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Dawn Airey recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours

Posted 14 Jun 2024

Dawn Airey, Chair of Trustees of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has been awarded a CBE in the King’s Birthday Honours, in recognition of her services to Theatre and to Charity.

Dawn was appointed as the first female Chair of the leading youth arts charity in 2011 and since then has overseen the significant growth of the charity’s programme, reach around the UK and financial sustainability.

Highlights during Airey’s time as Chair have included:

  • A major £4.5m RIBA award-winning redevelopment of the NYT’s north London home, and the purchase of the Lease providing long term financial resilience
  • The charity delivering the first theatrical Welcome Ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games & 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games
  • The formation of the NYT REP Company, a free industry-led alternative to formal training, which over 11 years has saved over £1.5m in fees for 150 young performers and propelled them on to win BAFTAs and leading West End and film roles
  • 85 productions at leading theatres around the UK showcasing Britain’s best young talent, over 50 new plays or adaptations predominantly by emerging young writers and creative opportunities for 200,000 young people
  • 8 landmark productions in response to the climate crisis as part of an art and activism programme featuring performances at COP26, LEEDS 2023 and First Light Festival reaching 25 million audience members
  • Major new partnerships with Netflix, Digital Theatre, English Heritage and TikTok
  • A transformative new Inclusive Practice programme bringing free drama opportunities to hundreds of disabled young people in non-mainstream schools around the UK

Paul Roseby OBE, CEO & Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre said:

‘Dawn is a champion of equality, a role model to NYT members and a truly inspirational industry leader. Supporting under-resourced, under-represented and under-valued people is at the core of her belief system. There is no-one who will not take a call from Dawn Airey and no-one who won’t accept a request to engage in our mission to help secure the future for young creative talent who need our support the most. Despite a gruelling professional schedule in three different time zones, this has never been at the expense of her commitment and time for the National Youth Theatre, demonstrating her huge personal investment in the opportunities we offer day in day out. We are delighted her enormous contribution to our creative community has been rightly recognised in this way.’

Dawn’s leadership continues to play a key role in NYT’s growth and development as it plans for its 70th anniversary in 2026, celebrating its impact, heritage, alumni and continuing innovation in creativity and storytelling for young people.

The NYT Board of Trustees, which Dawn chairs, also includes trustees: Dawn Butler MP, Johnny Capps, Sylvia Darkwa-Ohemeng, Simon Davies, Janet Ellis MBE, Graham Elton MBE, Mary FitzPatrick, David Hockley, Jessica Hung Han Yun, Tobi Kyeremateng, Nicola Howson, Johnny Moore (Finance Chair), Prasanna Puwanarajah (Vice-Chair), Dr Simon Stockill, Stephen Whitehead and Daniel York Loh.

You can donate to help support and grow NYT’s vital work with young people at www.nyt.org.uk/donate