The National Youth Theatre extends its West End season

Private Peaceful

The National Youth Theatre has opened its second rep season in the West End with the announcement that it has already had to extend the run.

The group is also celebrating by having three of its “graduates” make their professional stage debuts.

The companys West End season is running at the Ambassadors Theatre with three productions – Selfie, the brand new adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray; Private Peaceful, adapted from Michael Morpurgo’s Award-winning novel; and Macbeth.

Selfie.

The season has been extended by two weeks to include six extra performances.

Meanwhile Gavinder Singh Chera, Simon Lennon and Zainab Hasan, all on stage with the NYT in 2013, are making their professional debuts at the National Theatre, the Almeida Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse.

Chera, 19, from Mitcham, appears in Behind the Beautiful Forevers at the National from November 18 while, across the river, 22-year-old Londoner Zainab Hasan is now in the cast of Henry IV at the Donmar and Simon Lennon, 20, from Liverpool, is in Our Town at the Almeida which opened last week.

Ten of the fifteen company members of last year’s Rep season have found professional employment as actors since graduating and all have been signed by leading talent agents.

Paul Roseby, artistic director of the NYT, said: “The success of Gavi, Zainab, Simon a is testament to the quality and value of these vital alternative routes into the industry, and of course their unique talent.

“Our recruitment policy is ‘ban the bland’ and to discover the best of young British talent regardless of their background, ethnicity or gender.

“They are the future. We are championing the alternative as we strive to create free opportunities that remove financial barriers and allow diverse talent to thrive.”

This is the latest success for the NYT’s West End Rep season, now in its second year.

The season, which allows the NYT’s very best actors tread the boards in West End theatres and gives members a chance to train by performing in front of paying audiences.

It’s also the latest in a line of triumphs for Playing Up, a free ten-month talent development programme for young people who are at risk or not in education, employment or training.

Nearly all of this year’s Playing Up 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 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.

Selfie, Private Peaceful and Macbeth run in rep until the end of November.

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