Youth Music Theatre UK Sets Summer Season

Youth Music Theatre UK Sets Summer Season

In its tenth anniversary year, YOUTH MUSIC THEATRE UK (YMT) launches a groundbreaking season of international work in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to be produced during the summer of 2014. Contemporary classical music rubs shoulders with dubstep, jazz and Persian mugham. Musical theatre songs are juggled with polyphonic singing, and both physical theatre and actor musicianship are centre stage. Young talented composers, directors and writers stand alongside icons of the theatre.

Youth Music Theatre UK is the country's leading music theatre company for young people aged 11-21, offering top quality training and mentoring and a proven way for young people to enter the creative industries - whether as a performer, musician, stagehand or administrator. YMT, as one of eight National Youth Music Organisations, is supported and recognised by Arts Council England and the Department for Education. YMT is the largest commissioner of new musical theatre in the UK, with a focus on the staging of new musical theatre and the development of the creative and social skills of young people.

Casts are chosen from the many hundreds of talented young people who auditioned nationwide in January and February this year. The very best are selected to join YMT and they rehearse and perform these productions during a two-week residential summer course.

ALI & NINO, which will premiere at the South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell (23-24 August), marks the beginning of a major project working with theatres in Georgia and Azerbaijan, with the Tblisi International Theatre Festival and diaspora communities in the UK, to bring this international bestselling novel to the stage.

ALI & NINO is one of the world's few 'foundling' novels whose authorship is still disputed. Set in the Middle East during the First World War, on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution, a young Muslim Prince falls in love with a Christian Georgian Princess. Ali and Nino find themselves swept up in Azerbaijan's fight for independence in this timeless and haunting story, a testament to the strength of love in a war torn world.

With a text in English, Azeri and Georgian, music drawing on influences from Georgian polyphonic singing and Persian mugham, and performers drawn from all three countries, this promises to be one of YMT's most ambitious projects to date. Directed by National Theatre of Scotland director Joe Douglas with music by Tarek Merchant, this initial development of ALI & NINO marks the beginning of a major international collaboration with theatres in the Caucuses. ALI & NINO is produced in association with South Hill Park Arts Centre Bracknell

Ali and Nino will also go into production for a major screen adaptation in autumn 2014. Directed by Asif Kapadia, director of the acclaimed 'Senna', it is scripted by Christopher Hampton and produced by Kris Thykier of Peapie Films.

Other YMT Summer productions include Terry Pratchett's SOUL MUSIC at the Rose Theatre Kingston (28-31 August).

SOUL MUSIC is Terry Pratchett's 16th Discworld novel and follows the short-lived but glamorous musical career of 'The Band with Rocks In", a group of musicians who become famous after their leader, Imp Y Celyn - Welsh for 'bud of the holly' - becomes possessed by the essence of an addictive new music dubbed 'Music With Rocks In'. The band briefly becomes 'more popular than cheeses'.

Directed by Luke Sheppard, Associate Director of the RSC's Matilda in London and New York and helmer of Broadway transfer of In The Heights, playing at the Southwark Playhouse from May, the show has been adapted by stand-up comedian Andrew Doyle. With original music by Craig Adams, recently nominated for Best Original Music at the WhatsOnStage Awards for LIFT and Thérèse Raquin at the Finborough, SOUL MUSIC is choreographed by Cressida Carré, winner of the Off West End award for Best Choreography for Titanic.

YMT will also present two new productions in Northern Ireland, an actor musician production of MACBETH at the Lyric Theatre Belfast and TRIPTYCH, based around the poetry of TS Elliot Prize-winner Sinéad Morrissey. The show will be presented at The MAC - Belfast's new arts complex in the revitalised Cathedral Quarter of the City.

YMT's production of MACBETH (23-26 July) is Shakespeare as you've never seen it before. A thrilling new piece of musical theatre, Belfast-born musician Garth McConaghie's sung-through composition heightens Shakespeare's classic text. Adapted and directed by Stuart Harvey (Senior Youth Theatre Leader for Chichester Festival Theatre) YMT has created a truly thought-provoking musical version of this classical play, combining fierce electronic music with contemporary choreography from Rachel Birch-Lawson and classic text.

