The National Youth Theatre (NYT) today announces full casting for its 2019 REP Season which opens this month with the London premiere of Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of Great Expectations followed by an Artificial Intelligence-inspired and female-led production of Frankenstein both at Southwark Playhouse (18 October to 30 November).
A third production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, will run at the Criterion Theatre (6 December to 17 January 2020) directed by Matt Harrison working in association with Kneehigh. This year’s season will also see the NYT REP stage relaxed performances for the first time and features the most number of performances ever in its seven-year history. The 2019 company of 16 actors, aged 18-25, includes newcomers Guy Clark, Ella Dacres, Natalie Dunne, Jordan Ford Silver, Jamie Foulkes, Alice Franziska, Billy Hinchliff, Jadie Hobson, Bede Hodgkinson, Tiwalade Ibirogba Olulode, Julia Kass, Sarah Lusack, Jemima Mayala, Joseph Payne, Sonny Poon Tip, Raj Singh.
The NYT aims to provide creative opportunities for young people from social, cultural and economic backgrounds underrepresented in the arts and creative industries. The NYT REP is a free initiative inspired by the traditional repertory theatre model and was set up by Paul Roseby in 2012 to provide a much-needed, alternative to expensive formal training whilst embracing young talent to work with leading institutions culminating in three productions in London theatres. With over 40% of the company being actors of colour, the NYT continues to demonstrate its commitment to discovering Britain’s best diverse young talent. In addition to the the course being free, REP members receive bursaries to support their living costs and are assigned an industry mentor to support their creative and personal development.
Many REP alumni can now be seen across stage and screen including Seraphina Beh, who was cast in EastEnders immediately following her run and now stars in the new series of Top Boy; Sope Dirisu, since seen in the title role of the RSC’s Coriolanus, Channel 4’s Humans, Sky Atlantic’s Gangs of New York and who was recently named in this year’s h100 nominees, as was 2018 REP alumnus Isabel Adomakoh Young. Other alumni include Charles Furness who has just made his debut at the Donmar Warehouse in Appropriate, and Alice Vilanculo, seen in last year’s REP season and who received a Stage Edinburgh Award this summer for her performance in E8 at Pleasance Dome.
The 2019 NYT REP programme will include relaxed performances as part of the NYT’s wider Inclusion Programme which aims to make the charity accessible to young people, artists and audiences with disabilities. The relaxed performance for Great Expectations will take place on 18 November and for Frankenstein on 23 November.
Great Expectations, Frankenstein and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are all current set-texts, with school tickets available from £15 plus with free Q&As and educational resource packs, offering affordable access to live theatre for young groups, against a backdrop of declining drama in schools.