YMT blog

YMT Alumni - Sarah Gannon - Youth Music Theatre UK

An interview with Sarah Gannon


We chat with YMT Alumni and actress Sarah Gannon about her time with YMT in The Chosen Room.

I had the most wonderfully independent time during my two summers with YMT. We were taught to perfect our performance technique but also how to conduct ourselves in a professional environment. By mixing ages, it integrated mutual respect between younger and older students. I also adored my time away from home. It was the best fun of my young years!

Do you still keep in contact with any YMTers?

Yes! She is still one of my closest friends.

Why should people get involved with YMT?

Because there is more to this business than just learning the songs or dance moves. And learning how to work with others away from home/stage school forces you to learn new life skills. Because of my YMT journey I feel I was capable/comfortable to accept professional touring roles late in life.

What would your dream role be?

I adore musicals and always will but if I had my way I would become a successful singer songwriter… However I would adore the opportunity to someday play the role of Cathy or Eponine.

Favourite Shows?

Les Misérables is the reason I started singing in the first place. But recently I went to see my friend play the lead in Kinky Boots. And I might be biased but woah!

Tips for auditions:

Thank the accompanist. Thank the casting assistant. Thank the person that gave you a bit of encouragement in the audition room. And most of all… sometimes you might not get the part because you messed up the note, sometimes it's because you're brunette or too tall. But not getting the part isn't the end of the world. Be happy you tried because unlike many hopefuls you were in the position to attend the audition and you were brave enough to do so!

What/who should young people research in the arts?

Try to build up a wonderful repertoire in your spare time. Follow Twitter sites of casting agents. But honestly there is no right way of working in this business. It just helps to be yourself and approach people personally after shows. Attend masterclasses when possible. Ask for advice … and when you win a Tony or Olivier … Keep asking for advice, because we're forever learning.

Favourite food?

Oooooh em, I love Cadbury's Golden Crisp and a cup of tea.

Ideal holiday?

Rome. Alway Rome. Go feed your belly and your soul! But I've been all over with tour that I'm raging I never got to Asia at all so I'd like to visit the elephants.

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

Eh obviously Scone as in Stone!

Read from YMT Alumni on our blog and check out how you can get involved with YMT.

YMT's Summer Skills Courses 2016 - Youth Music Theatre UK

Summer Skills Courses - what are they?


What are Summer Skills Courses and why should I take part?

If you love being creative and exploring new ideas as well as acting, singing, dancing and generally being silly then YMT is the place for you!

YMT is the UK's most active organisation offering music theatre opportunities to young people aged 11-21. On our Summer Skill Courses - which are basically like summer camps - you'll work with leading theatre professionals (people who have worked on Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildAmerican Idiot, In the HeightsCats, The Diary of Adrian Mole and so much more) to create something that is TOTALLY NEW! This is what's unique about our Summer Skills Courses: nowhere else can you work on something that's completely new and completely yours! PLUS, you'll get a Grade 6 Certificate from Trinity College London - a testament to the high quality of our work! 

Aaron, 17 – ‘The experience was incredible. I’ve learned so much. The course gave me so much more confidence.'

You will have the opportunity to meet like-minded people and be at the centre of the creative process. We have participants from all over the world at different experience levels - and that's great! You'll learn so much not just from our professionals but also from each other. The exciting thing is meeting someone who loves musicals and theatre just as much as you! So many other companies do Annie or Oliver, Spring Awakening or West Side Story - and that's fine - but now's your chance to be part of something different. You'll have the chance to shape and develop a new piece, offering ideas for movement, direction and lyrics.

Courses are intense, but they're also incredibly fun and informal. You'll also be staying in some really amazing places too - like Fettes College, rumoured to be JK Rowling's inspiration for Hogwarts or beautiful boarding schools like Rugby School, Lockers Park and Warminster School.

Ayesha, 20 – ‘I can’t recommend these courses enough. I had so much fun working with an amazing team and meeting so many lovely people.'

