, with press night on 18 November. The production will be designed by Katrina Lindsay, with lighting by Paule Constable and sound by Paul Arditti.

Katherine Boo spent three years in Annawadi recording the lives of its residents. From her uncompromising book, winner of the National Book Award for Non-Fiction 2012, David Hare has fashioned a tumultuous play on an epic scale.

NYT is proud to acknowledge funding for Playing Up in the 2013/14 academic year from the following organisations: City and Islington College, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Henry Smith Charity, Islington Consortium Creative Employment Programme (via London Borough of Islington), The Goldsmiths' Company.

The project is part-financed by the European Union. City and Islington College receives support from the European Social Fund.

More information at www.nyt.org.uk.

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