YMT has just wrapped up it’s 2018 Summer season and that means that hundreds of young actors have finished the summer of a lifetime! Over the course of just a few months young performers from all over the country gathered to create critically acclaimed and unique pieces of theatre, varying from well known works like Shakespeare's “Winters Tale” to new and devised pieces such as “Wild,” where students were involved in creating original this original piece of theatre from start to finish. Take a look at what one actresses tweeted about her time working on the piece "Wild" this summer with YMT.
"Just finished an amazing two week course at @ymtuk performing our devised piece of WILD #YMTWILD with an incredibly talented all womens cast and an amazing creative team. I have made some amazing friends and learnt loads of new skils it's heart breaking to realise it's over"
During their time with YMT students receive training from the industry's top professionals that allows them learn and improve their performance technique. Additionally, students were encouraged to branch out and cultivate a strong sense of creativity and community when working on the shows. Students often leave us with many new skills they can apply to their future professional careers and even more new friends that they’ll have for a lifetime. See what these students had to say about working with the actors and creative team on “Barrack Room Ballads” this past August.
@EmilyGraceActor tweeted "#barrackroomballads has been the expierence of a lifetime and I cannot thank the creative team and cast enough. I have developed not only with skill but as a person too and I cannot wait fort eh future. You're all stars and I love you all millions. Thank you @ymtuk"
@maddieematthews also added "@tmtuk never fails to be an incredible expierence. learnt so much and have met and worked with the most wonderful talented people, beyond greatful x #YMTBarrackRoomBallads @NAM_London"
“Barrack Room Ballads” was called “an impressive, quite original theatrical idea which sits conceptually, and very thoughtfully, somewhere between Cats and Oh” by the Musical Theatre Review.
Do you or someone you know what to get involved in a YMT production and spend your next summer with fellow theatre enthusiasts and professionals ? Reserve your spot now to come to one of our national auditions beginning in 2019 and earn your place in one of our many companies. Find your nearest audition venue HERE - BOOK TODAY!
Is performing not your thing? We're also looking for musicians and young people interested in technical & stage management - find more information on our Backstage Courses and Creative Trainee Schemes.
SEVEN full-scale shows within SEVEN weeks. Led by different industry-renowned creative teams. Taking place at multiple professional perfroming spaces and theatres across the UK. Performed by the young and outstanding talent of tomorrow. And over 5000 tickets sold! This is Youth Music Theatre UK's Summer Season 2018 wrapped up!
This weekend saw the close of our final show of the summer, A Winter's Tale, at the Rose Theatre Kingston. In celebration and reflection of the wonderful season we've had, we've chosen some pictures and review highlights to share with you all!
26 - 29 July, Lyric Theatre Belfast
'West End transfer shouldn’t be out of the question for Paperboy' (Irish News).
'There is a line a minute to bring a smile to your face' (Culture Hub).
'Charming and Imaginative' (The Stage).
Help! Get Me Out of This Musical
10 - 12 August, South Hill Park Arts Centre
'[The cast of] HELP! Get Me Out of This Musical...Nicholson describes in his programme note as “disgustingly talented”. On the strength of this impressive performance, I am inclined to agree' (Musical Theatre Review).
11 - 12 August, Barbican Theatre Plymouth
No Man's Land (Dance Connection 4)
18 - 19 August, Halifax Square Chapel
'The cast has to be absolutely committed to the drama to be convincing, and they are – in spades' (Musical Theatre Review).
24 - 25 August, Barbican Theatre Plymouth
Barrack Room Ballads
24 - 26 August, The National Army Museum
'It’s an impressive, quite original theatrical idea which sits conceptually, and very thoughtfully, somewhere between Cats and Oh, What a Lovely War! Well done, Youth Music Theatre UK' (Musical Theatre Review).
A Winter's Tale
30 Aug - 2 Sep, Rose Theatre Kingston
Musical Theatre Boot Camp start's next week and we have one final practitioner to introduce - Neil Rutherford - who has a hugely impressive wealth of experience across the industry
With our brand new Musical Theatre Boot Camp soon to start on Monday 13 August we have one final practitioner to introduce - Neil Rutherford who has a hugely impressive wealth of experience, read more below. There are still a few places left so BOOK NOW before it's too late! Download the INFO SHEET.
