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Youth Music Theatre UK, known as YMT, is the UK’s national music theatre company for young people (aged 11-21). We are one of the nine National Youth Music Organisations supported by Arts Council England and the Department for Education.
Our principal aim is to provide the highest quality training for talented young actors, singers, musicians, dancers and theatre technicians. YMT courses also offer significant personal and educational benefits, developing confidence, self-esteem, team work, communication skills and professionalism.
Creativity is at the heart of our work, and we receive support from Arts Council England as a strategic arts organisation developing new music theatre. In this role, we commission or devise at least eight productions every year. We pride ourselves on working with some of the most exciting and respected theatre practitioners in the industry, drawing on a wealth of experience from commercial West End theatre, the National Theatre, the RSC, regional repertory, experimental and fringe theatre.
We define ‘music theatre’ widely, and our work has explored everything from chamber opera to dubstep, pop/rock to folk, from Greek myth to contemporary politics, from physical theatre to actor-musicianship.
- We hold workshop auditions for our productions all across the UK in January and February each year
- Productions take place in the school summer holidays and involve 2-3 weeks of residential rehearsals followed by public performances in professional theatre venues. Selection for particular projects is based on skills rather than geography, so someone auditioning in Inverness might join a project in London, or someone from Plymouth might be in a show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
- Open access courses are residential workshops which you don’t have to audition for, where you create a new musical in a week. They provide training in acting, singing, dance, audition technique, writing and composition.
- Our Learning and Participation programme involves workshops in schools and community settings
- We provide opportunities for emerging artists (composers, directors, musical directors, choreographers and designers) to work with leading theatre industry practitioners and develop their skills through our Creative Trainee scheme
Most of our work, except the learning programme, is residential. This means all the young people, along with the creative teams and pastoral staff, live and work away from home in an intensive, creative environment. Accommodation is in universities or boarding schools all over the UK, and we have a wonderful and experienced pastoral team who look after everybody. You can visit our parents page for further details and to view our pastoral and child protection policies. All participants and staff receive a comprehensive guide to YMT when they join the company.
Over the next ten years we hope to build on all we’ve achieved so far:
- We have trained over 6,000 young people, and our alumni have gone on to have success in a wide range of careers, with many currently working in the West End, regional theatre, music industry, television and film
- We have devised and commissioned over 100 pieces of new music theatre, with more than 50 world premieres performed at top theatre venues across the UK. One of our shows, Loserville, went on to be produced professionally at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Garrick Theatre in the West End and was nominated for ‘Best New Musical’ at the Olivier, Whatsonstage, and BroadwayWorldUK awards
- All our courses are now assessed by Trinity College London, so participants receive a certificate in Music Theatre in Production at Grade 8 (productions), Grade 6 (courses) or Grade 4 (learning programme), benchmarking our work against the Qualifications and Credit Framework
- We were the first arts organisation to be awarded the Department for Education’s Learning Outside the Classroom kite mark
- In 2013 we created our first music theatre film Vanishing Point in collaboration with BAFTA-nominated production company Gamelab. Over the coming years we aim to take music theatre in to film, online drama, music video and radio in order to raise the profile of the genre
- We attract a higher number of female auditionees, but currently the industry is dominated by male composers, so we are addressing this imbalance by developing a proactive strand of work to support women composers and encourage new writing with roles for young women
- We are building a growing learning programme in schools and continuing to fundraise for our Bursary Scheme to encourage the widest intake of young people from a range of backgrounds
- We are a National Youth Music Organisation supported by Arts Council England and the Department for Education, and have been established for ten years
- We have a long standing relationship with the UK’s largest teaching union, the NASUWT, who are our principal sponsors, and we rely on our other supporters to fund our work, to whom we are extremely grateful
We hope that you will join us on that journey, whether as a performer, a creative practitioner, a parent, a friend, an audience member or a supporter.
Welcome to YMT!