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National Youth Theatre Announces Summer/Autumn 2019 Season

National Youth Theatre Announces Summer/Autumn 2019 Season

The National Youth Theatre today announces its 2019 Summer and Autumn Season which will feature an extended 7th annual REP season of three plays in London, brand new commissions staged in five cities across the UK and festival appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe, Latitude and Bradford Literature Festival. This is the first time the majority of NYT's summer / autumn season productions will be staged outside of London. Three NYT members have also been appointed as paid Centre Stage Creatives and have also been commissioned to build local NYT networks and create new work in towns around the UK.

Paul Roseby, NYT Artistic Director, said:

"From the ongoing Cambridge Analytica Scandal to the rise of Artificial Intelligence, this season will tackle urgent topical issues that will define the future for our young people for decades to come. We firmly believe that being National means being local and this year's creative programme at venues and festivals around the UK reflects a shift to expand our reach, which has already seen us audition at 70 venues and schools around the UK this Spring. In London we are proud to have extended and expanded our free alternative routes into the industry, the NYT REP Company and Playing Up, offering diverse young talent unique opportunities to learn in front of an audience on leading stages."


The 2019 summer and autumn programme includes an extended REP season which will see the most performances ever in a season. With themes of science and technology running throughout, this REP season will feature an Artificial Intelligence-inspired production of Mary Shelley's gothic story Frankenstein, adapted by Carl Miller and directed by Emily Gray, Artistic Director of Trestle Theatre, and Great Expectations, adapted by Neil Bartlett and directed by the 2019 Bryan Forbes Bursary Director at Southwark Playhouse from 18 October - 30 November. The REP Company will then perform A Midsummer Night's Dream, at the Criterion Theatre directed by Matt Harrison working in association with Kneehigh and abridged by Kate Kennedy running from 6 December to 17 January.

The production of Frankenstein will be accompanied by a free AI Digital Installation, created in partnership with immersive content studio Megaverse. This year all NYT REP productions will include a relaxed performance as part of the NYT's wider Inclusion Programme, which aims to make the charity accessible to young people, artists and audiences with disabilities. All three productions are set-texts and with schools tickets from £15 and free Q&As and educational resource packs the NYT REP aims to offer affordable access to live theatre for school groups, against a backdrop of declining drama in schools. The 2019 Rep cast will be announced in due course and 50% of the company of 16 are actors of colour, continuing the initiatives commitment to discovering Britain's best diverse young talent.

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. Last year's REP cast included Oseloka Obi who is now appearing in The Son at Kiln Theatre, Isabel Adomakoh Young who has since performed in Venice Preserved with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Dear Elizabeth at The Gate Theatre, Laurie Ogden will appear in Napoli, Brooklyn at the Park Theatre, Jeffery Sangalang who has appeared in the award-winning Boys and Alice Vilanculo in Bottled; both at Vault Festival. Previous REP alumni also include: Kwami Odoom who will appear in The Half God of Rainfall at The Kiln, Hannah Morrish who has just been nominated for an Ian Charleston award, Seraphina Beh who will appear in the new series of Netflix's Top Boy and Sope Dirisu, who will star as a lead in Gangs of London for Sky Atlantic.


NYT's social inclusion course 'Playing Up' returns in 2019 with the brand new play SUMMER FEST by Yolanda Mercy, which is set at a festival. The production will run from 10-13 July at the Bunker Theatre in London and will be directed by Soho Theatre Resident Director Lakesha Arie-Angelo.

Now in its 11th year, the course, for 19 - 24 year olds not in full time education, employment or training, creates productions and commissions new work. It has an 85% success rate of moving young people into higher education, further training or employment. 50% of the young people in NYT's 2018/19 company are actors of colour. This year NYT introduced Stepping Up, a new free course for young people aged 19 - 24 who are at risk and or not in employment, education or training, doubling the free opportunities available through the programme.

Recent alumni of Playing Up include Ria Zmitrowicz, one of the leads in Three Sisters at the Almeida Theatre, Jacob Beswick currently in rehearsals for The Crucible at the Yard Theatre, Rachel Jackson in feature film The Party's Just Beginning and Alice Vilanculo who was part of the 2018 NYT REP Company and recently starred in Bottled at the Vault Festival.


This year, NYT will expand and build upon its work around the UK with a series of nationwide play commissions, free workshops and festival appearances.

Edinburgh Festival

After premiering at the Criterion in 2018, F-Off, a play created by NYT's Artistic Director Paul Roseby, Evening Standard's 'one to watch' writer Tatty Hennessy and the NYT Company will be staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at Belly Button, Underbelly venue from 2 August. This production sees the Facebook generation put the social network on trial. A cast of 12 interrogate the highs and lows of Facebook, acting as judge and jury as they delve into the darkest depths of social media.

