Update browser for a secure Made experience

It looks like you may be using a web browser version that we don't support. Make sure you're using the most recent version of your browser, or try using of these supported browsers, to get the full Made experience: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge.

Free Course

Playing Up

Applications are now open
Duration October 2024 - June 2025
Sold Out Apply Now
Sold Out Apply Now

What is the National Youth Theatre’s Playing Up Company Course?

Playing Up is a practical ten-month part-time drama training programme, offering young people aged 19 – 25* who are not in Education Employment or Training (NEET) the opportunity to gain a Level 3 qualification in drama. It is a Level 3 Access to Higher Education Diploma in Theatre Arts accredited through OCN London delivered in partnership with The JGA Group.

This course runs from October 2023– July 2024 at NYT’s building on Holloway Road, London. The course builds in intensity starting with 2 days a week from October – April and then moving to 3 days a week until June when the course runs full-time for 5 weeks.

Applications are now closed

Places are available to both NYT members and non-members between the ages of 19 and 25 years old, *or up to 30 if learning disabled.

Priority for places is given to those who are not in education, secure employment or training, or those who have missed out on gaining level 3 qualifications.

We welcome applications from care leavers and those whose challenging circumstances may have prevented them from completing Secondary School or FE education. We welcome applications from those with access and support needs, those who are refugees or asylum seekers with the right to study in the UK and those who are underrepresented in our industry including those who identify as neurodivergent, disabled or from the Global Majority.


If you would like to request some additional support to complete this application form please email Michaela Alagbala (Accredited Programmes Admin Assistant) at apsupport@nyt.org.uk

A member of the learning support team will be able to meet with you via ZOOM and work with you to complete the application form.


Join us for an Accredited Programmes Q&A session hosted by Kyley Winfield (he/him - Head of Accredited Programmes), Libby Devereux (she/her - Playing Up and Wellbeing Project Manager) and Michaela Alagbala (she/they – Accredited Programmes Admin Assistant).
This Q&A will include introductions from NYT staff members, an overview of Playing Up, the application process, audition guidance and an opportunity for you to ask any questions either verbally or via the Zoom chat function.

Wednesday 5th June at 3 pm - https://nyt-org-uk.zoom.us/j/2444222383


Join us for an Accredited Programmes Instagram Live hosted by current Playing Up participants.

This Instagram Live will include introductions from current Playing Up participants, insights into their experiences, highlights from the programme, and a live Q&A session where you can ask questions directly to the participants.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn more about Playing Up and NYT!

Friday 14th June 4pm - Instagram @NationalYouthTheatre


Join NYT for a Taster Workshop!

This workshop will include games, ensemble work and acting-based exercises.

You will have the opportunity to meet NYT staff and ask them questions about what opportunities we currently have on offer, including our accredited courses programs.

Our taster workshops will take place at the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain 443-445 Holloway Road London N7 6LW

Thursday 6th June 6 pm – 8 pm SIGN UP FOR TASTER WORKSHOP HERE

If you would any access needs you would like to make us aware of before you attend this workshop please contact Michaela Alagbala (Accredited Programmes Admin Assistant) at apsupport@nyt.org.uk

Special Thanks

National Youth Theatre Accredited Courses are part funded by Adult Education budgets and delivered in partnership with Registered Training Providers. The care and support and creative outputs enabled through these programmes cannot be achieved only through these funding routes and philanthropic donations and trusts and foundations are essential supporters of our work in this area.

National Youth Theatre would like to thank the following people and organisations for their support of Playing Up in the 2024/25 academic year: The JGA Group, The Portal Trust, The Clothworkers’ Foundation, Jacqueline Worswick and Jack Petchey Foundation

We would also like to thank our principal supporters Arts Council England

Course Information & FAQs

What Happens After the Course

The course offers access to creative industry professionals, high levels of pastoral support and has a strong focus on progression routes for learners on completion.

We support with applications for universities and drama schools and many of our past students have gone on to great places, including Rose Bruford, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, RADA, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Roehampton University, Oxford School of Drama, Mountview, LAMDA, Arts Ed, East 15, UAL and Exeter University.

Following this unique 10-month programme Playing Up students become NYT members. Many graduates go on to pursue a career in theatre and continue their training either in drama school, university or with the NYT REP Company; as well as going on to gain employment. Our graduates have gone to gain employment at A New Direction, Lewisham Youth Theatre, The Old Vic Theatre, Icarus Theatre Collective, Roundhouse, Hammersmith Lyric, Netflix, Arsenal Football Club, Royal Court Theatre, BBC, Royal Shakespeare Company and many more.

