JAM scholarship for working class performers, renames after Luke Westlake and opens for applications

The Luke Westlake Scholarship 2020
opens for submissions
on 28th September

  • Awarded to a working class drama student to support their last year of study
    and first year entering the industry as a performer
  • Winner will receive artistic and financial support worth over £3000 including one
    year’s Spotlight membership, subscription to The Stage, a showreel, a voice
    reel, headshots, a full tax return, lunches with casting directors and agents and
    £500 towards rent.
  • This scholarship has been renamed in honour of actor Luke Westlake, who
    sadly took his life during lockdown
  • The second annual scholarship from Just Add Milk Theatre Company

The Luke Westlake Scholarship, formerly known as the JAM Scholarship, is an award designed to provide an actor with artistic and financial support worth over £3,000 in their final year and as they graduate from university or drama school, and begin to navigate their way into the industry. The scholarship was established when the team behind JAM realised many actors were being priced out of their career once they left training. After spending
upwards of £30k to learn their craft, actors need to purchase union membership, database subscriptions, materials for marketing themselves, and more; they often work zero hours jobs so they can duck out at short notice to attend auditions and can lack the contacts to get their foot in the door. The acting industry frequently notes the lack of working class talent, but without support it is near impossible to get started. By reaching out to contacts and industry organisations JAM is delighted to build on last year’s inaugural scholarship with yet more partners and prizes, to alleviate the financial and artistic burden and set another graduate up on a stronger footing for their first year in the industry.

Luke Westlake was a friend of JAM, he trained with co-artistic directors Kristian Wall and Kyle Rowe at ArtsEd and had begun a good career with string of television credits including Luther and Dark Heart. Sadly in June 2020 Luke passed away. A diligent, fierce, working-class actor, he represents everything the scholarship stands for and JAM are very grateful to his parents, Bridgette and Lee, for giving their blessing to change the name of the scholarship in his honour.

Kristian said, “In an industry that we have all, at some point, felt inaccessible, this is JAM’s chance to give something back and help develop a new/the next generation of working class actors.”

Just Add Milk Theatre Company’s (JAM) mission is to make the industry more accessible for actors. They provide affordable workshops with Agents and Casting Directors, produce new writing for unheard voices and actively develop the next generation of actors through their scholarship. An ArtsEd Graduate company, JAM was originally founded by three working class actors during second year. Their first show, Year Ten, opened at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016, transferring for a sold out run at The Tabard Theatre that autumn. In 2018 Liam McLaughlin joined as producer and developed Digging Deep, a play about male suicide and men’s mental health, which premiered at VAULT Festival 2019 in partnership with CALM, Lambeth Council and The Waterloo Barbershop, followed in February 2020, by a sellout run of Who Cares, also at VAULT Festival, in association with Muscular Dystrophy UK. In March 2020, JAM announced their first Co-Production with Klein Blue for Alice at Battersea Arts Centre. JAM are dedicated to hosting accessible, affordable workshops with renowned industry professionals for actors. As of August 2020, they have hosted over 200 workshops, seen over 2000 actors and have given away over £1,500 worth of free places to those who need it. Previous workshops have been hosted by Karishma Balani (Head of Casting at The Globe), Lucy Amos and Sacha Garrett (Nina Gold Casting) and Faye
Timby (The Witcher, Netflix), writers Simon Stephens and Philip Ridley, and agencies Curtis Brown and CAM. In March 2019, JAM spoke at Lambeth Council’s Lord Mayor’s Suicide Prevention Event, talking about how to use theatre as a platform to discuss men’s mental health and male suicide. In May 2019, JAM became one of the New Diorama Theatre’s Emerging Companies for 2019/20

Actors graduating in 2021/2022 are invited to apply to the scholarship via the JAM website (https://www.justaddmilkjam.com/lukewestlakescholarship/2020) and fill out the application, including a statement on what winning the award would mean to them and a 2min self-tape monologue. The shortlist is selected from all the applicants based on their answers and performance and shortlisted applicants then work with casting director Faye Timby on a second self-tape, which is then presented to a panel of industry figures who vote on a winner

The panel includes Actor Remmie Milner, Casting Director Faye Timby, Industry Minds, Voiceover Coach Guy Michaels and JAM.

