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Dawn Butler MP and Rachna Sundaram join National Youth Theatre Board of Trustees

Posted 22 Nov 2022

National Youth Theatre are pleased to welcome Dawn Butler MP and Accenture’s Rachna Sundaram to the charity’s Board of Trustees.

Dawn Butler MP is the Labour MP for Brent Central and previously served as Minister for Young Citizens and Youth Engagement and Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, becoming the first elected African-Caribbean woman to become a Government Minister in the UK. Rachna Sundaram is Managing Director at Accenture leading one of their Digital Businesses across Europe and has 20 years of experience working in digital. They both share a passion for the arts, young people and diversity and inclusion and join NYT’s existing trustees: Dawn Airey (Chair), Tania Black, Johnny Capps, Sylvia Darkwa-Ohemeng, Simon Davies, Janet Ellis MBE, Graham Elton, Mary FitzPatrick (Equality Lead), David Hockley, Jessica Hung Han Yun, Tobi Kyeremateng, Nicola Howson, Tim Lloyd-Hughes, Johnny Moore (Finance Chair), Prasanna Puwanarajah (Vice Chair), Dr Simon Stockill (Safeguarding Lead) and Daniel York Loh. The two new additions to the board follow the recent announcement that the pioneering youth arts charity will remain a member of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio of Organisations for the next three years and as it celebrates the tenth year anniversary of the renowned NYT REP Company. They will serve alongside our Youth Trustees who represent the voice of young people at the highest level of decision making at the charity.

The NYT REP Company was launched as a free industry-based alternative to formal training in response to the rise in tuition fees in 2012 and over the past ten years has welcomed 154 young performers, offering the equivalent of £1.3m of free training. The NYT REP has reached over 100,000 audience members by putting young talent centre stage in the West End and at leading UK theatres. 2023 will see them present Bola Agbaje’s Gone Too Far at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Much Ado About Nothing remixed by Debris Stevenson in the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre and the Bakkhai in a new version at the new NYT Workshop Theatre. 95% of graduates from the NYT REP have gone on to work professional in the creative industries and include BAFTA Nominee Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù (Sky Atlantic’s Gangs of London), Lauren Lyle (ITV’s Karen Pirie), Jenny Walser (Netflix’s Heartstopper), Shiv Jalota (BBC’s EastEnders), Chinenye Ezeudu (Netflix’s Sex Education) and Seraphina Beh (Netflix’s Top Boy). 2023 will also see NYT partner with LEEDS 2023 on a major new summer project, release a film of their Climate Cabaret, which premiered at COP26, and deliver thousands of creative opportunities around the UK. The NYT REP is led by Associate Director Anna Niland.

Dawn Airey, Chair of the NYT Board said: “It’s my pleasure to welcome Dawn and Rachna, two brilliant new additions to our Board of Trustees. Working alongside our existing multi-skilled Team, their expertise, experience and passion will be invaluable as we fight for more support and creative opportunities for the young people that we serve.”

Dawn Butler said: “It is an honour to join the National Youth Theatre as a Trustee. Theatre can and should be a positive force for inclusion and creating social change, and I am passionate about giving opportunities and a voice to those young people that are often excluded or underrepresented within the arts. I look forward to supporting the empowerment of young people from all backgrounds so they can fulfil their dreams and creative ambitions, and so that we produce even more theatre that showcases the UK’s diverse talent. I can't wait to get started with the National Youth Theatre and am excited about what we can achieve together.”

Rachna Sundaram, a Managing Director at leading global professional services company Accenture, said: “I believe the arts has the power to lift spirits and elevate both those who create it and audiences in equal measure. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to bring my commercial acumen and digital experience from the corporate world to support the NYT’s efforts to engage and attract talent, increase access and reach new audiences. I look forward to learning from and engaging with a diverse and experienced group of Trustees.”

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