YMT blog

Stuart Harvey

Meet the 2016 Auditions Team - Stuart Harvey


Director and YMT Practitioner STUART HARVEY tells us what to do in auditions.

Training: I trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School on their postgraduate Directors' Course. Since then I have worked as a freelance theatre director and playwright. I spent a year at the Chichester Festival Theatre as a Youth Theatre Director and for the past 3 years I have been Head of Acting at the Wilkes Academy, a full time performing arts college training performers in musical theatre.

What are you looking for from auditionees?

Truth! All too often performers split the three disciplines into three different performance styles - the amount of times I have witnessed tight lipped, silence dancing or singers staring into a dark middle distance whilst standing perfectly still is maddening. Remember all performance is storytelling and to do that to the best capability a performer must find the truth of that situation.

Tips for auditionees:

Just be yourself, you are the best you there is and that is all we can ask of you. I like to see the audition as a workshop more than an audition, I just want to see how you work with other performers and how you use the different stimuli offered by the practitioners. We aren't there to trick you or trip you up or see what you can't do, we are there to see what you can do.

Why should people get involved with YMT?

I have been a practitioner with the company for eight years now and have worked on numerous productions with dozens of of professionals and 100s of young people. There really is no other experience like it, it is truly unique. To workshop and create a new piece of theatre is probably the most exhilarating and rewarding things you can do in this profession and YMT gives young people the opportunity to experience that. I have nothing against established pieces of musical theatre but to be able to develop new work with some of the best practitioners in the UK along with the stars of the future is brilliant.

Favourite show?

I think the production that has had the biggest influence on me would be Complicite's Mnemonic - it really showed me at a young age just what was possible on stage through the inventiveness of cast and creatives.

What/who should young people research in the arts?

I am a huge fan of anything Simon McBurney, artistic driector of Complicite, does, his constant thirst for the new is inspiring. I enjoy the work of Punchdrunk, Headlong, Gecko and Kneehigh - all Bristish companies who are taking their influences from further afield. I am a huge fan of the theatre director Ninagawa - his work has a beauty not often seen on the UK stage.

Playwrights to look at would be Shakespeare (of course), Chekhov, Peter Shaffer, Philip Ridley, Martin McDonagh and Jez Butterworth.


Favourite food?

Vegetarian sushi is probably top of my list but I also love tapas, Greek cuisine or Thai (all vegetarian options)

Ideal holiday? 

I find it hard to find time to go on holiday - the laptop is never too far away so I think it would have to be somewhere very remote so that there would be no wifi connection.


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

Scone (gone) but would normally just order a black coffee.


Don't forget to meet the rest of the auditions team in our 'Meet the Auditions Team' series. And, of course, don't forget to book your audition!


Vince Manna - Photo: Kevin Murphy

Meet the 2016 Auditions Team - Vincent Manna


Choreographer and Movement Director Vincent Manna offers advice to prospective auditionees.

Training: I trained Rambert Dance School. After dancing professionally I then went to train at The London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art where I now teach and create movement theatre. I am also a freelance actor.

What are you looking for from auditionees?

Commitment. Approaching the audition with a huge sense of play. Generosity. Courage. Taking Risks. Taking the work seriously, but not themselves too seriously in the work. Be open to learning new things. Being Adaptive.

Tips for auditions:

Bring loose clothing. Bring Water. Turn up early. Listen to what is being asked of you and then THROW YOURSELVES INTO IT. Have fun. Take risks. Be open to working in an ensemble.

Why should people get involved with YMT?

It will build your confidence. It will develop your singing, acting and movement skills. You will get valuable experience in performing on stage and in playing different spaces. You will understand what it means to work in an ensemble. You will get to contribute your ideas to the final piece. You will have more fun than you can possibly imagine! You will make friends for life. You will learn life skills as well as performance skills. You get to be away from your parents. You make a piece of magic in a very short space of time.

Favourite show?

Punchdrunk’s Faust

What/who should young people research in the arts?

Gecko. Punchdrunk. DV8. Frantic Assembly. Complicite. And the work of Pina Bausch.

Favourite food?

Egg Soldiers

Ideal holiday?

Walking the camino in Spain. Or relaxing on a sun soaked beach on some isolated Greek island


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

Scone (Gone)

After researching all those fantastic theatre/movement/dance companies, make sure you book your audition to join the YMT Company! Book here.

