National Youth Theatre is hosting free auditions in Scarborough in 2020

The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (NYT) is heading to Scarborough in search of young people aged 14-25 who are invited to take part in a free drama workshop, and a free local audition day taking place at Scarborough TEC on Sat 15 Feb and Sat 7 March.

Successful applicants will join a celebrated company of hand-picked young talent, following in the footsteps of alumni including Helen Mirren, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Craig, Matt Smith, Hugh Bonneville and more.

The National Youth Theatre’s Auditions Access Fund is a scheme, supported by NYT Patron Hugh Bonneville, which supports free drama workshops and audition days across the UK, for young people with limited access to the arts. Each year, the National Youth Theatre works with 10 partners nationally to deliver this free activity to young people who may not otherwise feel able to engage with drama. As well as Scarborough, 2020 partner areas include Widnes, Pool, Derry, Mold and Glasgow.

Young people from each partner organisation will be taking part in the activity, but applications are also open to all local young people aged 14-25 who are interested. No prior experience of drama is necessary.

Last year, over 200 young people took part in the Auditions Access Fund scheme, and a further 5000 young people auditioned for National Youth Theatre at over 60 venues around the UK. The NYT membership that participants receive if they successfully audition allows them the opportunity to showcase their acting abilities through NYT productions, locally, nationally and internationally and develop their skills working with the industry’s top professionals. Participants can also be considered to be part of the NYT REP Company, a free alternative to formal training that offers workshops with leading practitioners and the chance to perform three productions in an established London venue.

Doctor Who and The Crown actor Matt Smith, who is a National Youth Theatre Patron and alumnus, has offered his advice to auditionees:

“Pick a speech that you like, work as hard as you can and try your absolute best, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you don’t get in this year there’s always next year. It’s a great company and if you work hard, apply yourself and bring the right sprit it’s a place where you can really learn and develop and a company that will nurture you.”

Following auditions for NYT’s Summer Acting Course, successful applicants aged 14-17 will gain a space on NYT’s Junior Acting Course; successful applicants aged 18-25 will join NYT’s three-week Senior Acting Course or a four-week Epic Stages Course.  Intake courses take place in August. Acting auditions consist of a three-hour group workshop and an individual performance of a prepared speech – which may be from a published play, or may take the form of a poem or story.

Young people can apply to take part in the free Auditions Access Fund by heading to www.nyt.org.uk/aaf. Individuals who work with young people who might be suitable, including teachers, youth group leaders, and support workers can also get in touch directly via [email protected]

Alternative ways to take part

National Youth Theatre’s annual roadshow of Auditions and Backstage Interviews visits venues across the UK from Nov 2019–March 2020, including Hull, Leeds, and York.

Acting auditions and backstage audition course dates can be booked and purchased via www.nyt.org.uk/auditions for £39 or £46. Bursaries, Fee Waivers and Travel Bursaries are available.

For the first time in 2020, the NYT is also launching a Digital Auditions scheme where applicants can audition remotely by submitting a 5-minute audition video for just £5. This is available to young people who live 25 miles or more away from their nearest audition venue or who face other access barriers related to socio-economic circumstances, geography, disability, neuro-diversity and/or mental health, for example.

The NYT operates an extensive access programme for those suffering from financial hardship – including free auditions at 10 venues through the NYT’s Auditions Access Fund, Fee Waiver Auditions, Audition Fee and Travel Bursary Support through the NYT Bursary Fund, free accessible auditions through the NYT Inclusion Programme and the NYT Playing Up Company. 120 free auditions can also be won through social media network TikTok. Last year, the organisation awarded over £650,000 worth of bursary support to over 300 young people enabling them to engage in opportunities with the NYT.

More information on the courses and how to join can be found on the National Youth Theatre’s website at www.nyt.org.uk and you can follow the organisation on Twitter @NYTofGB.