Set in a nameless Asian state in the future, the digital world has imploded as the internet crashes and screens randomly flicker in the corridors of power. Macbeth, an ambitious head of security, monitors groups of young men and women plotting to bring down the establishment. But a super-natural encounter will have epic repercussions. Treachery, deceit and blind ambition are to be found in the shadows of a neo-noir world where no one can be trusted.

TRIPTYCH (2014) will give young performers from the 2014 YMT auditions the chance to work with some of the most exciting and innovative emerging female composers in the UK and from abroad.

YMT will be selecting three female composers under the age of 30 through an open application process and then commissioning from them three new works for rehearsal by the YMT company. Open to both British and international composers, YMT is looking for young women with something to say about the future of the world we live in and their place in it. The works will based around themes suggested by Sinéad Morrissey's poetry; Sinéad is one of Northern Ireland's most respected poets and recently won the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry. She is also the Creative Writing Lecturer at Queen's University Belfast. TRIPTYCH will be directed by Kath Burlinson and choreographed by Heather Douglas, who has performed in numerous West End hits and who also choreographs for the Oxford Theatre Company.

YMT presents two world premiere productions at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth, THE DANCE CONNECTION (15-16 August) and NOT THE END OF THE WORLD (29-30 August).

THE DANCE CONNECTION will combine music with dance and movement with specially created song and improvised vocal soundscapes. Working with recorded music by a range of composers, from the contemporary classical John Tavener and John Adams through modern pop from Björk and Mike Oldfield via Gaelic music and jazz, YMT performers will be creating songs to underscore every genre, resulting in a tapestry of movement and sound. Rachel Birch-Lawson is Movement Director and Conor Mitchell will be composer of voice soundscape.

NOT THE END OF THE WORLD is based on the novel by the award-winning children's author Geraldine McCaughrean. A darkly subversive retelling of the Noah story, the book was first published in 2004 and was the winner of the 2004 Whitbread Children's Book Award. NOT THE END OF THE WORLD is a stunning story that asks what it was really like when the heavens opened and the world drowned - and what might have happened in the days that followed. How did it feel to head into the unknown? And how did it feel to spend day after day shut up with every kind of animal-- hungry, angry and afraid? Directed by Charlotte Conquest, the show will have music by Sonum Batra and choreography from Darrell Aldridge. Charlotte Conquest has been a staff director for Trevor Nunn at The Royal National Theatre, Assistant Director for Michael Attenborough at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Staff Director for Terry Johnson for The Royal National Theatre's tour of The London Cuckolds (starring Caroline Quentin) and Associate Director at the Northcott Theatre.

Continuing a fruitful association with the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, HARVEST FIRE will play at the Lemon Tree Theatre in Aberdeen from 31 July to 1 August.

HARVEST FIRE is a bold, exciting new work created by director Lewis Barfoot as part of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. The inspiration comes from two annual festivals: The Burning Man Festival in America - a week-long festival in the desert, dedicated to radical self-expression and art. And the Harvest Festival (Lúnasa) in Scotland - a traditional time to celebrate the end of the harvest, a time for dancing, feasting, sharing stories and music. HARVEST FIRE mixes the two; candlelight with fire. But something else happens at this time of year- the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead loosens and the spirit world joins the living...

MISS INTERPRETED will play at the Square Chapel Halifax (16-17 August) and is directed by Ellie Jones, responsible for the 2013 YMT hit, According To Brian Haw (Hammersmith Studios), and former artistic director of the Southwark Playhouse. Music is by composer James Atherton whose work can be heard regularly at the New Vic Stoke, Royal Theatre Northampton and whose recent TV credits include the BBC series 'Tales from The National Parks', 'History of Christianity' and 'Around The World In 80 Faiths', ITV's 'Three Lives Of Gandhi' and Film 4's 'All In The Game'.

This is a chance for an all-female cast to experiment with cutting-edge musical theatre, devise new work, explore what it means to reach womanhood in the 21st century and how their futures are dictated.

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