YMT blog

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! 

Associated Studios - Auditions!


One of Britain's leading performing arts schools is now auditioning!

Associated Studios will prepare you for a competitive yet thrilling business and inspire you as a performer. You will be working with practitioners who have an extraordinary wealth of knowledge." Sir Tim Rice, Patron

The Associated Studios is one of Britain’s leading performing arts schools, a registered charity that is committed to the training and continued professional development of aspiring as well as established performers in the disciplines of Acting, Musical Theatre and Opera. The Studios have the Patronage of Sir Tim Rice, Jeremy Irons, Timothy West, Rory Bremner and Jeremy Herrin. TO BOOK AN AUDITION EMAIL: info@associatedstudios.co.uk


Starting in February 2016 ONLY 2 SPACES LEFT! This Foundation course focuses on developing the performers’ vocal, acting and dance skills, whilst developing as versatile, ‘triple-threat’ performers, with a view to further training after the course. This course is ideal for Dancers and Actors who want to break into Musical Theatre.


This course is for performers who want to continue training or refocus their careers whilst having free time for Edinburgh Festival and the Panto/Christmas Concert Season. Throughout the course you will work with well-known industry practitioners including Directors, Musical Directors, Casting Directors, Agents, Writers and Performers. During the course we will focus on building a suitable audition repertoire folder in addition to honing your craft. This 7-month Musical Theatre Course finishes with a showcase cabaret for industry guests.


This 32 week course offers intensive practical training in singing, acting and dance/movement, all the skills required to become an outstanding, versatile ‘triple-threat’ musical theatre performer. The course also offers one-to one singing lessons and termly projects including an in-house production, creating a concert/cabaret and recording in a studio. The course focuses on building the vocal, physical and mental stamina required to succeed in a competitive business. This intensive year of study culminates with a West End showcase performance to which industry professionals including agents and casting directors are invited.


This Diploma-course offers two years of intensive practical training in singing, acting and dance/movement, all the skills required to become an outstanding, versatile ‘triple-threat’ Musical Theatre performer. The course focuses on building the vocal, physical and mental stamina required to succeed in a competitive business and also offers one-to one singing lessons and termly projects including an in-house production, creating a concert/cabaret and recording in a studio. The course focuses on building the vocal, physical and mental stamina required to succeed in a competitive business. All students will take part in a West End showcase performance to which industry professionals including agents and casting directors are invited.

Each term students will concentrate on a specific project that has been designed to enhance their skills, repertoire and resources. Students will develop professionally and personally, and will work with established Directors, Musical Directors, Casting Directors, Agents, Writers, Composers and Performers.

4 MONTH PART TIME OPERA COURSE -Starting in September 2016

This 4 month part-time Opera Course is designed to allow talented singers a period of intensive study and development of the skills required to pursue a career as an opera singer.

1 YEAR FULL TIME OPERA COURSE -Starting in September 2016

The program will focus on the all-round performer, with a significant focus on acting and stagecraft as well as vocal mastery, technique and stamina. Participants will develop their vocal and dramatic skills with eminent industry practitioners including conductors, performers, language specialists, repetiteurs, directors, agents and specialised coaches. One-to-one coaching sessions are included as part of the course.

More information can be found on the Associate Studios website: http://www.associatedstudios.co.uk/ 

Luke Bayer

An interview with Luke Bayer


Mountview graduate and YMT Alumni Luke Bayer offers his thoughts on joining YMT!

I played Logan Carter in both productions of Out There (2011 and 2012). I had the BEST experience doing YMT; I met so many amazing people who I'm still great friends with now and I learnt so much from the fab creatives I was lucky enough to work with!

Do you still keep in contact with any YMTers?

YES! I am great friends with so many of my YMT friends and I still keep in touch with the creatives too who are always happy to help and give guidance when I need it.

Why should people get involved with YMT?

People should get involved with YMT because it is SO much fun! You are creating a new piece of work with like-minded people! You meet people that you wouldn't know if you weren't given a chance like YMT! The whole process is so much fun and I'm so sad that I'm now too old to do YMT! I've been recommending it to so many people since I did it; I can't recommend YMT highly enough!

What would your dream role be?

Ooo that's a tough one! I'm gonna give a couple of options as I think they're so different. I'd love to play Gabe in Next to Normal, that's definitely a dream role... And I'd love to play Angel in RENT if that ever comes back to London *crosses fingers*


Favourite Shows?

My favourite shows... Miss Saigon, Next to Normal, Hamilton and Kinky Boots!

Tips for auditions:

Don't compare yourself. You and only you can offer what YOU have to offer. Wow, that was a lot of YOUs! But it's true. You are unique! You've also gotta have a positive mindset and accept that sometimes things don't go your way but that's cool because something else is coming for you. Be confident, make bold choices and enjoy it!

What/who should young people research in the arts?

Definitely check out Hamilton the Musical if you haven't already- I'm hooked!

I'm a big lover of new Musical Theatre and love 'Perfect Pitch' and new contemporary writers. Find a song on YouTube you know and like, then see what comes up in recommended... That's a really great way of finding new material and new artists you like that you aspire to. Another great website for new MT rep is New Musical Theatre. Definitely check it out!! It's ace!


Favourite food?


Ideal holiday?

NEW YORK CITY (I've just been for the first time and LOVED IT!) I love a hot holiday too... The Caribbean would be nice!


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

Scone as in (gone)... I'm a northern boy!

Check out Luke's YouTube channel!