YMT blog

Andrew Doyle - Gulliver's Travels Lyric Theatre Belfast - Youth Music Theatre UK

Q&A with Andrew Doyle


Stand-up comedian Andrew Doyle chats with us about YMT's upcoming spectacular GULLIVER'S TRAVELS at the Lyric Belfast.

What can audiences expect from the show?

Most people’s expectations of Gulliver’s Travels are based on the abridged version we all read at school, or the various adaptations we’ve seen over the years. The focus always seems to be on Lilliput and Brobdingnag, where Gulliver encounters a race of tiny people and a race of giants respectively. But there are plenty of other islands he visits on his various voyages, which I was keen to represent. My favourite is Laputa, the flying island.

Why is this show unique?

Duke Special’s music for this show is really exciting. There’s always been a theatricality to his work, and the genre just seems so natural for him. Then there’s Swift’s story itself, which is endlessly surprising. It’s exactly the kind of show I’d want to see. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?

What are your influences for this show?

That’s a tricky question. I usually only ever become conscious of influences after the thing is written. But thinking about it, I can see elements of Mervyn Peake in the more fantastical moments, particularly in the way I’ve tried to combine darkness with comedy. There are also a number of Shakespearean allusions in the piece - I hate talking about my own writing, though;  I end up sounding really self-important. So thanks for that.

Can you describe the show in three words?

No. And if I could it wouldn’t be worth seeing.

What are your favourite musicals?

I really love Satyagraha, Philip Glass’s minimalist opera about Mahatma Gandhi. Does that count? My favourite musical is probably Little Shop of Horrors, mostly because it manages to be heartfelt without falling into the trap of sentimentality. And any show in which the protagonists are eaten is bound to be a success.

Gulliver's Travels Lyric Belfast Youth Music Theatre UK

Gulliver's Travels is being performed at the Lyric Theatre Belfast, 30 July - 1 August as part of YMT's 2015 Summer Season of New Music Theatre. Tickets here.

Ciaran Butler

My Life after YMT - by Ciarán Butler


I am writing a short write up about my life after YMT because I feel it is important that this organisation understands the impact they can have on a young boy's life.

Before my YMT years I was a very shy and scared young boy. I was too worried about the thoughts of others and hid my love for performing from the world. I have met some amazing people during my years with YMT, some of which are touring in musicals and others who are ruling the pop charts. I always wanted to pursue my own career in the arts but with a very low opinion on myself, I could never imagine my face on those who lived their lives on stage!

Walking away from YMT I found a different spirit and almost a different person was created. I had the courage and determination to follow my dreams and audition for schools overseas in England that would morph me into the artistic and talented person that I always wanted to be. I know this all sounds super cheesy but YMT really did create the present and future I always wanted.

Ciaran Butler - The Chosen Room 2009

I no longer feared being a failure, as I learnt for every failure there is a lesson to be learnt that actually built a stronger performer within me. Thanks to YMT I graduated from LCM and Italia Conti, two schools of which I am very proud to have been training in. The career that has been created was on to only my imagination but then became reality. Modelling in front of cameras for Christmas Campaigns and taking part in a foreign advertisement as a dancer on set. I never saw myself as a traveller, however, returning from Mallorca as a Lead Sing and Lead Dancer in four separate shows ignited a flare to see the world and learn cultures while living my dream as a PROFESSIONAL singer, actor and dancer.

My dreams were reached when I got to travel to America and the Bahamas as a Lead Singer and Dancer in a Rock and Roll show (88keys) and a Disco Show (Studio VIP). Working with the most talented cast I had ever worked with, becoming a sort of family we all were star stuck as we trained in puppeteering  with the stars of Sesame Street and leading actors from Broadway.

In my heart of hearts I know it is all the support and chances that all the founders and everyone unseen in the YMT family, directors and choreographers that helped me see that I could have the life I wanted, and that I was good enough. I look forward to auditioning and fighting for a place in the WEST END and because of all of you I believe I can get there.

