National Youth Theatre announces plans for 2020/21

NYT has announced dates for two new shows and updates on the building work of their National Production House for Young People.

Portchester Castle - Photo: English Heritage
Portchester Castle - Photo: English Heritage

CEO and Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre, Paul Roseby OBE, has announced the latest plans for the remainder of 2020 and the initial plans for 2021.

Two new shows exploring activism and protest through art have been announced. The Last Harvest which is the latest instalment of MELT. In partnership with the University of Hull, MELT is a three-year project that has been created in response to the climate crisis. With an initial cast of 200, MELT began research and development and group rehearsals in May and June via video conferencing. The Last Harvest will take place at the new Sanctuary Theatre, an outdoor earth amphitheatre in Shropshire. The show will take audiences on a fire-lit journey from the future to now in a dystopian outdoor promenade spectacle. The Sanctuary Theatre has been built by Tim Ashton, who is a sustainable farmer, in response to impact the pandemic has had on the arts industry. The Last Harvest is presented as part of Signal Fires, which will see the UK’s top touring theatre companies sharing stories around fires. Tickets are on sale now: nyt.org.uk/thelastharvest

Paul Roseby OBE, CEO and Artistic Director of National Youth Theatre said: “After six months of discovering and expanding our work on the virtual stage with an ever-increasing reach, our first ‘on-the-ground’ production will be exactly that with an outdoor promenade spectacle in a brand new earth amphitheatre in Shropshire. The Last Harvest will see Britain’s best young talent bring to life this beautiful new performance space, created by sustainable farmer Tim Ashton. Whilst working within all Covid-19 restrictions we recognise the demand and desire to get back to work reaching new live audiences in person and are delighted at the opportunity to do so.”

National Youth Theatre has announced another new show, created as part of Freedom and Revolution which is a new project in partnership with the English Heritage Fund and through the award-winning Shout Out Loud programme, the University of Warwick and Hampshire Cultural Trust. With a title to be announced, the show is currently in research and development and will be performed at Porchester Castle in 2021. Porchester Castle is the best preserved fort in the Northern Europe and was in use for more than 1000 years. More than 2000 Black Caribbean prisoners of war held at Porchester Castle and the new play will explore the lives of these prisoners that were captured by British Forces during the Napoleonic wars.

NYT Chair Dawn Airey said:“I’m pleased to announce that work has begun on the transformation of our National Production House for Young People, which will allow us to double the number of young people we can engage in the building when we reopen in 2021. I’m very grateful to all our supporters for making this possible, especially the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund and The Kirby Laing Foundation. I’m also delighted that fivenew brilliant trustees have joined the NYT Board after being nominated by our Youth Trustees and they are Munroe Bergdorf, Sylvia Darkwa-Ohemeng, Jessica Hung Han Yun, Tobi Kyeremateng and Daniel York Loh.”