“Thanks to the bursary scheme, I was given a chance that I would never have been able to partake in due to financial circumstances and I wish that many other young people will be able to have this experience, especially if they have a passion for the performing arts.” Tarique, 16, from Birmingham, performed in A Teenage Opera, 2017.
YMT’s bursary scheme provides access for young people to receive the highest quality training in musical theatre skills from top industry professionals; enabling people from all backgrounds the opportunity to go on and fulfil their dreams of a career on the stage. YMT offers a bursary of up to 75% for participants to take part in one of eight summer production projects, this includes: full-board accommodation on a residential production, tuition and pastoral care, and production costs at the venue. The YMT bursary scheme is means tested and available for any young person whose household income is less than £30,000 per annum.
Over 30% of YMT’s participants every year are awarded bursaries this enables them to join the company and develop their skills. YMT’s participant Tarique, 16, from Birmingham, received a Bursary in 2017 to take part in the world premiere of A Teenage Opera directed by one of the West End’s foremost leading ladies, Julie Atherton (Avenue Q, Mama Mia).
“It is an experience I won’t be forgetting any time soon”
During my first time on YMT, I was involved in A Teenage Opera, and suffice to say, it is an experience I won’t be forgetting any time soon! I can remember arriving on the first day, not really knowing anyone there, I am usually quite reserved and find it difficult to talk to people, but soon I managed to find my feet and started to enjoy the experience.
“I realized just how much effort goes into professional shows”
On the first week, I worked hard like nothing I had done before had prepared me for it. The final week was where I realized just how much effort goes into professional shows, not just from the cast but also from the technical crew and the directors.
“The shows left everyone with a sense of euphoria”
I was most excited on show week as it was a very different scene to what I am used to, but the shows left everyone with a sense of euphoria, myself included, each performance getting better than the last. Then came the final show, where a new family, formed within weeks, were split up in moments. Everyone was hugging and enjoying their last moments together, even marking the occasion with a group photo with the script and music writers. The creative team were incredible; they were approachable very supportive with the participants.
“When I went for my audition, I was going into it with no clue as to what they wanted us to do”
I applied for YMT after my GCSE English teacher recommended it to me as I was fond of the performing arts and I saw it as a chance to experience what the industry is like and how it operates. When I went for my audition, I was going into it with no clue as to what they wanted us to do, but after the team introduced themselves, it put me at ease so that I could sing, act and dance. It seemed daunting at the time but, now that I reflect upon it, it was a chance that I may not get again. YMT is a great opportunity for those who have a passion for the performing arts and I would recommend that young people go and audition as they have nothing to lose and a lot of experience and memories to gain.
“It seemed daunting at the time but, now that I reflect upon it, it was a chance that I may not get again”
“As far as tips go, don’t stress too much about the audition”
I would say that, as far as tips go, don’t stress too much about the audition; it’s about doing what you’re best at and knowing that everyone else in the room also has an interest in performing as well. Also, don’t worry about being completely rejected, YMT will offer every participant at least a spot on a skills course that will help to improve your abilities and skills to bring the best out of you for both your strengths and weaknesses.
“Imagine that the audience is on the toilet!”
As a final note: I remember being sat in rehearsals with the director, Julie Atherson, and she gave us a piece of advice that I still remember, even now. She told us that, on stage, you will feel uncomfortable, as though there a thousand eyes watching you, but all that you can do is imagine that the audience is on the toilet! It sounds weird, but if you imagine the audience is as uncomfortable as you feel, then you start to think that they aren’t really paying attention to you and that you’re doing another dress rehearsal. Once you start to imagine it, you’ll feel more at ease and in a better position to perform and put on a show.
An experience like YMT is unique opportunity. Just take it in your stride and embrace it!
YMT National Auditions 2018 are taking place all across the country from 14 January to 18 February. BOOK NOW and take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to train with leading theatre professionals.
Here are some audition tips from Actor and Theatre Director, Stuart Harvey, who will be on the panel for YMT’s 2018 auditions. Check it out below!
Be ready - If you are asked to prepare something make sure that you know it inside out. The panel know things can go wrong due to nerves but they shouldn't go wrong due to lack of preparation.
Be yourself - It is what you are best at. Remember no one is trying to trick you or catch you out, the panel will want to see you at your best and most confident.
Be supportive of others - You are all in the same boat and this industry is all about a collaborative process. Of course it is competitive but the panel are looking for performers who can work together in an open and inclusive environment.
Be inspired - Come with an interest in the arts. It is always exciting for a panel to meet someone who has real passion and isn't frightened to show it
Be brave - Remember audition panels see hundreds if not thousands of young hopefuls and you want to be someone who we remember. So don't be frightened to think outside the box and take yourself out of your comfort zone.
Be heard - No one is going to think any less of you if you don't understand something- just ask politely and don't suffer in silence.
We wish you the best of luck and looking forward to see you at YMT’s Auditions!
Stuart’s credits include: Annie, Wizard of Oz, Hamlet, The Collector, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Art, West Side Story and Oliver, as well as radio projects for the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and BBC. He was Senior Youth Theatre Leader for Chichester Festival Theatre, Head of Acting at the Wilkes Academy and had the opportunity to write and deliver a brand new course. Many of his ex-students after prominent drama schools are performing in the West End, national tours, the RSC and the National Theatre.
Izzy, 18, from London joined the YMT Company in 2017 and performed in our production of Gulliver’s Travels at Lyric Theatre Belfast, which featured an all-star creative team: music from platinum-selling singer-songwriter Duke Special, bookwriting and lyrics from stand-up comedian Andrew Doyle and Director Des Kennedy, whose credits include Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
The production was reviewed in The Big List and described as ‘boundlessly expressive’ and Izzy’s performance was marked as ‘sweet and affecting’.
