Playing Up


What is the National Youth Theatre’s Playing Up Company Course & How do I apply?
Playing Up is an OCN Level 3 accredited 10 month drama training programme, offering young people aged 19 - 24 who are not in Education Employment or Training  the opportunity to gain an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Theatre Arts, which is equivalent to 2 ‘A’ Levels. 

Applications will open in April. 

Am I eligible for a free place?
Places are available to NYT members and non- members. You are eligible for a FREE place if you are: 
•    19 – 23 year olds (you must be 19 or over on 31st August 2018) 
•    You do not yet hold a full level 3 qualification

Priority is given to those who fulfil the criteria above. Enrolment for those that are 24 years old on 31st August 2018 or who already hold a full level 3 qualification is still possible. However students in this position would need to obtain a Student Finance Advance Learner Loan to undertake the course. This loan is wiped (Free) if the student goes on to HE and completes a higher level course in the future. For more information on whether this applies to you please contact  or visit here

Throughout the course participants receive a travel bursary, free theatre tickets, pastoral and academic support and help applying for future work or higher education.

What should I expect during the Playing Up Company Course?
The course focuses on performance skills such as movement, voice, devising, naturalism, character work and scene study. There is also an academic element to the course which allows you to explore theatre practitioners and undertake an extended research project. In the last term of the course the group will work towards a Final Production. 

When and where is the course?
This course runs for 10 months from September – following July in London.

How many people take part?
The Playing Up Company is made up of 25 members.

What happens after the course?
We support applications to UCAS for University and Drama school and many of our past students have gone onto great places, including Rose Bruford Drama School, Guildhall, RADA, Central School of Speech and Drama, Roehampton University, London Metropolitan University and Birmingham University. 

At the end of the course there is a graduation performance which plays at a professional London venue. 

Following this unique 10 month programme Playing Up students that are not already NYT members, receive a place on one of the NTY summer Schools, this results in NYT membership.  Many graduates go on to pursue a career in theatre, and continue their training either in drama school, University or with the NYT REP Company.

For more information about Playing Up please get in touch with Emily Doherty (Project Manager), at or Benjamin Salmon (Playing Up Assistant), at

Applications are currently closed 

Applications for Playing Up 2017/18 are now closed. 

National Youth Theatre would like to thank the following people and organisations for their support of Playing Up: City and Islington College, The Henry Smith Charity, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Leverhulme Trust, CLV, The Kirby Laing Foundation, Sara and Paul Phillips, The Allen & Overy Foundation, The Clothworkers’ Foundation, Schroder Charity Trust, The D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, the Teale Charitable Trust, The Leathersellers’ Company, Tania and Keith Black, Jack Petchey Foundation, Jody Newman and Nicola Stanhope


  • For ages 19-25
  • 10 month course
  • For young people not in education, employment or training
  • Leads to NYT membership for those who achieve the qualification


Course Guide