Britain’s rising stars are back for a new season in the West End with a trio of plays and an appeal for major investment in the arts.
The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (NYT) is presenting a 10-week rep season beginning September 17.
The three shows in this year’s will be: Selfie – a radical re-telling of the Dorian Gray story for the selfie generation, written by Peter Morris and directed by NYT’s artistic director Paul Roseby.
Private Peaceful, the rarely-performed ensemble version of the stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, written by Simon Reade and directed by Paul Hart.
Macbeth – Shakespeare’s play, set in pre-WW1 Austria-Hungary and adapted and directed by Ed Hughes.
“The Scottish Play” will begin previews on the day after Scotland votes in the independence referendum.
Outside of the West End, NYT will stage the Village Ceremonies at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, two new plays starring social inclusion participants at the Arcola Tent and continue its ambitious creative cultural exchange programme in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking alongside NYT alumnus Rosamund Pike, Roseby launched a campaign to raise £100,000 in bursary funds this year to meet increasing need for support from young talent from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Roseby also spoke of the success of last year’s NYT Rep company, the majority of whom have found professional acting work since graduating from the company at the end of last year.
Among those success stories are Tom Prior, who was cast alongside Samuel L Jackson in Kingsman: The Secret Service and in the Stephen Hawking film Theory of Everything with Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones; and Abigail Rose, who has landed roles in the film adaptation of London Road, and the BBC TV series Atlantis.
Simon Lennon is in South Africa filming a BBC1 drama; Daisy Whalley is touring the UK as one of the female leads in Headlong’s Spring Awakening and Sope Dirisu was cast in the Channel 4 dramas Utopia and The Mill, as well as a role at the Royal Court Theatre.
Aruhan Galieva is playing one of the leads in the BBC TV adaptation of The Glasgow Girls, and Niall McNamee is filming a new First World War drama, also for BBC TV.
In all, ten of the 15 company members have found professional employment as actors since graduating from the Rep, and all have been signed by leading talent agents including Independent Talent, Markham Froggatt and Irwin and Conway Van Gelder Grant.
Roseby said: “The Rep company was established to provide an exciting, exacting and affordable West End boot camp for talented young actors, at a time when the value of higher education is being questioned by young people around the UK.
“To see the first company achieve such success so soon after leaving is testament to their own ability, but also to the invaluable experience they received on stage in the West End for 10 weeks with the National Youth Theatre.
“I call on commercial venues and producers to work with us to build on this success and launch the careers of more young acting and backstage talent.”
As the successful recipient of the Bryan Forbes NYT Rep Assistant Director Bursary, Alice Knight will be assistant director on all three productions.
She also receives a £10,000 bursary, mentoring from Jeremy Herrin, and the chance to direct her own scratch performance at The Ambassadors Theatre.
The National Youth Theatre is principally supported by Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and The John Ellerman Foundation.
All three productions will be staged at The Ambassadors Theatre between September 17 and November 28,