The full list of prizes are: 1 year’s membership with Spotlight, a Spotlight 1-to-1 workshop, a year’s subscription to industry newspaper The Stage, a full headshot session with Samuel Black Photography, a full showreel package with Self-Tape.co.uk, lunches with Olivia Bell Management, Casting Director Faye Timby, National Theatre Casting Assistant Naomi Downham, RSC Casting Assistant Martin Poile, a full voice reel with Guy Michaels, a £100 voucher to spend at Nick Hern Books, 6 JAM Casting Workshops and a ticket to Industry Minds’ Awards Ceremony 2021.

BAPAM, supporting the scholarship, is a specialist healthcare charity supporting individuals & organisations in the performing arts. They are offering a free online workshop about staying physically and mentally healthy in the industry to all scholarship applicants.

Applications open 28th September and close 26 October 2020. The winner will be announced in December

@justaddmilkjam | #TheLukeWestlakeScholarship | www.justaddmilkjam.com

Birmingham Repertory Theatre announce the commissioning of 12 new plays

Birmingham Repertory Theatre announce


Twelve brand-new commissions from

Today, Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced 12 new commissions titled The Park Bench Plays – a series of micro-plays that illuminate, interrogate and even celebrate today’s socially distanced world.  

Brainchild of The REP’s Artistic Director Sean Foley, this series of brand-new commissions will bring together the work of some of UK theatre’s biggest writing talents and comedians alongside emerging playwrights to create a suite of new plays. 

Made possible thanks to the generous support of The Sir Barry Jackson Trust, these new plays by The REP feature some of the UK’s biggest writing talents amongst emerging playwrights including; Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti (A Kind of People/Khandan), Janice Connolly (Mrs Barbara Nice/Stuff), Rachel De-Lahay (The Westbridge/Circles), David Edgar (Nicholas Nickleby/Pentecost), Robin French (Cuckoo/Rebel Music), Tanika Gupta (Lions and Tigers/The Empress), Bryony Lavery (Frozen/The Lovely Bones), Sabiha Mank (The REP Discovery Artist), Amerah Saleh (Author ‘I Am Not From Here’/Commonwealth Games Handover Poet), Frank Skinner (The Frank Skinner Radio Show/Frank Skinner’s Poetry Podcast), Liam Steel (Director/Adaptor – Peter Pan/The Wizard of Oz) and Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials/Harry Potter And The Cursed Child) & Lettie Precious (This Is Us/The Break – BBC 3). 

The ten-minute-long plays have been written to be performed in pop-up locations throughout Birmingham – at bus stations, community centers, parks, public squares, foyers and train stations – surprising and delighting commuters, shoppers, residents and others going about their daily business in the city and its environs. 

The series of plays will be directed by The REP’s Artistic Director, Sean Foley, Deputy Artistic Director, Amit Sharma and Associate Director, Madeleine Kludje

The REP’s Artistic Director, double Olivier Award-winning Sean Foley said; The Park Bench Plays will bring together the work of some of the UK’s biggest writing talents for an exciting and diverse collection of micro-plays. 

“Considering the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry, we at The REP feel it is important to continue to employ artists and create work for audiences.

“From comic to serious, tragic to hysterical, this collection of two-hander plays take ordinary and everyday conversations and make them extraordinary and timeless – they all have a sense of fun and provide a living snapshot of our socially distanced, somewhat disturbed world.

“We look forward to sharing this extraordinary collection of works with audiences when the time is right to do so in the future and to continuing working with this wonderfully eclectic set of writers.” 

Comedian Frank Skinner commented; “I’m really properly excited to be part of this project with The REP. I’ve had some life-changing experiences on park benches in the West Midlands but I’m hoping this one will be a bit easier on the elbows.” 

