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!
I chose to do YMT purely for enjoyment as I love playing in pit bands and it seemed like a great experience
Thank you to Molly for sharing this really inspiring story with us, and best of luck at Uni!
I wanted to share something about my experience with YMT that has been super important and great for my life!
I was part of the production of The Legend of White Bear Lake last year (before starting my final year of A Levels), I played clarinet and bass clarinet in the band. The show was incredible, it was inspiring to be with such talented musicians and creative people – especially Caroline Wigmore (writer) and Gen Green (composer) and the whole creative team.
I chose to do YMT purely for enjoyment, as I love playing in pit bands and it seemed like a great experience. I had no idea until two months later, when I received a certificate through the post, that we would receive Grade 8 Musical Theatre in Production for being part of the show!
Prior to that, I had been really struggling with what to do at university – I loved music but since I hadn’t done the A Level it wasn’t really an option for me. There was nothing else that really appealed, so I was going to leave applying to university until next year – until I got that certificate in the post. This made me realise that Music at university was an option as I now had a grade 8 qualification! This made me so happy, and I started researching universities straight away. I am really happy to say that I received offers from 4 universities to study Music, and this is basically all down to YMT. Molly Clark, YMT Company of 2016
YMT MUSICIAN AUDITIONS are now open for applications email firstname.lastname@example.org to book and for further information, more info can also be found here. YMT PERFORMER AUDITIONS are open for booking too, dates and locations are listed on our website here.
Hear some fascinating behind the scenes insights from the Ellis Kerkhoven, Director of YMT's exciting new musical adaptation, Children of the New Forest.
It's 2647. A civil war has been raging for 25 years. Two factions fight for land and food: the Upholders and the Returners. With no clear victor, and a population consisting almost entirely of orphans, chaos now reigns as the last vestiges of society brakes down.
The show is set in a futuristic, dystopian version of our own world. Technology has advanced and already reached its decline after natural disasters destroyed all electronic energy production. A World unplugged. Lost and disconnected to natural resources, skills and farming techniques. The clock is ticking and it’s only a matter of time before all pre-farmed food runs out. Almost all adults are dead. And now the youth are forced to find new ways to survive...
Image by YMT Designer Emma Lynch - Children of the New Forest
Children of The New Forest explores life for young people in a War zone, the complications and prejudices that arise from being raised on a particular ‘side’ and inheriting the older generations outdated disputes. It deals with the loss of family, the denial of personal dreams and ambitions and the loss of human connection with Nature. Ultimately the main message of the show is about the necessity to break free from outdated conventions in order to obtain peace and freedom.
Many things have influenced my work in this show; from the state of the World’s current affairs to theatre productions I’ve seen recently. Director Sally Cookson’s National Theatre production of Jane Eyre inspired me with her inventive use of a ‘playground' set, and William Golding’s book Lord of the Flies provided me with the feral energy needed for a piece like Children of the New Forest. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) was a constant reference for our dystopian-yet-recognisable world too.
Creating a world like this on stage is both exciting and problematic. I'm hoping to strike the right balance between the post-apocalyptic dystopian civilisation and it’s ever advancing surrounding natural forest habitat. The show uses the essence of the original novel as a stimuli only, so we’ve taken full artistic licence and created a new version of the story that feels relevant to current events whilst suggesting what a future could look like if we allow the dark side of history to repeat itself over and over. The idea behind the design of the show is to combine elements of both the derelict futuristic City with the wild natural force of the Forest. Just like the play’s inhabitants - it’s on the edge! Feral - with remnants of a lost society being reclaimed by the powers of nature.
I’m so excited to be working with the talented young people at YMT again. This production is going to give everyone a chance to tap into their passions, explore who they are and what they believe in - and create a show that will mean something to the audience watching. As with all my shows, I intend this one to be very physical, with puppetry and object manipulation being made possible by the ’salvaged junk world’ we inhabit. It’s fast paced with loads of locations so we’ll never stand still for long. The task is to make sure the audience can follow the plot and know where we are at all times, whilst feeling fully connected with the characters story. YMT always manage to discover and bring together the most talented young artists in the country (and beyond!).
Don't miss Children of the New Forest, Barbican Theatre, Plymouth, 26-27 August | Booking