Neil Rutherford is an international Theatre Director and Casting Director, as well as a published author and composer. He is a Bachelor of Arts from Middlesex University, having gained a BA Hons Degree in Performing Arts, specializing in directing, performance, and administration, and is also an Associate of The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Neil has an extensive list of West End acting credits including Fiddler On The Roof (London Palladium), City of Angels, three Royal Variety Performances, Annie, Romeo and Juliet, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables and more! His numerous West End, UK and international credits includes The Misanthrope staring Keira Knightley, Legally Blonde (UK and Australia), Into The Woods for the Royal Opera House, Sweeney Todd (UK and Broadway), 50th Anniversary productions of West Side Story (UK, Europe and Australia), Guys and Dolls starring Patrick Swayze (UK and Australia), The Rocky Horror Show (UK, Europe and Australia). His experience also extends to television as he was a guest lead on Eastenders (BBC), The Tailor of Gloucester (Thames), The Vampyr (BBC), presenter for several seasons of the BBC’s Singing Together, and in the films, Swept from the Sea, Wilt, and The Colour of Funny. Neil also appeared in numerous commercials, and has sung on over 15 original cast recordings.
As a director, he spent four years directing and casting at the Sydney Opera House and around Australia with major productions including South Pacific, The King and I, Orpheus in the Underworld, and Beyond Desire. He is also Artistic Director of Polar Eclipse, an English speaking theatre company in Stockholm, Sweden, where his 2017 hippy production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream broke Box Office records.
As a composer, Neil has written a large amount of original music both for the concert platform and for musical theatre, writing incidental music for over 20 productions. Amongst his pieces, his Clarinet Concerto has been performed around the world. In 1998 he was asked to compose music for Sara Kestelman's one woman show All About Me at the Royal National Theatre and the Firebird Café in New York which was re-written for BBC Radio 4. He also co-wrote, and directed, the late night Cabaret Not Quite Bedtime which opened at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival winning 3 awards. Beyond Desire is Neil’s third musical which had its world premiere in Sydney in 2014 nominated for most outstanding new work.
Neil is currently writing a film musical for Opera Australia and two theatre projects – Sherlock Holmes and a reworking of Schnitler’s play La Ronde. Most recently, he has cast My Fair Lady directed by Dame Julie Andrews!
Neil regularly lectures at major drama schools in audition and acting technique, holds audition master-classes throughout world, has released an auditioning DVD and has been an audition panelist and casting advisor to Channel Four, BBC, and ITV. His book Musical Theatre Auditions and Casting is published worldwide by Methuen Drama and Bloomsbury Publishing. He is also proud to head up Industry Liaison for Mountview.
There is still an opportunity to BOOK ON to the London Musical Theatre Boot Camp to train under Neil Rutherford and other creatives, but be sure to book soon as spaces are limited!
Shakespeare's themes are universal we can all identify with the emotions and the politics of his plays
Ahead of our major new production, A Winter’s Tale, Emmy, BRIT and BAFTA award winning Composer Howard Goodall talks to us about his work, adapting Shakespeare for musical stage, working with YMT and his commitment to music education.
Q. When adapting Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, one of his later and more complex plays for musical stage did you find any unique challenges?
Shakespeare's play has lots of unusual and quasi-magical aspects to it, for sure. It has many of the tricks he employs in his comedies - mistaken identity, separated families, exotic locations, rustic folk being, well, rustic, and so on, yet it also has a deadly serious heart.
Q. The production to be performed at Rose Theatre Kingston is a new interpretation of the story, without giving too much away, what is the show about and what can audiences expect?
Its two acts are separated by 16 years, and it looks at the very different ways that the mature and the young view and configure their world: because of this theme alone it feels amazingly germane to our own time. Plus, it has an absolutely stunning surprise moment in its final scene (no spoilers...) which echoes a similar event in Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, which was an inspiration for me too! Jealousy, loyalty and the redemption of love are all themes in the play that lend themselves, I think, quite readily to conversion into songs. The musical is unashamedly emotional, and though this is partly true of the play, adding music deepens and - in some ways - simplifies the impact of the original. And, since I have a long background in comedy, I looked for opportunities to add some laughs in the songs. I hope I've succeeded!
Q. What do you think it is about Shakespeare’s work that has endured for so long?
Shakespeare's themes are universal even when his language sometimes sounds antique. We can all identify with the emotions and the politics of his plays - people's behaviour doesn't alter much over the centuries even if their clothes and their circumstances change. In this play, for example, Shakespeare paints a vivid, utterly believable portrait of a paranoid, angry, despotic ruler, whose megalomania extends to all those around him including those closest to him - his wife and children. If Shakespeare were alive now, he'd describe Leon, the ruler in question, as a man with 'toxic masculinity'. How those around him have to deal with this, in Shakespeare's play and in our modern world are not very different. Passionate love between two teenagers whose parents are disapproving is another theme in the play and as far as I can see that issue is still very much alive in our world too. Above all, there is a profound humanity and compassion in the way Shakespeare plays out his characters' journeys and one reason his stories can be so moving is because we recognise, without always acting upon, the possibility of compassion in our own lives. Add music and the combination can be incredibly emotional. Which I hope is where we come in!