Playwright Tanika Gupta added; “I am thrilled to have been asked by the The REP to write a piece for this collection of eclectic new plays. In this time of uncertainty, it is greatly welcome to see venues such as The REP actively engaging with artists to continue in efforts to make new work. I am excited to be writing for live theatre again, alongside my fellow eleven fantastic playwrights.” 

The REP Discovery Artist, Sabiha Mank said; “As soon as I was approached about taking part in The Park Bench Plays, I couldn’t wait to get started. Coming out of lockdown, this project has been a dream to be a part of and a brilliant way of trying to make sense of the world.” 

The Park Bench Plays were to have had their first outing during October, but local restrictions coupled with the new national restrictions have made that impossible. As soon as it is safe to resume outdoor performances, The Park Bench Plays will be put into production to then begin their pop-up tour around the city.   

To find out more about The REP and their work with creatives and emerging artists visit birmingham-rep.co.uk.  

Inaugural Liverpool Theatre Festival Hailed A Triumph Amid Troubled Industry




Bombed Out Church hosted 12 open air productions over 9 days 

Almost 3,000 festivalgoers experience inaugural live event 

Calls for event to return to entertain audiences in 2021 

Liverpool Theatre Festival attracted almost 3,000 live performance fans across nine days for its inaugural staging – with calls for it to become an annual event. 

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church in the heart of the city centre provided the perfect backdrop for the first festival, which featured 19 showstopping performances of 12 productions. 

Liverpool Theatre Festival was created by Liverpool theatre producer Bill Elms, whose mission it was to reinvigorate and boost the city’s live performance and creative arts sector after a devastating six months due to Coronavirus and lockdown, with restrictions continuing further. 

The Covid-secure venue followed stringent Government guidelines to ensure patrons felt safe in their surroundings. 

The festival ended with a comedy performance by acclaimed Liverpool actor Andrew Lancel in Swan Song from award-winning city playwright Jonathan Harvey, directed by BAFTA award-winning director Noreen Kershaw. 

Swan Song was produced by Liverpool Theatre Festival, in association with Bill Elms Productions and Quarry Street. Originally written for a female lead, Jonathan Harvey adapted the play specially for Andrew Lancel to play the solo role at Liverpool Theatre Festival. The play is planning future productions across the UK to socially distanced audiences. 

Liverpool Theatre Festival ran for nine days between 12 and 20 September, with some days hosting four live performances. The inclusive programme featured musical theatre, drama, comedy, cabaret, monologues, and children’s shows. 

Liverpool Theatre Festival programme opened with A Fairy Tale Journey Across The Mersey and Laughterhouse Comedy, and was followed by The Very Best Of Tommy Cooper, Sweet Mother, Shakers by John Godber, Deathly Confessions, Matinee Musical Classics, Music Of The Night, Judy & Liza, Hurrah For The Pirate King!, Something About Simon, and Swan Song. 

Producer and artistic director Bill Elms commented: “The festival showed the public appetite for live theatre and entertainment is strong. People used the festival as escapism from these difficult times – it was the glimmer of hope we needed. A truly unforgettable and magical experience, and we were blessed with fabulous weather throughout. I’d like to thank every festivalgoer for their support and spreading the word far and wide. They put their trust in us to provide a safe environment and comfortable experience, and totally shared our passion and vision to bring back live performance. 

“The programme was packed with Liverpool talent including writers, performers, creatives and technicians. The teams behind the 12 productions were incredible for jumping on-board at such short notice and adapting to meet festival guidelines. It wasn’t easy and the changing guidelines proved testing, stacking the odds against us, but together we made it work and collectively made the inaugural Liverpool Theatre Festival a resounding success. 

“St Luke’s Bombed Out Church was the perfect setting – welcoming, fun, and dramatic at times with incredible lighting. We have been asked by festivalgoers and reviewers to make the festival an annual event so this is something we are already looking into, watch this space. Theatre is back.” 

Covid-secure measures at St Luke’s included temperature checks prior to entry; social distancing; hand sanitiser stations; reserved seating restricted to social bubble groups; and an app to order refreshments delivered to ticketholders at their seats. 

