AS TOLD BY is a new Made by Members series that lets you see into members' perspectives on all the work we put on throughout the year! Kicking it off is Gone Too Far Cast Member, Richard Adetunji as he takes you behind the scenes of our 2023 Fundraising Gala, Make A Splash!
I don’t know what expectations I had of NYT’s Fundraising Gala, but whatever they were, I definitely didn’t expect the spectacle that took place in the ballroom of Leicester Square’s ‘The Londoner’.
Not only was the night a huge triumph in raising funds for the future of NYT, it was a great celebration of both past and present NYT success and all the talented artists the charity has impacted. The place was packed to the brim with alumni such as Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù, Rhys Stevenson, Seraphina Beh, Simon Lennon and so many more.
It wouldn’t be an NYT event without an inevitable piece of theatre. Former member James Graham’s ‘Town Planning in an Apocalypse’ was the viewing on offer. I’d been lucky enough to have first seen this performed during February’s ‘Up All Night’ west end takeover; but now adapted into a musical and with a larger cast, the piece felt completely brand new. It was so funny yet so honest; telling the story of disenfranchised uni students reflecting on the state of the world around them. The final number had me teary eyed at the back of the hall, trying my hardest not to shed a tear in the presence of David Harewood.
Now if you’ve never taken part in a live auction, I must say, it is a surreal experience. Okay so maybe I didn’t take part per se, but I was in the room amongst the theatrics and surely that counts for something. Prizes on offer ranged from lunch with Ginger Spice, to VIP Beyoncé tickets or limited edition luxury watches; it was astounding to see the bids pile up!
In a room full of such successful people, it cannot be lost on us how invaluable NYT is to those members from working class and underprivileged backgrounds. Current NYT Rep Company member Chloe Cooper says that “as a working-class woman I found it hard to find my way into the industry but NYT has and continues to open those doors”. Speaking with current member and star of Netflix’s iconic ‘Heartstopper’, Will Gao, he credited NYT for being the reason he is where he is today. Adding “They’ve given me so many opportunities and for that I am forever grateful”. And that is what the Gala was really about, providing opportunities and opening doors to the future of the industry.
The night came to a close with a couple of amazing performances by Leah Vassel from the hit musical ‘Six’ and 2009 Britain’s Got Talent winner ‘Diversity’. The highlight of my night was current Rep Company member Jerome Scott dapping up Ashley Banjo from Diversity, WHILST they were still performing!
Congrats to the entire team behind such a successful and celebratory event. Capped off with an amazing amount of money raised for the charity! Hopefully I’ll be invited back one day as a successful alumni member, but until then this won’t be a night easily forgotten.