YMT Auditions

Drew Taylor - Youth Music Theatre UK - YMT Blog - Photo: Blazej Marczak

'Be prepared for anything...' - Drew Taylor


Glasgow-based writer and theatre-maker Drew Taylor offers his views on auditions and who you should be checking out!

Drew has worked with YMT several times over the last few years, including last year's zombie-musical The Coorie Cave... or... How to survive a zombie apocalypse and come out singing as well as a workshop week in Alicante! He has LOADS of exciting stuff planned for 2016, so make sure you check out his website.

The Coorie Cave - Youth Music Theatre UK - YMT

The Coorie Cave... Or... How to survive a zombie apocalypse and come out singing, 2015. Photo: James Taylor-Wilson

How to prepare for an audition:

Read through everything that has been sent to you! Twice! Wear suitable clothing so that you can move around if necessary! Get some good sleep the night before and allow more than enough time to travel to the location!

Top Tips for auditionees:

We want to find the best possible people for the YMT Company, which means people that can deliver the goods, who can adapt their performance to what we're asking for and... fundamentally... that you are a team player. Be friendly, but not over eager; know when chattiness goes into idle waffle and be prepared for anything...

Favourite show?

Particularly In The Heartland / Architecting / MissionDrift - The TEAMFake It 'til You Make It - Bryony Kimmings and The Lion King.


What/who should young people research in the arts?

Definitely check out the TEAMBryony KimmingsThe Royal Court Theatre London and Perfect Pitch - they develop brand new musicals.

Favourite Food?

My mum's Spaghetti Bolognese.... and Haribo...

Ideal holiday:

When HOT: nothing, sat by a pool. When COOL: sightseeing and exploring a new culture. Also, San Francisco is my spiritual home.


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


Make sure you check out Drew's website for all his incredible upcoming projects.

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.

Sonum Batra - Youth Music Theatre UK

Meet the 2016 Auditions Team - Sonum Batra


Composer and Musical Director-extraordinaire SONUM BATRA says what she's looking for from auditionees.

Training: I trained at King's College London and now work as Music Director for lots of different theatre companies. I'm looking to study orchestration for film next.. so watch this space!

What are you looking for from auditionees?

I like watching singers who really perform their songs with honesty and intention, rather than just standing there and singing. It's lovely watching people enjoying themselves and not being afraid to just... go for it!


Tips for auditionees:

My first would be to NOT be nervous! Come into the workshop and enjoy yourselves. Don't be afraid to try things out of your comfort zone... oh, and pin/tie your hair back, and bring water!

Why should people get involved with YMT?

At YMT you not only get the chance to rehearse and perform a musical, but you get to be involved with the creative process. You work with composers and writers and perform a brand new piece of theatre. It's a really exciting thing to be involved in. You also get the chance to improve your skills across all three disciplines, whilst being surrounded by a room full of people who have all the same interests as you!

Favourite show? 

My all time favourites are Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods (I even wrote my dissertation on it!) I think Stephen Sondheim is an absolute genius! I'm a big fan of Punchdrunk and really loved The Drowned Man.


What/who should young people research in the arts?

Anything that inspires you. Go and see as much different stuff as possible. Theatre companies like Punchdrunk and Phizzical are a couple of my favourites..

Favourite food?

I love Indian food... oh and hummus. I could live on the stuff!


Ideal holiday?

Somewhere with a good hiking trail, salsa and lots of coffee - (so South America!) I think Colombia, Cuba and Argentina have to be my favourites there. Oh and I really want to go back to Israel. I have Kilimanjaro next on my list, as well as Japan and Iceland. I don't think I can pick an ideal holiday, I think I just want to see the whole world!


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

I'm northern ! Scone / gone!

Don't forget to read all our entries in the Meet the Auditions Team series and don't forget to book your audition!

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!