Paul Roseby OBE is a broadcaster and CEO and Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. Last year he was awarded an OBE for services to young people and drama. In over 5 years as CEO and 15 as Artistic Director he has commissioned over 200 plays. Pioneering innovations at NYT under Paul's leadership include the NYT REP Company, a free alternative to expensive formal training, a ground-breaking international cultural exchange programme in Saudi Arabia and China and performances at the Beijing 2008 Olympics Handover Ceremony, the London 2012 Olympics and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Paul's directing credits include Story of our Youth - a Diamond Anniversary Gala at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London's West End, Generation X for Sky Arts, the London 2012 Welcome Ceremonies, Relish by James Graham, When Romeo Met Juliet for BBC2, Silence by Moira Buffini and Tom Stoppard's abridgement of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice at the Royal Opera House and the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing. Paul has also written and presented a number of shows on Radio 4 and presented TV shows on Channel 5, UKTV and the BBC. He is a member of the Global Futures Advisory Board.

Tatty Hennessy is a director, writer and dramaturg. She has been an assistant director at Shakespeare's Globe, including on the Globe to Globe World Tour of Hamlet, and an associate director at the Lyric, Hammersmith. She is an associate director with Merely Theatre, a gender-blind touring Shakespeare rep company. Tatty was dramaturg for Portia, by Lindsay Dukes at Theatre 503, and has also developed In Soft Wings by Hugh Salmon and Trusting Atoms by Rowena Fletcher-Wood. She is currently developing a new one woman play A Hundred Words for Snow.


New play Lost Boys by award-winning playwright and NYT alumnus Luke Barnes (All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, Bottleneck), will explore the themes of identity, place and toxic masculinity in post-industrial towns. Previously developed through workshops in Skelmersdale at Hope Theatre in 2018, the production will be directed by Zoe Lafferty (The Host, Queens of Syria) and will run at the Unity Theatre from 4-11 September followed by a tour of community venues around Merseyside.

Luke Barnes is an award-winning northern playwright from Formby, Liverpool. His first play Chapel Street was selected as one of the top 5 new plays off West End in 2011 by The Stage and he was shortlisted for an award for most promising playwright.

Zoe Lafferty was named one of Vogue's Major Players of British Theatre and Vanity Fair's 14 British Theatre Talents Ready to Break Out.


Asif Khan's new comedy Imaam Imraan follows the story of an actor-turned-Imaam. Directed by Iqbal Khan, this production will run from 1 - 4 July at Kala Sangam at Bradford Literature Festival.

Asif Khan is an award-winning writer, he was recognised in the 'BBC New Talent Hotlist 2017 ' for new writers, won the Channel 4 Playwright's Scheme which celebrates emerging British playwriting talent and is a member of the Tamasha Playwrights Group. His play Combustion was selected for the Arcola Theatre's PlayWROUGHT Festival in 2014, other works include The Lady, The Plot and Willkommen. Khan has also appeared on stage, his acting credits include A Passage To India (Royal & Derngate and Park Theatre), Love, Bombs & Apples (Arcola), The Hypocrite (RSC/HullTruck), Handbagged (Tricycle Theatre and UK Tour), Punjabi Boy (RichMix), Multitudes (Tricycle Theatre) and Twelfth Night (National Theatre) and TV series Spooks.


Migration, My Nation, a new three-year national heritage project asking 'where are we from?' In its first year it will be directed by Sam Hardie and part-devised with NYT members at the Albany Theatre in Coventry in August before travelling to other towns and cities in 2020 and 2021.


NYT are thrilled to have a dedicated performance space at Latitude this year to showcase members' talent in The Faraway Forest. Alongside this, in celebration of the upcoming 50-year anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, The Astronaut Wives Club by Al Smith directed by Bea Holland will be performed in The Faraway Forest at Latitude Festival in Suffolk from 18-21 July.

This year also sees the launch of Spoken World, a new spoken word programme at NYT, bringing together emerging and established artists to explore the ways poetry, theatre and performance interact. Supporting the voices, writers, and spoken word artists in the NYT company - Spoken World will see workshops take place in various locations across the UK, and an environmentally-themed spoken word performance piece at Latitude Festival.

2020 Commissions

As part of NYT's ongoing commitment to new voices, writers and artists including Nessah Muthy, Athena Stevens, Ann Akin, Iman Qureshi, Chris Bush and Stephanie Street are currently under commission to create new works exploring issues that will affect young people in 2020 and beyond. Three of these will explore the contested ground of disability, equality and inclusion, as part of NYT's burgeoning commitment to expanding the range of voices on and off stage and on screen and film. NYT's Inclusion Programme partners include Diverse City, Deafinitely Theatre and SEN school Highshore in Southwark. Further information about this can be found here.

Centre Stage Creatives

Supported by the Foyle Foundation, early-career artists from the NYT membership around the UK are to be awarded seed-funding to create work and connect local NYT membership to creative opportunities in their region and to create local membership networks.

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