Musical Director

YMT National Auditions 2017

Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses - that’s what makes music theatre so interesting!


Continuing our Audition Tips series, hear from Musical Director, Pianist and Vocal Coach, Gemma Hawkins! She'll be on the panel for the audition workshops (21 Jan - 19 Feb) and has some great advise for all of you coming through this year.

1. Be Yourself - don’t try to be a different person. Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses; that’s what makes music theatre so interesting!

2. The panel are on your side! We’ll want everyone to do their best and show us what they have to offer.

3. Nerves can strangely be a very good thing! They’re a sign that you want to do well, and the adrenaline sometimes helps you produce things you didn’t know you were capable of.

4. Stay hydrated; it will help your energy and concentration. Sip water for a few hours before your audition and keep topping up through the session. Bananas are also a good source for energy and good for calming the nerves.


Audition Tips - Gemma Hawkins

Gemma Hawkins was the Assistant Musical Director for the Disney / Cameron Mackintosh 2015-17 tour of Mary Poppins, and before that the Barnum UK Tour starring Brian Conley. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Music’s Musical Direction course, having studied oboe and piano accompaniment at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Credits as MD include The Snowman (UK Tour), Great Expectations (YMT), The Last 5 Years (Barbican, London), Pippin (BRIT School), Side By Side By Sondheim (Edinburgh Fringe) and the Fingask Follies.
Gemma has worked frequently in several of the UK’s leading performing arts schools including the Guildhall, Royal Academy of Music, Urdang Academy and BRIT School, where she has musically directed and arranged for many projects and showcases.

Step forward onto the stage and kick-start your career in performing arts with YMT. Auditions are booking now, from Sat 21 Jan - Sun 19 Feb 2017, touring 24 cities from Inverness to Plymouth and London to Dublin and Belfast, and everywhere in-between. Take a look at the full list of dates and times here.

Sonum Batra - Youth Music Theatre UK

Meet the 2016 Auditions Team - Sonum Batra


Composer and Musical Director-extraordinaire SONUM BATRA says what she's looking for from auditionees.

Training: I trained at King's College London and now work as Music Director for lots of different theatre companies. I'm looking to study orchestration for film next.. so watch this space!

What are you looking for from auditionees?

I like watching singers who really perform their songs with honesty and intention, rather than just standing there and singing. It's lovely watching people enjoying themselves and not being afraid to just... go for it!

Tips for auditionees:

My first would be to NOT be nervous! Come into the workshop and enjoy yourselves. Don't be afraid to try things out of your comfort zone... oh, and pin/tie your hair back, and bring water!

Why should people get involved with YMT?

At YMT you not only get the chance to rehearse and perform a musical, but you get to be involved with the creative process. You work with composers and writers and perform a brand new piece of theatre. It's a really exciting thing to be involved in. You also get the chance to improve your skills across all three disciplines, whilst being surrounded by a room full of people who have all the same interests as you!

Favourite show? 

My all time favourites are Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods (I even wrote my dissertation on it!) I think Stephen Sondheim is an absolute genius! I'm a big fan of Punchdrunk and really loved The Drowned Man.

What/who should young people research in the arts?

Anything that inspires you. Go and see as much different stuff as possible. Theatre companies like Punchdrunk and Phizzical are a couple of my favourites..

Favourite food?

I love Indian food... oh and hummus. I could live on the stuff!

Ideal holiday?

Somewhere with a good hiking trail, salsa and lots of coffee - (so South America!) I think Colombia, Cuba and Argentina have to be my favourites there. Oh and I really want to go back to Israel. I have Kilimanjaro next on my list, as well as Japan and Iceland. I don't think I can pick an ideal holiday, I think I just want to see the whole world!

THE most important question: Scone (as in stone) or Scone (as in gone)?

I'm northern ! Scone / gone!

Don't forget to read all our entries in the Meet the Auditions Team series and don't forget to book your audition!

Richard Healey Photos

Meet the 2016 Auditions Team - Richard Healey


Musical Director Richard Healey chats about YMT's 2016 National Auditions

Richard Healey is an MD, Composer, Arranger, Vocal Tutor and Music Supervisor-extraordinaire! He's been involved with YMT for many years and we're thrilled to have him on our 2016 National Auditions tour! 

Training: Southampton University (BA Music), Trinity Guildhall (Voice), Bournemouth University (MA Multimedia Design for Film & TV), Cambridge University (PGCE Music)

What tips do you have for auditionees?

Be yourself. You are unique. Show us your passion for what you do & leave your inhibitions behind. Everyone is equal & nobody is being compared - we are simply looking to reward your strengths, not uncover your weaknesses.

Why should people get involved with YMT?

Get involved to learn, to grow, to laugh, to cry, to sing, to move, to act, to be humbled, to inspire, to create, to be challenged, to feel empowered, to be different... Oh & to eat biscuits. Lots of biscuits.

What is your favouite show?

Difficult question... So many different shows for so many different occasions. But three very contrasting shows that had a massive impact on my teenage self were, in no particular order, Showboat,  Barnum and Into The Woods.


What/who should young people research in the arts?

Plough your own furrow. It's not wrong to like classics, or populist shows/individuals but find your own reasons for loving them, not other people's. Similarly challenge yourself. Rather than seeing the same show for the third time, see the one you know nothing about.

Favourite food?

Roast Lamb. Or Bakewell Tart. Or sometimes Sushi. Or fresh peas & butter. Wait no, avocado & poached eggs. Actually, just butter. Although I couldn't live without bacon. No, dark chocolate. Wait, chilli & basil ice cream. Or chorizo. With squid. And pan-fried cod loin. Hang on, spinach. Although freshly baked bread can't be beaten. Dammit, why is there so much nice food?!


Ideal holiday?

Skiing or Disney. Wait - skiing IN Disney. Result.


THE most important question: Scone (as in stone) or Scone (as in gone)?

Scone (stone). Obviously. I'm from the Northwest. Scone (gone) is simply blasphemous.

Don't forget to book your YMT Audition (and remember to bring Richard some roast lamb... or peas... or maybe just butter...). BOOK NOW!