Paul Roseby, artistic director and chief executive of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (NYT) has today announced the company’s summer and autumn programme for 2018, including its season in the West End.
It is has also been announced today that Karen Turner will be NYT’s new executive director. Turner was previously managing director of ICA, and is vice chair at Peckham Platform and a senior associate for Counterculture Partnership
Highlights of the London season include:
- The return for a sixth year this autumn with the world premiere of Josh Azouz’s Victoria’s Knickers, directed by Ned Bennett, and productions of Evan Placey’s Consensual and a gender fluid Macbeth at the Soho Theatre and Garrick Theatre respectively.
- Summer programme at the Criterion Theatre sees Facebook sandal explored in new plat F-Off, directed by Paul Roseby, and the premiere of Sophie Ellerby’s Function.
- Social inclusion course ‘Playing Up’ to stage Tortoise by Mark Weinman at the Bunker Theatre, directed by Matt Harrison.
The 2018 summer and autumn programme includes the sixth annual REP season, featuring the world premiere of Victoria’s Knickers by NYT alumnus Josh Azouz (Buggy Baby) directed by Ned Bennett (An Octoroon, Pomona, Buggy Baby, Yen). The play was developed as part of NYT’s 2017 summer Epic Stages course.
Following its 2015 premiere, the REP also stages Writer’s Guild Award winner Evan Placey’s Consensual directed by Pia Furtado, exploring teenage testosterone, teacher-pupil relationships and the age of consent in the UK.
Victoria’s Knickers and Consensual will this year take place at Soho Theatre (22 October to 10 November 2018) following five successful seasons at the Ambassadors Theatre.
The REP Company will then perform a gender fluid version of Macbeth, at the Garrick Theatre abridged by Moira Buffini and directed by Natasha Nixon, running from 20 November to 7 December.
In January 2019 the REP will present a fourth production, directed by the newly appointed 2018 Bryan Forbes Bursary director Meghan Doyle (co-director of The Letter Room and recently assistant director for East is East – Northern Stage/Nottingham Playhouse and James and the Giant Peach – Northern Stage).
Meghan Doyle said:
“As a working-class female director living in the North East you can imagine that opportunities to work in theatre are scarce, and so it is without exaggeration that this Bursary is life-changing for me.”
In London, the 2018 summer programme at the Criterion Theatre sees the Facebook generation put the social network on trial in F-Off a new part-devised/ part-scripted play created by NYT’s artistic director Paul Roseby, writer Tatty Hennessy and the NYT Company. A cast of 30 will interrogate the highs and lows of Facebook, acting as judge and jury as they delve into the darkest depths of social media (20-21 August).
This will be followed by Function (17 September) a new play about female liberation by up-and-coming writer Sophie Ellerby whose debut play Three was commissioned by NYT at the Arcola Theatre last year and who has since had new work staged at the 2017 HighTide Festival in Walthamstow. It will be directed by Lynette Linton, who was nominated for Best Director at the Stage Debut Awards in 2017.
On 10 and 11 August, NYT members will take to the National Theatre’s River Stage with the UK’s leading professional circus company, Extraordinary Bodies, (a partnership between Diverse City and Cirque Bijou). Thirty NYT members and associate artists will perform with 15 young disabled actors from Highshore School special educational needs school in Southwark as part of the Community Choir of Extraordinary Bodies’ groundbreaking new show, What Am I Worth?
NYT’s social inclusion course ‘Playing Up’ returns in 2018 with the brand new play Tortoise by Mark Weinman which delves into virtual reality and escapism and the pressures to succeed, at the Bunker Theatre from 11-14 July and directed by 2014 Bryan Forbes assistant directors bursary recipient Matt Harrison (The Fall, Southwark Playhouse).
This year, NYT expands nationwide with a series of new play commissions, free workshops and festival appearances. Having received its world premiere in 2016, followed by a critically acclaimed run at The Yard in 2017, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist will be performed at Edinburgh Festival (14 to 26 August). Adapted by Stephanie Street (Sisters) and directed by Prasanna Puwanarajah (recently seen in Doctor Foster and Patrick Melrose) the production looks at the ironies of prejudice and representation in a post 9/11 New York.
NYT has also commissioned four acclaimed playwrights to develop work which reflects the issues facing different areas of the country. In Bradford, Asif Khan’s new comedy Imaan Imran will follow the story of an actor-turned-Imaan; in Birmingham Rachel De-Lahay will develop The Hole, a new play about taboo; in Skelmersdale, Luke Barnes will write Lost Boys New Town a play about masculinity in post-industrial towns directed by Zoe Lafferty (The Host) and Nessah Muthy has written new play The Cure which explores issues around disability.
As part of the NYT’s ongoing commitment to outreach and access, today also marks the launch of NYT’s new Auditions Access Fund, supported by NYT alumnus and patron Hugh Bonneville, which will grant £37,500 over three years to fund free preparation workshops, auditions and bursaries at 30 schools and youth groups around Great Britain which have cut drama provision.