Audience capacity was reduced to ensure socially distanced seating; shows were limited to one-act performances of no more than 75 minutes to minimise audience movement; maximum of four performers per production; cast and crew socially distanced and were temperature checked. 

Kate Jones from St Luke’s Bombed Out Church added: “We were extremely proud to host the very first Liverpool Theatre Festival. St Luke’s was showcased as a stunning backdrop for audiences of all ages to enjoy live performance in the open air, it was special to see audiences settle in, take in the atmosphere and their surroundings, and lose themselves in a variety of fantastic shows.  

“I’m extremely proud of our team’s hard work to ensure our venue was completely COVID-secure. Ensuring bubbles were safely distanced, sanitising chairs before and after use, and taking drinks directly to customers all hugely contributed to making customers feel they could safely return to theatre. We thoroughly enjoyed working with Bill Elms on this hugely popular festival, and look forward to seeing more productions at St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.” 

Visit www.liverpooltheatrefestival.com for the latest news updates. 

What the critics say… 

 “Significant on so many levels…brilliantly managed…Liverpool Theatre Festival was absolutely tremendous…

it reminded me as to why theatre is vital to the UK’s cultural landscape”   


“A real light in the gloom for theatre in the devastating wake of the pandemic…

flying the flag for a beleaguered industry at a time where there has never been so much at stake”   

Made Up: On Stage In Liverpool 

Website:         www.liverpooltheatrefestival.com  

Facebook:       /liverpooltheatrefestival 

Twitter:           @lpoolTFestival 

Instagram:      liverpooltheatrefestival 

Hashtag:         #TheatreIsBack 

Christmas 2020 at the Theatre Royal Bath

West End comedy phenomenon confirmed as Christmas show for the Theatre Royal Bath

  • Family entertainment from Mischief Theatre with the award-winning West End production, The Play That Goes Wrong
  • Cinderella postponed to Christmas 2021

The Theatre Royal Bath is delighted to confirm that there will be family entertainment in the Main House this Christmas, as the international smash hit comedy THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG will now run at the Theatre Royal Bath from 17 December until 10 January. This coincides with the reopening of the London production which is now enjoying its sixth year at the Duchess Theatre.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG replaces the previously announced pantomime, CINDERELLA which has been postponed until December 2021. As with other theatres around the country, pantomime is not possible with the reduced capacity of a socially distanced auditorium.

Theatre Royal Bath director Danny Moar says, “We are thrilled to be able to bring back the fantastic Mischief Theatre and one of the most popular shows of the last ten years, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, to keep families and theatregoers laughing and smiling at the end of a very difficult year.  We very much look forward to the pantomime returning in 2021”.

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG has won multiple awards internationally, including the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. It features the (fictional) Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society who are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong … does!  As the accident prone thesps battle against all the odds to reach their final curtain call, hilarious results ensue!

Fast becoming a global phenomenon, performing across five continents including a long-running season on Broadway, Mischief Theatre’s unique brand of hilarious “gut-busting comedy” (New York Times) has found universal appeal. The company’s other West End successes include Peter Pan Goes WrongA Comedy About A Bank Robbery and Magic Goes Wrong; and last year saw a brand new six-part TV series for BBC One: The Goes Wrong Show, written and performed by the original founding Mischief Theatre members. 

★★★★★ “I feared I was going to hyperventilate” Daily Mail

★★★★ “Genuinely hilarious. Boy, does it hit the funny bone” Daily Telegraph

★★★★ “Ridiculously funny” The Times

★★★★ “Exquisitely choreographed mayhem” Independent

★★★★ “A triumph of split-second timing”Metro

Booking for THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at the Theatre Royal Bath opens to priority bookers from Monday 28 September. General booking opens from Monday 5 October.

