The actor spoke to LLLC’s Emma Clarendon about the National Youth Music Theatre’s upcoming production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Beautiful Game at The Other Palace.
Hi Jasper, thank you so much for talking to me. How are you feeling about returning to the National Youth Music Theatre?
Great! It’s been a long time. Can’t quite consider myself youthful anymore, except in spirit.
What are your favourite memories of your time at the National Youth Music Theatre in the 1970s?
It wasn’t actually the NYMT, back then, it was a school play written and devised by a very talented trio including Jeremy James Taylor… We rehearsed it for nine months as the piece was created by and for us. It was an extraordinary time, the summer of ’76. Not dissimilar to the summer of ’18. I remember looking up at the sky on the opening night, it was such a deep, dark blue. JJT was one of Frank Dunlop’s directors at the Young Vic and got us all up to the Edinburgh Festival where we won a Fringe First. The whole thing was magic from start to finish. JJT created the NYMT from the success of that first production of The Ballad Of Salomon Pavey.
Do you think that being a part of the National Youth Music Theatre helped at the start of your acting career and if so, in what way?
Yes, in that we were treated as professional actors, and as such, very high standards were expected of us. It was a challenge, for a bunch of 12/13-year-olds. It took me another 14 years before I got my first acting job…
What would you say makes the National Youth Music Theatre so special?
It gives young people of talent and ability a chance to get into the arts, regardless of class, creed or privilege.
What can audiences who aren’t familiar with the show expect from it? A very grown-up story which surprised me when I read it. I’m joining the cast who, I believe, have already done the show. They’ll know a lot more than me.
How are preparations for the London run going? No idea. I’m trying to learn my lines, because there’s not going to be a long rehearsal period, and I’m going to have a bash at the songs with the MD next week.
By Emma Clarendon
The National Youth Music Theatre will present The Beautiful Game at The Other Palace from the 15th to the 18th August. For more information visit: https://www.theotherpalace.co.uk/whats-on/the-beautiful-game