YMT blog

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.

National Youth Orchestra

National Youth Orchestra - Auditions


Our friends at the NYO are auditioning!

The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain comprises of 164 musicians aged 13 - 19 years old, from a variety of backgrounds and from every corner of the UK. We welcome applications from teenage musicians who play to Grade 8 distinction or equivalent standard, have a passion for orchestral music, a taste for adventure and great team spirit.

We are also recruiting talented teenage composers for a year of immersion in orchestral and creative opportunities.

Auditions are FREE, located across the country, with travel bursaries available. The audition experience aims to be positive, friendly and constructive and all auditionees will receive a workshop and written feedback. Bursaries are also available to cover the full cost of membership.

Being part of NYO is a fantastic opportunity for talented young musicians to take their music making to the highest level. They will work with world-class tutors and conductors, play in the UK’s greatest concert halls and forge lifelong friendships with like-minded musicians.

Visit our website - nyo.org.uk/apply-for-nyo-2017– to learn about the audition process, discover what bursaries are available and hear advice from NYO musicians and tutors about preparing for auditions.

Applications close 1 June.

Sean runs the marathon Youth Music Theatre UK YMT - YMT Blog

Sean runs the Marathon... Blog 5



On Sunday 24 April 2016, I ran the London Marathon with over 30,000 others and I still can't quite believe it. It hurt a lot (my gosh did it hurt), but seeing YMTers, family and friends cheer me on was totally worth it. It took me 5 hours 21 minutes 15 seconds and I ran the entire thing!

I want to say a massive thank you to everyone for their kind words, support and donations! It has been an incredible experience, which I thankfully don't ever have to do again - although it was quite surreal running in between and Rhino and a Light House...

Together we've managed to raise over £1,500 so far for the YMT Bursary Scheme, which is absolutely amazing (so thank you!). Donations can still be made here (any contribution is so greatly appreciated).


My wonderful YMT family (Lara, Hannah, Simon, Jon, Sophie, Me, Diana and Anna).

The floor is my friend.


Sean runs the Marathon... Blog 4



I can't believe there are only two days to go until the big day! It only seems like yesterday that I was squeezing into my running tights (base layers? Whatever they're called...) and hobbling around Clapham Common. 

I went to register at the ExCel centre earlier and got my goody bag (yay) and there were hundreds of people all cheery and excited, which was nice to see. I've got one little run tomorrow and then that's it! I'll be joining over 30,000 other fools to run 26.2 miles of London (probably in the rain too...).

A monumental thank you to everyone who has donated so far, we've managed to raise over £1,000 and contributions are still rolling in. Keep 'em comin'! YOU CAN DONATE HERE.

You can also track me on the day (bit stalkerish, but hey) by downloading the App! My number is 52375! We'll also be live tweeting on the day, so make sure you're following us on @ymtuk! 

Sean runs the marathon Youth Music Theatre UK YMT - YMT Blog

My number! 

Thanks again to everyone! Anything you can spare really is amazing and goes a long way to helping young people in the arts. DONATE NOW! http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiser...

Adam Cooper - YMT Alumni - YMT Blog - Youth Music Theatre UK

An interview with Adam Cooper


We chat to Urdang graduate and YMTer Adam Cooper about his time in the YMT Company!

My YMT experience has been extraordinary. I’ve done three projects: Missing Mel (2008) at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and then London, Chosen Room (2009) and Song For Eurydice (2010), all of which were completely different and gave me totally different experiences. After that I went on to being an Assistant for Mort and then a choreographer for a Summer Skills Course!

Adam Cooper - Song for Eurydice - YMT Alumni - Youth Music Theatre UK - YMT Blog
Adam in Song for Eurydice (2010)

Do you still keep in contact with any YMTers?

Yes I do! A lot of people have continued on into the industry and it’s so good seeing so many talented people being successful in this field and knowing that they are all genuinely lovely people too. YMT friends really stick with you after that intense two-week experience.

Why should people get involved with YMT?

Because it’s enormous fun! Plus you end up learning so much about yourself and your craft at the same time. If it wasn’t for YMT, I wouldn’t have applied for musical theatre colleges, I wouldn’t have seen the things I’ve seen and I wouldn’t be living in working in Germany now. It really opened my eyes to this industry as a career choice. Just go for it. If you hold back that’s what you’re going to regret.

What would your dream role be?

I’d love to be in Cats, Singing in the Rain or Mary Poppins. I absolutely love the dancing in those shows.


Favourite shows?

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Legally Blonde and Sister Act - all musicals that were my favourite when I first came to London. They’ve really stuck with me. All cheesy but with a great heart.


What/who should young people research in the arts?

Matthew Bourne company. If young people haven’t heard of this company I seriously recommend it. Watching Edward Scissorhands for the first time when I was younger was such a turning point for me and let me see dance in a whole new light.

Favourite food?

Working abroad I find that I’m just crazy British comforts. Yorkshire Pudding or a simple Toad in the Hole go down a treat when you’re missing home.

Ideal holiday?

Some place new that I can explore! I’ve been lucky enough to see many places previously working as a dancer on a cruise but I still need to cross Japan and China off that list.

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

Scone as in gone when I’m not thinking about it. If i’m doing my best Downton Abbey it would be Scone as in stone.

A huge thank you to Adam for taking the time to answer our questions - have a read of interviews from other YMT Alumni!