About Summer Skills CoursesOverview
YMT's Summer Skills Courses
What are Summer Skills Courses?
ACT SING DANCE! Summer Skills Courses are six-day summer activity holidays providing intense, creative training for anyone aged 11-21 looking to explore their potential and develop their acting, singing and dancing abilities. They take place during July and August each year across the UK. In 2017, they will take place in boarding schools in Edinburgh (Scotland), Leeds (Yorkshire), Hemel Hempstead (Hertfordshire), Warminster (Wiltshire), Godalming (Surrey) and Roehampton University (London).
Bookings for our 2017 Summer Skills Courses are now open! For group bookings please call our London office on 0044 20 8563 7725 and speak to Nina McDonagh.
Summer Skills Courses do not require an audition and are full of exciting activities and inspirational training that build confidence, teamwork and self-esteem as well as providing the essential skills for the performing arts. As one of the UK's leading national youth theatres, YMT maintains the highest standards of tutoring, training and direction with each course being delivered by professional practitioners who have a wealth of experience in the theatre industry including the West End, National Theatre, the RSC, Edinburgh Festival, National Tours and Fringe Theatre.
YMT Skills Courses are residential (meaning you'll be staying away from home) and we provide the highest level of 24-hour pastoral care for all young people whatever their age. This includes for a range of disabilities and personal issues. We suggest parents, carers and group organisers look over our Information for Parents page to get more general background; this includes our Guide to taking part in our various courses and information on child protection.
Uniquely, YMT's courses are externally assessed by Trinity College London with all performers awarded a Grade 6 Certificate in Musical Theatre in Production (equivalent to working at GCSE A-C or AS Level). YMT's Skills Courses can also contribute to your Arts Award (Bronze or Silver) and Duke of Edinburgh Award.
YMT's Summer Skills Courses give young people the opportunity to:
- Create and perform a brand new musical
- Develop skills in acting, singing and movement
- Work with a professional artistic team
- Boost confidence, self-esteem and teamwork skills
- Gain a Grade 6 certificate in Musical Theatre in Production from Trinity College London
- Contribute to Arts Award or Duke of Edinburgh Award
- Make friends with like-minded people from different backgrounds
- Stay in residential accommodation with 24-hour pastoral care
What actually happens on a Summer Skills Course?
All of YMT's Summer Skills Courses are six days in length, ending with a performance on the final day to friends, family, invited guests and theatre staff. When you arrive, you’ll be met by members of the pastoral team at the venue who'll show you around the accommodation. You’ll be staying in either a Boarding School or University where all facilities are on site. Female and male bedrooms are on separate floors, usually in shared rooms but sometimes single depending on the venue, and you’ll be with people who are roughly your own age. You’ll then meet the artistic team: a Director, a Musical Director and a Choreographer (plus assistants).
Getting to know you: The first step is introductions! There'll be lots of fun drama-based activities to kick things off giving you the chance to meet everyone (and learn their names!). Theatre games are used in professional as well as youth theatre to help people get to know their fellow actors.
Devising the project: The creative team will have an initial idea about a theme - usually a story or poem, historical event, myth or fairytale. This will be your starting point and the rest is up to YOU. Your input is crucial in creating a brand new piece of music theatre as you'll be asked to suggest possible lyrics, movement sequences, invent characters and develop storylines.
The grand plan: The 'grand plan' is that by lunchtime on Saturday, a brand new piece of original musical theatre has been created - by you! At 2pm on the last day, family and friends are invited along to watch your new musical, which normally lasts around 30 minutes. Audiences are always amazed at how much can be achieved in six days, but we know it's because of your hard work, dedication and talent!
We work very long hours! We start working at 09.00/09.30 with a physical warm-up. There is always a break mid-morning to grab a drink and a snack, and you have an hour for lunch. Again there is a mid-afternoon tea break and later an hour for the evening meal. The final session of the day runs from 19.00 to 21.00; this could include lyric writing, composition, design but also technical rehearsals and final run throughs. On one night we run the infamous cabaret night! And that deserves a section for itself...
Most Skills Courses have a cabaret night, where you get the chance to perform whatever you want. You can sing your favourite musical theatre songs, pop songs, street dance, juggle, play an instrument - anything goes! You may have an idea with your new friends. Basically, it's your night! And we usually have a bit of a party at the same time. You’ll also get the chance to get advice from your practitioners if you are serious about a career in the performing arts, but mostly it's just a fun and memorable night and a great way to celebrate the work you've been doing.
Meeting like-minded people
Working together on a Skills Course is one of the best ways to make great, often life-long, friends, to share a unique experience and to come out at the other end proud of what you achieved, whilst becoming more confident as a performer and a person. Skills course performers come from many backgrounds and countries; we have young people from all over the world including the USA, France, Spain, Russia and Hong Kong as well as the UK and Ireland. You also get a YMT T-Shirt to show your family and friends.
The course fee covers full-board accommodation for the duration of the project, tuition from leading industry professionals and 24-hour pastoral care. YMT's courses are heavily subsidised by Arts Council England and many other supporters, and as a not-for-profit organisation the course fees help cover our costs.