For more information about Playing Up please get in touch with our Michaela Alagbala (Accredited Programmes Admin Assistant) at apsupport@nyt.org.uk

Am I eligible for a funded (free) place?

You are eligible for a FUNDED place if:

You are currently residing in the UK


You are 19 – 25 years old (you must be 19 years old or over or under 26 years old on 31st August 2024).
Applicants who are learning disabled can be aged 30 and under.


You do not hold a full level 3 qualification OR you are unemployed.

This means there will be no course fee for you to pay.

What is the audition process?

The audition process takes place in three steps:

  1. Initial application - this will be an online form gathering your details, along with a section to allow us to hear why you are applying for the course.
    If an online application is inaccessible to you, please contact Michaela Alagbala at apsupport@nyt.org.uk and arrangements can be made for you to receive support with this form.
  2. First Round Auditions – There will be a group warm-up, followed by an informal chat about yourself, and your interest in Playing Up. You will have the opportunity to perform during this step. This can be a monologue, a song, spoken word, self-written work, or anything that allows us to see you perform.

Second Round Workshop Audition – If you are successful, you will be invited to a second round audition at NYT Holloway Road, where the course takes place. This will include ensemble skills, lots of drama games, and an opportunity for us to see how you work in the rehearsal room.

When will i hear if i audition?

We will take time to review the applications after the second-round audition. You will receive an email on 12th August 2024 to let you know if you have been offered a place. We will also let you know if you have made the reserve list for the course.

For those that have not been offered a place, we will direct you to alternative programmes for you to participate in at NYT that we feel would benefit you.

We are aiming to bring together young people from a range of backgrounds and create a balanced cohort that will successfully learn and grow together during their time on the course.

What should I expect during the Playing Up Company Course?

  • Audition Technique and Processes
  • Voice Technique
  • Improvisation
  • Non-Text-Based Performance (Movement)
  • Acting: Naturalism
  • Screen Acting
  • Acting: Scenes to Performance (Scene Study)
  • Performing Classical Texts
  • Final Production

This is a Level 3 Qualification, equivalent to 2 A Levels. Students will be required to learn independently and as part of a group. You will explore theatre practitioners, develop study skills and undertake an extended research project.

Study skills units include:

  • History of Theatre
  • Extended Research Project
  • Reading and Comprehension of Texts
  • Speaking and Listening
  • Preparation for Higher Education
  • Note-Taking and Note Making
  • Learning in a Group

What financial support is there on Playing Up?

Throughout the course, participants can apply for financial support to cover course related cost e.g. travel bursary.

What additional support is there on Playing Up?

The course requires young people to work in groups, to lead and deliver their own learning and their own targets for assessments and complete all coursework requirements to deadlines which includes 2 to 6 written workbooks per term.

We will ask about your access and support needs as part of the enrolment process and will encourage you to be as open as possible so we can best support you. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and can provide support for a wide range of students' needs including, but not exclusive to those with:

  • Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and dyspraxia
  • Attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder (ADHD) (ADD)
  • Sensory impairments
  • Autism spectrum conditions
  • Physical disabilities and medical conditions
  • Mental health
  • English as a second language

We have a wide range of support structures to help you complete your studies with us and learn in an inclusive environment. We will ask to discuss the detail of your additional needs as part of this and if you have any information regarding a diagnosis or a previous EHCP plan. We would welcome you sharing this with us. So we can plan together. If eligible, additional support can be arranged to guide you throughout the course. These include:

  • One-to-one academic support: individual study support to meet your individual needs
  • Small group study support sessions
  • Assessment arrangements and adaptations: extensions, oral submissions for written work

Many of our recent Playing Up graduates have been neurodivergent, disabled, learning-disabled and/or have had a long-term mental health challenge.

When and where is the course?

This course runs from October 2024– July 2025 at NYT’s building on Holloway Road, London.

The course builds in intensity starting with 2 days a week from October – April and then moving to 3 days a week until June when the course runs full-time for 5 weeks. There are over 450 contact hours for 10 months.

How many people take part?

The Playing Up Company is made up of 24-26 participants.


For more information about Playing Up please get in touch with one of our Playing Up & Wellbeing Project Manager: Libby Devereux on libby.devereux@nyt.org.uk