YMT blog

Lindsay Atherton - YMT Alumni - Youth Music Theatre UK

An interview with Lindsay Atherton


Fresh from performing in CATS at the London Palladium, we chat with YMT Alumni Lindsay Atherton about her experience!

I did The Chosen Room (2008), Eight (2009), A Song for Eurydice (2010), Korczak (2011). The most influential for me was my last, Korczak, when I played Golda Linska at the Rose Theatre in Kingston. We had hollocaust survivors watch us and the last show had a standing ovation that wouldn't let us leave until we did an encore. Incredible.

Lindsay Atherton and Joel Fisher - Korczak 2011 - Youth Music Theatre UK - YMT Alumni

Lindsay Atherton and Joel Fisher, Korczak 2011, Rose Theatre Kingston 

Do you still keep in contact with any YMTers?

One of my best friends was made at the first show I did in Dublin. We're still 'sisters' from 'the wee girls room'.

Why should people get involved with YMT?

You become part of a family that creates magic. What can beat that? I grew up and learnt so much from each show and my confidence soared.

What would your dream role be?

My dream role is Christine in Phantom of the Opera. I actually just ticked a dream (Rumpleteazer in Cats as 1st cover at the Palladium), which was pretty incredible.


Favourite Shows?

Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Cats, Les Miserables, In The Heights!


Tips for auditions:

Absolutely don't care what anyone else thinks. Follow your impulses.

What/who should young people research in the arts?

Show - Hamilton. Choreographer - Drew McOnie. Company -  Really Useful Group (RUG).

Favourite food?



Ideal holiday?

Half insane water sports and climbing and half beach, tanning... Food. Great food must be involved.

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

Scone-gone. Never should it sound like stone.

Lindsay will soon be starring in Starlight Express in Germany! Follow her on Twitter: @linzathy

Ellie Jones - Youth Music Theatre UK - YMT

'Be yourself. Be brave. Be silly.' - Ellie Jones


Director Ellie Jones gives her thoughts on auditioning for YMT.

Ellie Jones has been part of YMT for a few years now, having directed According to Brian Haw (2013), Vanishing Point (2013), Miss Interpreted (2014) and last year's Dirty Stop Outs (2015). She'll also be directing this year's Fight Like a Girl (our women's boxing epic) at Dean Clough Halifax. 

Tips for auditionees:

I want to find out who you are, what you feel comfortable doing and how keen you are to try new things. Be yourself. Be brave. Be silly. Failing spectacularly is better than barely attempting something you can't do. In fact, I rather love that in a performer. Remember when you come into the room that we are all in it together. We can't do anything without you and all we want is for you to feel safe enough to join in and play with us.


Favourite show?

Sweeney Todd, Guys and Dolls, Man of La Mancha and Floyd Collins.

What/who should young people research in the arts?

Follow your interests. If you like a composer/performer/director/writer's work find out what else they've done. Some places/companies I love: Battersea Arts Centre, Southwark Playhouse, Manchester Royal Exchange, Improbable, Goat and Monkey, Kneehigh.... I could go on...

Favourite food?

Champagne. And Strawberries.


Ideal holiday?

Sailing... or any place I don't have to take the kids.


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

Scone (gone) obviously. I'm a southerner with a very middle class grandmother.

YMT Auditions are taking place NOW - book here.

Clemmie Sveaas, Jessie Oshodi and Ana Beatriz Meireles as the Witches in Macbeth at the Young Vic, London. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

Macbeth - Review by Jason Battersby


**** (4 Stars)

Birmingham Rep, 26 January 2016

In an interesting and original depiction of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lucy Guerin and Carrie Cracknell combine both text and movement to create and dark and unnerving atmosphere.

This is further achieved by a simple yet effective set design showing severe perspective and creating the sense of claustrophobia and confinement amongst the audience. The lighting adds to this intensity often using blackouts to spark the audience’s imagination during scenes of action and violence and using bright lights in order to create a supernatural atmosphere during sequences using the witches. Creepy and unnatural movements were often used in scenes of confusion or in order to represent the presence of the witches though the dancing was sometimes a little excessive and sometimes made the play feel static.

John Heffernan made for a very believable Macbeth with clear intent to all his words. I also enjoyed how he took the role in a new and creative direction showing a balance between justice and evil in Macbeth’s actions. Lady Macbeth was played by Anna Maxwell Martin who I felt work well alongside John Heffernan in order to portray an loving yet twisted relationship between the two characters. Nicholas Burns showed an interesting portrayal of a harsh Duncan with no morals or redeeming features, however as Macduff, though the majority of the part was played and delivered well, his reaction to the death of his children and wife lacked emotion. This was made up for by the role of Lady Macduff played by Cassie Layton making the scene of her death tragic and moving for the audience.

The play was of a high quality, keeping the audience’s attention throughout and adding many twists to the well-known tale. I enjoyed it as I found it entertaining and thought provoking and would recommend it to anyone who may want to watch it!

Macbeth is a Young Vic Production, touring to Birmingham Rep and HOME Manchester. Photo: Tristram Kenton

Also marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death at The REP is King Lear (19 to 28 May) staring acclaimed stage and screen actor Don Warrington in a co-production with Talawa Theatre and the Royal Exchange Manchester, plus experimental theatre company, Filter, who bring their radically-cut, fast-paced version of Shakespeare’s much-loved comedy Twelfth Night (12 to 16 April).

