Nathaniel Wade is a Young Lyric and National Youth Theatre Member, and trained with NYT’s 2016 REP Company.
I first got into youth theatre when I was 17 and realized that I wanted to be an actor. So I did what anyone would do, I went on Google, typed in ‘Youth Theatre’ and the top two things that came up were National Youth Theatre and the Young Lyric – The Lyric Hammersmith’s young company. I grabbed those two opportunities with both hands and got involved in everything I possibly could.
At Young Lyric I gave everything a go. I threw myself into their weekly Acting Up classes which are brilliant, and taught me all the basics of acting, how to be on stage, and interact with other people on stage. I also did an amazing Studio Intensive course with them at the end of which we went to Amsterdam and Belgium with the company. After a year of doing Young Lyric classes I ended up doing a musical with them Catfish The Musical which was so fun, and was my first ever show that I’d done outside of school.
Being part of Young Lyric is brilliant – you remain a member up until 25, and you get access to amazing discounts on tickets, and a whole load of progression opportunities. You can also get involved in the Young Ensemble who perform in the Lyric Hammersmith’s Panto every year which is great because for lots of people it’s their first experience of performing on a professional stage.
I’m now part of Lyric Alumni and get to work as a facilitator for Lyric and assist in workshops and work with amazing directors and emerging artists on loads of different things from theatre pieces to spoken word poetry. It’s also such a friendly environment, you can walk through the building and see the Artistic Director Sean Holmes who will always stop, smile and have a chat. As a young person, being able to have that connection with an Artistic Director is incredible and gives you the confidence you need to hold yourself in this industry.
"Immerse yourself in it"
Youth Theatre is such an important stepping stone between school drama and the professional world. I’ve done NYT, Young Lyric, and Tricycle Theatre’s Young Company (now Kiln Theatre), and with each and every one of them the most important element is the people you meet. Now, as a professional in this industry, I’m surrounded by peers who also came up through young company programmes, and we’re creating together, working together, and encouraging each other daily. It’s not just about the training you get at Youth Theatre it is about the relationships you make.
I’d say to any aspiring actors out there: immerse yourself in it, go to young companies, get to know people because the people you learn with now will be the people you work with in the future – the people who direct you, or cast you, or act opposite you. For that reason also, be nice to people!
At the moment I’m working with a theatre company called The Pappy Show on ‘Boys’. I started working with The Pappy Show after meeting its Artistic Director Kane Husbands, who’s also an NYT Associate, whilst working on Pigeon English during the 2016 REP Season. It’s an amazing show we’ve developed about masculinity, specifically being in relation to being an ethnic minority group, and have recently performed at the VAULTs Festival, and the New Diorama and Home in Manchester, and this week we’re off to Latitude.
"It’s a brilliant time to get involved"
I think it’s a really exciting time for theatre. Places like the Young Vic and the Bush Theatre are killing it at the moment, from commissioning one woman shows, to giving emerging artists the room to grow and develop their shows, they’re constantly trying to put young people on stage and it’s amazing. So it’s a brilliant time to get involved.
Go out there and kill it, and surround yourself with people who encourage you to kill it. The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is surround yourself with hard working, optimistic, driven people who make you want to be a better person every day.
This article is part of the National Youth Theatre's Young People in Theatre monthly newsletter, giving a monthly run down on all the latest news and opportunities for young people in theatre.
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