Block 5’s induction into National Youth Theatre

Freya-H-M-National-Youth-Theatre

By Freya Hannan-Mills, Block 5

Following an audition earlier this year, I was excited to be accepted onto the National Youth Theatre’s two-week summer course.

The course, which leads to National Youth Theatre membership, sees all new members aged between 14 and 17 spend two weeks taking part in the course at Goldsmiths, University of London, where we also stayed in flats at one of the university’s halls of residence.

The two weeks are spent devising, creating and performing new works. This year, the overarching theme was changing climates and we explored geographic, social and political responses to the theme. The final piece was then shared at Goldsmiths’ theatre to an invited audience, which included our parents.

For me, the entire experience was inspirational; a fantastic opportunity to work with professional directors and choreographers who explored the topic of climate change in new and challenging ways. We worked for eight hours a day – sometimes longer – and that intensity and focus created an ensemble which also forged amazing friendships.

I would definitely recommend auditioning for the National Youth Theatre to anyone who has an interest in the performing arts. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really explore and develop techniques and new ways of working. You remain a member of the National Youth Theatre until you are 25, and every year following your initial course, there are opportunities to audition for the rep shows, attend masterclasses and receive tickets for new plays. Find details about auditions for next year’s course on the National Youth Theatre website.

‘Around the World in 80 Days’ review

By Maddie Jefferies, 6.1

Around the World in 80 Days was a high spirited and energetic performance. The set was beautifully crafted, linking in the theme of time through clocks and cogs printed on the stage and on the screens that hung over the traverse. This type of stage gave a more inclusive feel and allowed the actors to interact and engage with the audience at breakneck speed.

The music was vibrant and contemporary, drawing the audience into Phileas Fogg’s journey. Dev Mannion as Fogg led the piece with confidence and poise. The Passepartouts (Elio Mazas and Blu Schneider-Marsan), a French butler whose part had been split into two, bounced off each other as a comic duo, entertaining us at every turn. In addition, the unamused detectives Fox and Fix (Freddie Pape and Otto Hall) kept us all laughing as they tried in vain to capture Fogg.

These characters were complimented by a huge cast who changed role in virtually every scene, bringing great energy and commitment to each moment. The actors moved seamlessly on stage, taking the audience with them on a journey around the world – from the busy streets of Italy to entrancing scenes in Hong Kong, before encountering the crazy circus of San Francisco. In addition, the fast paced narrative was interspersed with moments of uplifting dances. The choreography was outstanding, beautiful and moving, especially the romantic dance on board the Mongolia.

This was a high quality, feel good show – just what we all needed at the end of a busy term!

See and buy photos from Around the World in 80 Days here.