Sean runs the marathon. Youth Music Theatre UK YMT

Sean runs the Marathon...


No really... the actual London Marathon...

YMT's Marketing Manager, Sean, is running the London Marathon this April to raise funds for YMT's Bursary Scheme and to support emerging artists to ensure that we can continue to offer disadvantaged young people opportunities in the arts! Each year YMT gives away around £70,000 in bursaries to young people from low-income households and as a not for profit organisation, we rely on course fees and fundraising to deliver our activities - this is why all donations are so important! Keep up with Sean's progress each week and donate whatever you can to help offer talented young people an incredible, unique experience!

You can donate here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/YMTMarathon2016 

I don't run... Ever.

It's not really a thing I do and if I am running then you should also be running because I am trying to escpae from something... So, this is going to be great fun. I'm fully committed though, and it's a great chance to raise some money to support all you talented young people! I've even downloaded a running app and bought some base-layers (they've got The Avengers on them, pretty cool) - I'm pretty much Mo Farah already. Oh, I'm also compiling a running playlist to help me with training - so any suggestions are welcome. 

You can check in with my progress (I use this term loosely) here each week - just 80 days left! 

You can donate here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/YMTMarathon2016



Deborah Galloway - Youth Music Theatre UK - YMT Blog

'Be diverse, open and receptive to the arts' - Deborah Galloway


We chat to Choreographer and Director Deborah Galloway about dance, the arts and why you shouldn't let rejection get you down.

Deborah choreographed YMT's The Midnight Flower Press (2015) at the Barbican Theatre Plymouth and her other credits include: Dark Arteries (Rambert) and INALA (Premiere Edinburgh International Festival, Sadler's Wells, UK tour and Royal Variety Performance at The Palladium 2014/2015).

Effort wins over skill with me every time. I’m drawn to performers that respond to the task I’ve set with every inch of their being. I then have something to bounce off and we can start creating together. I’m interested in the individual and the unique qualities that are revealed through embodied movement. Worrying why you cant kick your leg up, double pirouette or back flip will hold you back from giving your best. Every show has a different kind of movement vocabulary so don’t try and second guess the choreographer.

Youth Music Theatre UK - Midnight Flower Press - YMT

The Midnight Flower Press - Barbican Theatre Plymouth 2015

Tips for auditions:

‘Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.’ Albert Einstein.

Be brave, take risks and make every audition an experiment for you to learn from. If you’re not successful this time then reflect and learn from it, subsequently making changes for the next time. See it as a process of constantly moving forward.

I often do breathing exercises and warming up all parts of the body before an audition so I take the attention away from what I’m thinking.

Remember the outcome is out of your control. You can only give your best and enjoy having a go, meeting new people and trying or refining improvisation exercises. Rejection can seem so personal but there are so many elements that are out of your control.

When I started to cast performers I realised I needed people to blend together as a company or fulfill a vision I had of the character or role. Often brilliant dancers lost out in the audition for reasons that had nothing to do with their talent.

Finally, even if you’re knackered, look interested and awake. We’ve all seen the ‘bored’ look creep over faces especially when you feel a bit out of your comfort zone. Regardless of talent, no-one wants a negative energy in the rehearsal room so think about how your posture, facial expression, behaviour and energy comes across.

What/who should young people research in the arts?

There are lots of websites out there to help you and give you fantastic opportunities if you do the research. Check out Dance UK, Youth Dance EnglandNational Youth Dance Company and Centre for Advanced Training Nationwide.

I’d look up institutions and colleges that deliver good acting or MT course s i.e RADA and research their youth companies that you could audition for.

Most professional dance companies have a Youth Company which enables you to work with professional choreographers and theatre makers. Rambert has a Youth Dance company called Quicksilver and London Contemporary Dance School (The Place) has Shift Dance Company.

I would also look up your local Cultural Institutions, Museums, Galleries, Theatres and Arts Centres to see what opportunities there are. There could be discounted tickets or free training opportunities and lots of places across the UK offer discount scheme for the under 25s.

Try not to get stuck in your own genre. If you like dance go and see some art, if you like acting go and listen to live music or join a Gamelan orchestra! Be diverse, open and receptive to the arts in general. You may be able to draw upon these different experiences when you least expect it!

Look at your mindset and how the way you think can have an impact on your life and career journey. As a starting point I’d suggest the book Bounce by Matthew Syed. For me, it destroyed some old beliefs I had that were holding me back and opened up how sports psychology and strategies for achieving could be used in the arts. Have a read: It might make you think differently when facing auditions and your reaction to getting a job or role or not getting one.

Finally, if you’ve read any good books or found good sites online share them through YMT or FB comments. Sometimes we protect our knowledge and keep our finds to ourselves. In my experience doing this has never projected me forward ahead of others, in fact quite the reverse.

Favourite show?



Favourite food?

Sweet potato fries.

Ideal holiday? 

Peru. I'm interested in history, culture and the mysteries of lost empires.

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

Blame my parents... I'm a gone.

Book a YMT Audition now!