Q. Your music has been performed hundreds of times - do you still get a thrill from hearing it performed?
Is it uncool to say, YES? Every live performance is new, every performer's interpretation is different and fresh and stimulating, every new generation finding my pieces and re-inventing them is a thrill.
Q. If you could be remembered for one piece of music - what would it be?
I honestly think this question is impossible, like asking someone which of their children they like best! I expect what I want and what the public will decide I am remembered for will be completely different things, in any case. Amongst my musicals, it might be The Hired Man (My first West End musical in 1984), or Bend it Like Beckham (my most recent) but my own personal favourite is A Winter's Tale, the final scene of which makes me cry (in a good way) every time. Amongst my choral works, my Eternal Light: A Requiem is the most performed (just coming up to 600 live performances around the world) and my new Invictus: A Passion (I conducted its world première in Houston in March and its CD is released this month) seems to be capturing the imagination of lots of choirs and their directors: they are deeply heart-felt pieces on a larger scale, but of course millions of folk will think instantly of my Psalm 23 setting composed for The Vicar of Dibley. Frankly I will be lucky enough if anyone remembers anything of mine after I've gone!
Q. You are an energetic campaigner for music education yourself, how important are the opportunities given to young emerging performers and musicians by organisations like Youth Music Theatre UK?
There are two parallel issues here: the function of the arts as ways of discovering ourselves, of finding our place in the world, of exploring our feelings and our fears, of creating community and togetherness, of becoming genuinely creative and daring and of developing as a rounded human being. For all these extraordinary gifts, an organisation like YMT is of incalculable value to the young people who engage with it, irrespective of what they will make of their lives once they move on to their next stage.
But the second issue is that of the arts as a dynamic industry, creating jobs, enhancing our country's 'soft' influence in the world, boosting exports and tourism, giving voice and self-respect to communities perhaps left behind: all these attributes are also important for us as a society and YMT has had conspicuous success in nurturing talent that is later a huge feather in our collective caps. One in every eight albums bought last year in the world was by a British artist; this is an amazing statistic and in quite a significant part due to one man - Ed Sheeran - who started his journey into music with YMT. How brilliant is that?
Q. Youth Music Theatre UK has produced some pretty successful performers – what are the company like to work with?
Jon Bromwich (Executive Producer at YMT) and I share an interest in promoting and developing creative work for young people. I have known cast and worked with quite a lot of YMT alumni over the years as well, for example Lauren Samuels who starred in my West End musical Bend it Like Beckham in 2015-16. It is fair to say that some of the most outstanding performers in our industry have begun their musical theatre journey with this company.
Taking place at South Hill Park Arts Centre, 10-12 August, the brand new Help! Get Me Out of This Musical is a hilariously bonkers and endearing love song to musical theatre! Littered with references (and cheeky parodies!) of our favourite West End and Broadway hits, it is an unforgettable experience for all lovers (and even haters!) of musical theatre.
And who better to ceate the music for this celebratory show other than award-winning film, TV and theatre composer, Alexander Rudd.
Alexander has been the featured UK Composer in the International Artists Workshop for the European Union. His concert works have been performed throughout Europe, UK and the U.S.A. His theatre work includes numerous commissions in the UK and U.S and collaborated on numerous musicals. Having been awarded the highest prize for composition at Trinity College of Music, he won a Fulbright Scholarship to study film scoring at USC. In 2009, Alexander moved to the US to study Film Scoring at the University of Southern California's Thornton School Of Music in Los Angeles.
Having worked on the music for film hits such as Unknown (Warner Bros) (starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger), as well as having conducted music for the sensational TV series, Lost (ABC), Alexander's musical talent and skill is highly respected.
Whilst studying in LA he was fortunate enough to meet and learn from composer and songwriter Randy Newman (Joy, Monster’s University, Toy Story) who became his mentor. Alexander’s latest collaborations include an album of new songs co-written with academy- award-winning lyricist Don Black (Diamonds Are Forever, The Man With The Golden Gun). The album entitled Stay Away From Stars was recorded with the English Session Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios, featuring the vocals of Mica Paris, Mairead Carlin and Polly Gibbons and a new classical/rock album with Alex James (Blur) for Sony/ATV.
So come on down to hear Alexander's new music in Help! Get Me Out of This Musical - it's a treat you will be gutted to miss!