Many Many Thanks, Ciarán Butler.

Ciarán was in YMT's productions of Oh! Carol (2007) and The Chosen Room (2008 and 2009).

Billy Elliot - Youth Music Theatre UK

Billy Elliot Competition!


Win a pair of top-price tickets to the smash-hit musical!

It’s Billy’s birthday! On Tuesday 12 May, Billy Elliot the Musical marks 10 years in the West End. One of the most celebrated, award-winning musicals on stage today, Billy Elliot has been dazzling London since 2005, and has gone on to captivate audiences around the world. Now we’re offering Youth Music Theatre UK members the chance to see the show in its 10th birthday year, with a pair of top price tickets up for grabs.

Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/85 miners’ strike, Billy Elliot the Musical is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dream come true. Follow Billy’s journey as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever. With unforgettable music by Elton John, sensational dance and a powerful storyline, Billy Elliot the Musical is an astonishing theatrical experience will stay with you forever.


Billy Elliot joins a class specialising in what form of dance?

A) Jazz
B) Tap
C) Ballet

Ts&Cs: Prize valid for Monday – Thursday evening performances only. Tickets are subject to availability; non-transferable and exclusions apply. Blackout dates apply (12 May; 25 – 30 May). Travel costs are not included in this competition.

Youth Music Theatre UK - Lyric Hammersmith



YMT moves into the Lyric Hammersmith!

We've been teasing you over the past week or so, and we can FINALLY announce that YMT has teamed up with the Lyric Hammersmith - one of the most prestigious and well-respected theatres in the UK. 

Please note our new address:

Lyric Hammersmith
Lyric Square
King Street
W6 0QL

We've moved into the stunning Reuben Foundation Wing - a £20 million redevelopment plan that sees the Lyric Hammersmith become a cultural hub for young people in West London. We're joining eight other brilliant organisations with YMT being the delivery partner for musical theatre (because that's our thaaaang!) Over the next few months we'll be running some incredible workshops on The Explore Programme in acting, singing and dancing as well as our inaugural Youth Music Theatre Orchestra concert with some very special guests!

We'll be announcing the full details of our programme, YMT @ The Lyric, very shortly and we're so thrilled and excited to be in partnership with all these incredible organisations!

Youth Music Theatre UK - Lyric Hammersmith

Look at our lovely team!! 

Youth Music Theatre UK - Lyric Hammersmith

A fancy landing... very nice!

Youth Music Theatre UK - Lyric Hammersmith

Hard at work (obviously) in our shiny new office!


Memphis - Review by Jack Bence


***** (5 stars)

Shaftesbury Theatre, London - Thursday 23 October, 2014

Memphis is the story of the birth of rock 'n' roll, and a tale of two people trying to achieve their dreams set against the backdrop of 50s America and the brutal segregation of that time.

The show opens with a high-octane rip-roaring song and dance number that sets the tone for the entire piece abd this high energy remains throughout, only subverted during the more sombre, delicate moments, which are handled expertly by the performers. The show also uses some clever devices most notably a sliding skateboard to remove singers when the radio dial is changed during the department store scene.

Beverley Knight is incredible as Felicia; her vocal range and ability are as good, if not better as anyone I've seen in the West Eend... Yes, she is a recording artist but she is also without question a true leading lady. Killian Donnelly is also exquisite as the rebellious tour de force that is Huey Calhoun. Playing the role with all the charisma and punch that it so desperately requires.

The choreography is strong, the dancing breathtaking and the band is incredible. Other standout performers are Jason Pennycooke (Bobby) and Tyrone Huntley (Gator) who offer truly flawless performances that made me both laugh and cry.

The piece gives a candid representation of the division and hardship that was evident during that period in history and the writing, direction and delivery handle and serve it impeccably.

Whether you love the blues or not (and who doesn't?) all in all this is a show I would implore you to see. It received a rapturous standing ovation and never has it been so richly deserved.

Memphis is currently playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London. Book now: http://www.memphisthemusical.com/