Chatham and Clarendon students take part in National Youth Theatre auditions

Chatham and Clarendon National Youth Theatre auditions

Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School in Ramsgate has hosted its first National Youth Theatre auditions.

The National Youth Theatre (NYT) is one of the most prestigious youth drama programs in the country and is notoriously difficult to get into, with an excess of 6,500 young people between the age of 14-25 applying in any one year.

Adrian Smith, from the school’s drama department, said: “This year we launched the program with students from Y10-13 and had 30 students come forward for our first round auditions.

“Each had to learn and perform a 2 minute monologue. The standard was incredibly high and many of the participants reached personal milestones – auditions can be intimidating and stressful and it takes huge courage to stand up and perform on your own.

“We were really pleased to see some ‘firsts’ as well as some familiar faces. The variety of pieces performed and students involved were fantastic. For some this was the first step of a longer journey, or a chance to overcome their own personal anxieties. For others it was an opportunity to develop their audition technique and refine their chosen piece prior to the official NYT auditions.”

After some difficult decision making 15 students were selected to take part in the NYT workshop and auditions proper, which took place on Thursday (February 23). During the workshop they had the chance to work with youth theatre director Richard Weinman before their one-to-one auditions at the end of the day.

Richard said: “They were really nice kids, great to work with and real credit to the school. I couldn’t tell who was from which year group because they mixed together so well.”

One student from Y11 said: “I loved it. Rich was really good at keeping it informal yet really professional. There was a good mix of fun games and activities. It meant that we were all very genuine and still able to be focussed when we did our final auditions.”

Y12 students had a similar experience: “It was really good. It helped me to be more comfortable in the room and working with people I don’t normally interact with. I found the audition to be nice and welcoming and I didn’t feel under pressure at all.”

Mr Smith added: “The drama department is immensely proud with the number of students who came forward and took part in the NYT auditions. This is something we hope to build on in the years to come and regardless of the ‘results’ it’s been a truly fascinating journey.

“We hope that everyone who took part will continue to audition for every opportunity which comes their way in the future. We are all crossing our fingers until the results are announced at the end of May. Well done everyone, and as always thank you to our non-teaching and teaching colleagues who have helped make the day run so smoothly.”