I wanted to write at this unprecedented time to update you on our plans to support the young people who need us now more than ever in this frightening and isolating time for them, our friends in the industry and I'm sure many of you.
As the first youth theatre in the world we’ve changed hundreds of thousands of young lives in our 64 year history, broken new ground by giving youth a voice on world-leading stages at home and abroad, and offered a creative home and place for many young people to find themselves and be themselves. As many of you will know in that 64 year history we’ve faced some huge challenges, financially and culturally as we’ve fought to make theatre something any young person can be part of no matter where they’re from or what their background is.
The challenge that we now all face is perhaps greater than anything that’s gone before and with great sadness we have ceased all on-the-ground activity with young people this week in direct response to the global coronavirus pandemic. This goes against my living being, but is an important step to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the young people we work with, our staff and volunteers, and the wider public.
Whilst on-the-ground activity has paused, our support for the young people will not. Hundreds around the UK will take part in a live-streamed audition workshop this Saturday morning. Our Playing Up course for young people at risk will meet in a virtual room next week as this vital support structure and re-entry route into education continues digitally. Whilst some planned activity will inevitably be postponed, this will not stop us championing young talent and voices on all the available platforms from the page to the virtual stage and beyond. Our work to bring young people from across the country together and create a safe space where they can be themselves and belong will continue.
From virtual courses and play-reading clubs to live-streamed open mic nights from their kitchens, we will do all we can to unleash creativity, connection and belonging in our young community. We are listening to our young people to understand not only their needs and their fears but also their ideas for creative solutions and new ways of telling stories. We will foreground and celebrate their voices in the weeks and months ahead as we co curate projects and creative moments across our community. We understand how hard this time will be for many in and outside our sector as we all come to terms with the implications of the last few weeks. If at any point you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel and think you can help support us financially, your support now and in the future will be vital to protect the creative lifeline that we offer to young people isolated from their friends, struggling with their wellbeing and scared about the future.
Watch a short film here to meet some of these brave young people and find out more about how you can help if at any point you are in a position to do so. The threat to this work is very real but we will fight to continue to give our young community structure, creative and emotional support, and the chance to be part of something bigger.
Follow us on our social channels for all the latest on how we are striving to support young people with creativity, connections and hope.
Wishing you and your loved ones all the very best for the coming weeks
Paul Roseby and the NYT Team
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We are a registered charity (306075/SCO43665). Click here to make a donation to support our young people