We're running seven Summer Skills Courses in 2016 - all across the UK - and each course will take inspiration from a different theme. This year's themes cover classics like Shakespeare's The Tempest and Arthur Miller's The Crucible. We'll also be exploring Wes Anderson's zany comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel, which won four Oscars back in 2014. Other themes include vampires, suffragettes, protesters, the Jazz Age and FANDOMS like Harry Potter, Pokémon, Beyoncé, Dr Who, Star Trek, One Direction and lots more.

YMT is dedicated to offering young people unrivalled opportunities in the arts and now's your chance to join the UK's leading music theatre company and follow in the footsteps of Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith.

David, 11 - ‘Thanks for this amazing opportunity. I have made so many new friends and I love it here so much I am definitely coming back!’


Rugby SchoolWarminster SchoolFettes CollegeLockers Park

Rugby School, Warminster School, Fettes College and Lockers Park.

Take a look at one of our Summer Skills Courses from last year.



Amy Gardyne - Youth Music Theatre UK - YMT Alumni

An interview with Amy Gardyne


We chat with actress and musician Amy Gardyne (formerly Amy Walsh) about her time in the YMT Company.

I was part of the YMT Company for four years - The Last Tango (2006), Rare Dreams (2007), The Silver Bough (2008) and A Winter’s Tale (2009). I learnt more than I could ever put into words through each of the four shows, all of which were very different. The first was based on a novel called Ali and Nino and was mostly pre-written and composed, the middle two were completely devised on-site by the company and the creatives and the last, A Winter’s Tale, was a book musical by Howard Goodall, so I was lucky to experience a more traditional musical theatre structure as well collaborate with some amazing actors, musicians and creatives to explore what we could come up with ourselves. YMT did wonders for my self-confidence, especially through the devised projects, by throwing me completely out of my comfort zone and encouraging me to use skills, instruments and techniques, which I previously been too afraid to try (in public at least!)

Do you still keep in contact with any YMTers?

Yes! There are a few people from each year who I regularly keep in touch with, although I’m rubbish at that kind of thing! But I see fellow YMTers all over the place at auditions, workshops and shows, and you inevitably find at least one friend-of-a-friend who did a project with you back in the day... You do end up with a wonderful, nationwide network of multi-talented friends and contacts.

Why should people get involved with YMT?

For those friendships and those connections, for that invaluable creative experience, for building your self-confidence and putting yourself in those scary situations! For getting the chance to collaborate intensively with a group of people who are all as madly passionate about musical theatre as you are, for being amazed by what they can do and surprised at what you can do too. For me it was also the first time I’d ever stayed far away from home for a long period of time, which was such a useful experience before moving out and going to university and drama school.

What would your dream role be?

Oh, too many! In musical theatre, I think I will happily retire once I’ve played Margaret in The Light in the Piazza, but I would also love to conquer Mother Courage one day.

Favourite Shows?

The Donmar’s version of The Threepenny Opera with the translation by Robert David MacDonald and Jeremy Sams is one of my all-time favourites, because it was the first time I’d encountered really gritty musical theatre. I’m also a huge fan of Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris. Urinetown is brilliant. But ask me next month and I’ll probably have changed my mind!


What/who should young people research in the arts?

I can’t think of anything really specific I’m afraid, but what I would say is get out there and see and do as much as you can! Obviously this is harder if you don’t live in or close to London, but it isn’t impossible. Never turn down any opportunity to see ANYTHING - this includes street theatre, rehearsals, anything free. Beg and borrow (but please don’t steal…) loads of plays, soundtracks and librettos - this is what I had to work really hard on a drama school, trying to catch up with everyone else’s knowledge. Know who’s who in the industry all the time - producers, directors, casting directors, actors, musicians etc. Know what’s on and what’s about to be on in every theatre - and don’t forget all the regional houses too. The more you know before you get thrown in there professionally, the better!

Favourite food?

Avocado!! I could eat avocados and nothing else for the rest of my life and be very happy.


Ideal holiday?

Anywhere warmer and drier than the UK right now.

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


Read from YMT Alumni on our blog and check out how you can get involved with YMT.