Read all about Izzy’s YMT experience below!
“I was nervous but tremendously excited to be part of such a large-scale production”
This Summer I participated in the YMT’s revival production of Gulliver’s Travels at the Lyric Theatre Belfast. Before this summer I had never traveled for a production, let alone one where I’d be under the direction of industry level professionals. I was nervous but tremendously excited to be part of such a large-scale production.
On arrival at Victoria College (our residential rehearsal space), the cast quickly became a sort of surrogate family, as we unpacked into our rooms and got to know each other.
“The cast quickly became a sort of surrogate family”
The first day in the rehearsal room set the stamina level - we worked a 12 hour day, every day, for three weeks. Each day began with an hour’s physical warm up, and an hour’s vocal warm up. It was clear this was going to be like no production I had participated in before.
“It was clear this was going to be like no production I had participated in before.”
By the end of day 2 everyone was well acquainted, we had done a full read-through of the script, and auditions had finished for the casting of Gulliver’s Travels. To my great surprise, I was cast in the role of ‘Bonaria’, the female protagonist and love interest of Gulliver. This was truly the biggest opportunity I have ever been given: to perform a leading role at the Lyric Theatre Belfast with a cast and creative team of theatre professionals.
“This was truly the biggest opportunity I have ever been given”
The ethos and general atmosphere was amazing. For the first time I saw 21 year olds and 11 year olds all coming together as if the age gaps weren’t a hindrance; it was our love of performance that united us. That has to have been my favorite part of the experience; the atmosphere of being surrounded by a cast and creative team of totally devoted and unique individuals.
“Being surrounded by a cast and creative team of totally devoted and unique individuals.”
It was extremely challenging to build a Musical in such a short space of time, three weeks is normally just inset on a regular scale production. The stamina and pace of rehearsals was particularly challenging as I was surrounded by a combination of elite dancers and amateurs. As a 17 year old amateur dancer, I felt the balance and mix raised everyone’s ability and stamina; we learnt from each other just as much as from the professional creative team.
“I was surrounded by a combination of elite dancers and amateurs.”
The most enthralling moment is walking out onto the stage with everyone for the first time. I remember the whole cast just sitting on the stage of The Lyric in silence as we all just took it in. It’s really the moment you realize how the work you’ve put in is going to pay off.
“My audition was probably the most comfortable I’ve ever been to”
My audition was probably the most comfortable I’ve ever been to, everyone in that room literally spends the whole day smiling. Whatever nerves I had when I arrived must have disappeared because I can only remember having a really great time, we all just showed the panel what we could do. I was almost like we were already a team, we had to work in groups for the acting and singing auditions so there was a feeling of support right next to you all the way through.
“This IS where you will find the confidence”
If you’ve never had the confidence to be part of something like YMT, this IS where you will find the confidence. Undoubtedly this is a family for people who all want to work for the same thing, and regardless of experience; you could have what it takes to it too. YMTUK was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and I know I have gained experience I would not have found anywhere else.
YMT National Auditions 2018 are taking place all across the country from 14 January to 18 February. BOOK NOW and take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to work with leading theatre professionals.
International Choreographer Alicia Frost trained at Toronto Dance Theatre, Laban and Royal Academy of Dance is on the Audition panel for YMT’s National Auditions 2018.
Alicia is currently working as an Animateur for Rambert Dance Company. Her credits include Salome and Carmen at Royal Opera House, Boccanegra and L’assedio di Calais at English Touring Opera. Alicia worked with YMT this summer creating the vibrant dance choreography for the production of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, which was performed in September at Theatre Royal in Winchester.
Alicia’s Audition tips for you are:
1. “Performance is key and more important than technique”
2. “Enjoy it! If you are- we are! and you’ll be remembered“
3. “Be expressive and original in your creative choices. We’re looking for contributors!”
4. “Have fun!”
Thanks to Alicia for these really useful Audition tips. We wish all participants the best of luck for YMT National Auditions 2018.
YMT National Auditions 2018 are taking place all across the country from 14 January to 18 February. Book your Audition now and take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to work with leading theatre professionals such as Alicia Frost.
Tess of the d’Urberville will be performed in April at The Other Palace in London. Booking details will be updated soon.
YMT participant Hannah talks to us about her first audition experience and where she has gone from there
It had always been my desire to go into performing even though I was too scared to study it!
I remember my first audition with YMT very clearly, I was incredibly nervous, as although I had always wanted to go into performing, I never had the guts to gain the experience. Two minutes into the audition my nerves went and I felt completely at ease; the panel were so friendly and made the experience enjoyable and I didn't feel pressured or worried about making a fool of myself in the slightest.
I decided to book because it seemed like the perfect opportunity to regain some confidence I had lost, and it had always been my desire to go into performing even though I was too scared to study it! I remember feeling excited and anxious when I received the confirmation email, but looking back it's one of it not the best decision I've ever made!
YMT make their auditions fun and not scary in the slightest
Be yourself! There's only one of you in the whole world, as well as in the audition room! Nerves are natural of course, but know that by being yourself, you immediately have an advantage over everyone, no matter what your experience. And try to enjoy it too! YMT make their auditions fun and not scary in the slightest, so see it as a workshop rather than an audition, it really helps with nerves!
Just do it
Just do it. And keep going. Don't deny this industry of you and your incredible talent, it needs you just as much as you need it!
Hannah Jones, performed in YMT's, A Teenage Opera, 2017 and Yorkshire Skills Course, 2016, Hannah is currently studying at Leeds Trinity University.
Youth Music Theatre UK's National Auditions for Performers and Musicians are open for applications, take a look at the list of dates and locations on our website here. Audition to be part of an incredible summer season of new music theatre and star in a brand-new show!