For the third year running, the National Youth Theatre will bring a company of 18 to 25-year-old performers to the West End for a season of three shows at the Ambassadors Theatre this September.
Consensual, Evan Placey’s new play about consent and sex education, will play alongside adaptations of Wuthering Heights and The Merchant Of Venice by acclaimed playwrights Stephanie Street and Tom Stoppard respectively at the West End theatre from 18 September to 4 December.
The three productions will play as part of a packed season of activity for the hugely acclaimed theatre company that inspires and trains young performers, and boasts a staggering line-up of hugely successful alumni including Daniel Craig, Helen Mirren, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Colin Firth, Rosamund Pike, Matt Smith and Michelle Dockery.
Consensual, which is directed by Pia Furtardo and will be performed by the repertory season’s 16 talented young performers, examines a teacher-pupil relationship and will also be the subject of a specially commissioned film for Sky Arts that will mix documentary and drama to follow the company as they develop the play.
Wuthering Heights, which tells the passionate story of Heathcliff and his inseparable bond with Cathy, will be directed by Emily Lim, while Stoppard’s acclaimed schools adaptation of The Merchant Of Venice will be directed by NYT Associate Anna Niland.
Away from the West End, the theatre company will also undertake two projects in east London over the summer.
As part of the company’s Playing Up course, which offers 19 to 24-year-olds out of employment or training the chance to train and work on new work, two plays about mental health and intimacy in contemporary society, Miriam Battye’s Electricity and Samuel Evans’ My Beautiful City, will play at the Arcola Theatre on 26 and 27 June.
The company will then take on perhaps its most ambitious project as it stages a site-specific production at Raines Foundation Upper School in Bethnal Green from 12 to 27 August as a response to February’s high profile news story when three school girls left the nearby Bethnal Green Academy to travel to Syria and join ISIS.
Director Nadia Latif and writer Omar El-Khairy’s piece will examine the implications of radicalism and extremism on the people and communities behind the headlines, with an enormous cast of 113 helping to create what is being described as “a theatrical visual spectacle”.
Speaking about the exciting line-up of work ahead, NYT’s Artistic Director Paul Roseby commented: “This season will celebrate the diversity, vibrancy and talent of Britain’s youth, with fearless new voices. Much has been said about the current challenges young people from disadvantaged and ‘diverse’ backgrounds face trying to access our industry. We are the only company in the UK putting brave young talent on the West End stage in front of large audiences in a season of this scale.
“I call on those concerned about access to do something about it by supporting the National Youth Theatre’s free opportunities. They are accessible to all, empower talented young people to learn on stage in front of an audience and lead to professional employment in the creative industries.”
Autumn’s West End season will play alongside the Ambassadors Theatre’s long-running hit Stomp, which is currently booking at the venue to 5 June 2016.