Teenage Gavi finds Playing Up lands him a role at the National Theatre

Gavi Chera

Surrey teenager, Gavi Singh Chera, is to make his professional debut at the National Theatre after taking the National Youth Theatre’s Playing Up course.

Gavi, 19, will appear in David Hare’s new play Behind The Beautiful Forevers, alongside Meera Syal and Stephanie Street.

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.

“What I learned with the NYT 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 NYT because it broadens your horizons”

This is the latest success for Playing Up, 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.

Paul Roseby, artistic director of the NYT, said: “Gavi’s success proves that acting talent among 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 from the book by Katherine Boo.

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.

It begins previews on November 10.

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