Rachel Birch-Lawson - Youth Music Theatre UK

Meet the 2016 Auditions Team - Rachel Birch-Lawson


Choreographer and Dance Artist supremo RACHEL BIRCH-LAWSON talks about what she's looking for from our 2016 auditionees

Training: I trained at London Contemporary Dance School (The Place) and then on Dance Beyond Borders in Germany, Portugal, Belgium, and the UK. I’m freelance, so I work all over the place. A lot of my work is now based in Kent, but I tour nationally and have lived and worked across Europe and Africa.

What are you looking for from auditionees?

Willingness to have a go! I’m most interested in the energy and commitment you bring. It’s not about shapes and positions, but about intention and throwing yourself into the experience.

Tips for auditionees:

Work hard, but don’t take it too seriously - it’s a fun day and I always notice people who are enjoying themselves.


Why should people get involved with YMT?

It’s a unique opportunity to be part of making something special - and to come together with other young people with shared passions.

Favourite show?

It changes all the time. One of the best pieces I’ve seen recently was Peeping Tom’s 32 rue Vandenbranden. I also loved Slava’s Snow Show for its epic special effects!

What/who should young people research in the arts?

Try everything, see as much as you can! Don’t stick to one genre or only watch shows you know you will enjoy - try things that you’re not certain about. You might learn something new!

Favourite food?

Avocado. Also olives.

Ideal holiday?

Something with adventure - maybe learning to kite surf somewhere with warm water.


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


Have a read of our other 'Meet the Auditions Team' profiles! Don't forget to book your audition too!

Pete Gallagher - YMT's National Auditions 2016 - Youth Music Theatre UK

Meet the 2016 Auditions Team - Pete Gallagher


Actor, Director & Writer PETE GALLAGHER gives his thoughts on YMT's 2016 Auditions

Training: I trained at the Corona Academy of Theatre Arts in London (at the same time as Nicholas Lyndhurst while he was doing Butterflies and just before Only Fools and Horses...), which has sadly closed down now. I work mainly in the West End although I also tour and do TV & film when I can. Most of the time though, theatre commitments mean you can't do film & TV as they always overrun on a film set!

What are you looking for from auditionees?

In a word, BRAVERY. An audition is not the time to 'play safe' so listen, do what you have been asked to do, but be brave and bring your own personality to it. We are looking for people with potential, which means putting your stamp on it, not people who do the minimum required to get through it and hope that's enough!

Tips for auditionees:

Let us see YOU. If you're trained to any extent, obviously bring that technique but remember to add bags of personality. If you're completely untrained, be fearless - you are in a room with some who have trained in certain areas, so make sure you show what you can bring, however rough around the edges you might think that is - it may be exactly what we are looking for! If you have absolutely no experience of performing at all but just fancy giving it a go, give us a really good and positive reason to remember you...and it could well happen!

Why should people get involved with YMT?

Professionals! This is not an amateur theatre company run by people as a hobby - it is a theatre company run by very experienced performing professionals who just happen to want to focus their energies on finding young fresh talent...like Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith etc...all of whom took the gamble and joined us...and maybe like YOU! It is also the biggest and most successful theatre company of its kind in the UK so you know you are in safe hands.

Favourite Shows?

Play - Hamlet. The greatest example of ink ever placed on paper

Musical - Guy & Dolls. Perfect entertainment and example of how Musical Theatre uses the richness of colour and texture to enhance a plot.

Experience - Slava's Snow Show or Cirque du Soleil

YMT Show I have directed - Missing Mel. Relevant, fun and unbelievable energy. Transferred from Edinburgh Fringe to London!

What/who should young people research in the arts?

Southwark Playhouse - still affordable and sensational choice of productions.

Les Misérables - superb musical adaptation of an epic novel that they said would be impossible.

Alexandre Dumas, French dramatists and novelist - The Counte of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask etc. - pure adventure.

The Woman in Black - best adaptation of a book I have ever seen and brilliantly terrifying

Leonardo DiCaprio - a superbly talented film actor who is often underestimated because he happens to be a good looking man... I wish I had that problem! See: Romeo & Juliet, The Revenant, The Wolf of Wall Street, Catch Me If You Can, What's Eating Gilbert Grape...

Favourite Food:

Haloumi cheese or Vegetarian Thai. I'm dribbling now...

Ideal Holiday:

I'm not a 'beach bum' so anything that involves cities, culture, having my mind blown. Fave city so far - Barcelona with the Sagrada Familia. Wish List: India and the Taj Mahal.

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

Scone... HAHA! (as in 'gone', obviously)

You can book your YMT Audition here. Don't miss out - places are filling fast.

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!