If you want to be part of National Youth Theatre next year, you have until January 8 to get your application in.
Members aged 13-21 are selected on the basis of a workshop audition or interview in the case of technical applicants.
When NYT started in 1956 it was the world’s first youth theatre and perhaps the best possible accolade is the number of organisations which have replicated the model, or something similar, across the world ever since. Imitation, as they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.
Today NYT, a registered charity, works with young people from all walks of life on creative projects with a strong emphasis on ensemble. “We try to make innovative theatre that breaks convention and challenges the audience and gives youth a voice,” a spokeswoman told me, explaining that that’s why NYT has created, and continues to create, work in unusual venues such as the underground Churchill war museum, HMS Belfast and Trafalgar Square as well as theatres in London and across the UK. ‘We also work in film, television and radio and are developing a new online interactive programmed of work,’ she said.
This year, as part of its 2009 Season: First Timers, produced a series of inventive projects for the stage, outdoor site-specific locations around the UK and online.
NYT on IdeasTap - its new online creative partner - has also taken off this year having produced eight interactive projects designed to encourage young people interested in the arts to pursue their passion for new writing, filming and digital media.
In 2008, NYT took its production of The Merchant of Venice to Beijing and later this month NYT will perform in the opening and closing ceremonies of the FIFA Club World Cup Championship in Abu Dhabi.
These days the NYT is much more inclusive than it once was. It runs, for example, a Young Offenders Programme and a range of community projects. It also works with NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and vulnerable young adults aged 13-25 from disengaged backgrounds.
The statistics are pretty impressive. NYT has 3,000 members and last year worked with 12,000 young people in schools and community projects.
NYT is hoping for 5,000 new applicants from all communities, cultures and backgrounds for 2010. So what are you waiting for?