The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain
The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (NYTofGB or NYT) is a UK registered charity. One of the country’s leading youth arts charities, NYT helps young people develop creative arts skills based around the theatre. It has a prestigious board of directors and benefactors. The National Youth Theatre alumni are breathtakingly impressive.
All applicants for membership attend an audition workshop to compete for a place on a summer course. Only a tiny minority get accepted. Applicants must be 14 by the time the summer course starts and must be no older than 25.
Those who complete the summer course and pay a small annual fee may become a member of the National Youth Theatre. They can compete for a place on future productions.
Because it is so difficult to win an acting place on the National Youth Theatre summer courses and productions, the industry sees membership as an indicator of genuine ability.
If you are applying for representation with an acting agency, membership of the National Youth Theatre will help you stand out from the crowd.
Over several weeks earlier this year, they auditioned more than 5,000 hopefuls for the National Youth Theatre summer courses. Less than one in ten receives an acceptance. If you’re upset or disappointed that you didn’t get the “Congratulations!” email, then read on to see why it isn’t the end of the world.
1. You Had Guts To Audition
You went into an audition knowing nine out of ten people won’t be accepted when the National Youth Theatre audition results are out. Anyone who works as a child actor or young performer knows those odds are no worse than you get with any audition with a casting director. But most people auditioning for NTY have never been through this harsh reality before. It hurts to be rejected, right? But you stood up to the plate and gave it your best shot.
Remember, you walked into a room full of people you didn’t know. You took on board instructions, worked with strangers to make a unique piece of drama, and found your voice as people looked at you from a few feet away. Most people can’t do any of that.
2. You Will Audition Again
Several people at your NYT audition told you your chances of acceptance rise every time you audition. Yes, it’s true. Very few people get in the first time.
So with nine out of ten applicants not getting a place each year, you’ll see them all again at the auditions next year, right?
No. A huge number of them won’t try again. Some of them lose interest or have other things to do. But most people don’t want this badly enough to try again. They thought it might look good on their university application, or just went along because their parents told them to.
So when you turn up next year, and the year after, and maybe every year for five years, the audition panel takes notice. Just turning up shows you really, really want to be there.
3. You Have Time To Get Better
When you attended your NYT audition day, you had to do the following
- Play warm-up games
- Devise an improvised scene in a group
- Deliver a 2-minute monologue
- Talk to the team about your reasons for applying
The first time you do this, it’s all new to you. When you go back next time, you know a bit more about what to expect. Furthermore, you’ll be older, a bit wiser and have more skills than you did last time.
Do you attend a youth theatre or drama classes? You do need to do this on a regular basis. We have a page listing dozens of Youth Theatres in every part of the UK. Even if you somehow come up with an amazing monologue by watching films, improvising with a group takes practice. Some people get private tuition for their monologues. You don’t have to do this by any means, and the group working is seen as more important anyway.
Choose your monologue carefully. We highly recommend you purchase the book of National Youth Theatre Monologues. The National Youth Theatre published this book specifically to help everyone who auditions.
4. You Have Time To Save Money
There are no two ways about it. Attending a National Youth Theatre summer course is expensive. They will try to help by sending a lost of ideas for fundraising. However, if you have a small family and live in a deprived neighbourhood you won’t get far. By having another year or two before attending the course, you have time to save up yourself.
It’s always a good idea to open a bank account early and begin saving young. It will teach you valuable skills about budgeting, saving and spending responsibly. So when your grandma asks what you would like for Christmas, you’ll have a savings account ready for any donation she’d like to make for a future NYTof GB course.
Don’t forget that the National Youth Theatre does offer scholarships. There are only a limited number of them. Plus, you need to be organised with your application supporting documents if you want one.
But don’t walk away from NYT auditions if the cost is the only issue stopping you attending.
5. Look At Backstage Opportunities
All eyes are on the actors. But surrounding every stage are teams of backstage workers. Lights, sound, props, costume, wigs, set designers and builders, stage managers, licensed chaperones, front of house managers, stewards, box office staff and cleaners all play an important role in bringing a play and the audience together. Some of these areas have an industry skills shortage.
The National Youth Theatre runs summer courses for some of the backstage specialisms. They are less competitive to access because the number of applicants is lower. Yet the course tutors are experienced and enthusiastic experts in their field. You get superb, high-quality training in the drama school facilities, and visit the backstage areas of top London venues. Working with a group of NYT actors, you’ll use your new skills to stage a performance at the end of the course.
So if you aren’t sure that acting is the only way you want to be involved with theatre, or you want to be a part of NYT’s exciting programme without having to worry about the impossible odds of getting in, you definitely want to consider the backstage courses!
6. NYT Short Courses
NYT also offers a myriad of short courses for ages 11 to 25. Some of them target groups who typically face barriers to theatre and performance participation.
You may find the access, length, cost, and focus of the short courses are better suited to your situation, resources or creative needs. Furthermore, they may even be a confidence or skills booster as you prepare for next year’s summer course audition.
Well Done – And Keep Going
You tried your best at the audition, even though you knew your chances of getting in were so slim. Furthermore, you read this article to the end so you could learn how to do better next time.
Getting into the NYT courses is never going to be easy. But the more you plan and prepare – and get your face seen in the audition room – the better your chances that one day you’ll get the email you dream of.