Ticketholders for CINDERELLA will be contacted by the Box Office

The Show Must GO On – Watch Fame The Musical – Free



Selladoor are delighted to help kick start the next phase of The Shows Must Go On, a series of weekly shows streamed on You Tube, with their smash hit 30th anniversary production of Fame the Musical. Starring Keith Jack and Jorgie Porter with Mica Paris, the show is available free today from 7pm for just 48 hours at www.bit.ly/FAMEwatch 

Based on the 1980s phenomenal pop culture film,  Fame – The Musical is the international smash-hit sensation following the lives of students at New York’s High School For The Performing Arts as they navigate their way through the highs and lows, the romances and the heartbreaks and the ultimate elation of life. This bittersweet but uplifting triumph of a show explores the issues that confront many young people today: prejudice, identity, pride, literacy, sexuality, substance abuse and perseverance.

The tour visited over 50 theatres across the UK in 2018/2019 culminating in its first return to the West End for 25 Years in autumn of last year.

The critically acclaimed tour cast includes musical theatre favourite Keith Jack,  Hollyoaks and TV star Jorgie Porter and singing sensation Mica Paris alongside Molly McGuire, Albey Brookes, Jamal Crawford, Stephanie Rojas, Hayley Johnston, Simon Anthony, Alexander Zane, Louisa Beadel, Katie Warsop, Spencer Lee Osborne, Duncan Smith, Morgan Jackson, Ryan Kayode, Tom Mussell, Jay Le Marrec, Lauren Crooks, Daisy Edwards, Courtney George and Serina Mathew.

The Shows Must Go On, the brainchild of Lord Baron Andrew Lloyd Webber and Universal was created to help keep passion for theatre alive during Covid restrictions and shares some of the best productions available free for you to watch and enjoy.  This latest season titled  ‘Greats On Tour’, starts with Fame the Musical and follows with Alfie Boe’s Bring Him Home tour show (9 October), Michael Ball’s Past and Present tour (2 October) and Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds (16 October).

Fame The Musical is produced by Selladoor Productions. Gavin Kalin Productions, Dan Looney & Adam Paulden, Stephen McGill Productions and Jason Haigh-Ellery in association with BrightLights Productions and Big Dreamer Productions.  Fame is Directed and Choregraphed by Nick Winston with Design by Morgan Large, Lighting design by Prema Mehta and Sound Design by Ben Harrison. Mark Crossland is Musical Supervisor.

David De Silva – creator of the Fame concept, known as ‘Father Fame’ publicly hailed this anniversary production as ‘the best Fame Production I have ever seen ‘  and featuring the Oscar-winning title song and a cast of outstanding dancers, singers, musicians and rappers as they transform from star struck pupils to superstars  – this is one production not to be missed. Fame – The Musical will indeed live forever.

Maddy Mutch – Lead Producer of Fame the Musical for Selladoor says: “This production takes us back to a time of excitable audiences, a packed front of house and the incomparable anticipation of an evening at the theatre. To give audiences the opportunity to relive such memories and create new ones from their homes is something we’re so proud to be part of.”

“This is an incredibly troubling time for the theatre industry, but projects like this continue to engage audiences and bring quality theatre to people – we are so proud of the team who created this production, on stage and off. So, although we eagerly await our return to live performances, as a company it’s sincerely a joy for us to be able to bring our production of Fame to such a wide audience. We all need an antidote in the midst of 2020, and this is it!”

“We encourage you to support the future of live theatre by donating to one of the many charities available if you can, but more than anything we’d love for you to sit back and enjoy the show.”

You can watch Fame the Musical from 7pm today at www.bit.ly/FAMEwatch   and can donate to help support the future of live theatre and the arts at www.actingforothers.co.uk

For more about fame and Selladoor visit www.selladoor.com 

West End Musical Drive-In announce further dates and star-studded line up for October | 3rd, 4th, 10th and 17th October 2020

West End Musical Drive-In announce further
dates and star-studded line up for October
West End Musical Drive In, Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road, London, N18 3QQ
3rd, 4th, 10th and 17th October 2020

Sing away those Autumn blues this October with an incredible host of West End talent at West End Musical Drive In! Following the recently announced Godspell 50th anniversary concert screening spectacular (4th October), West End Musical Drive In are thrilled to release further casting for the month ahead, continuing to bring the UK’s biggest musical celebration to sold out audiences

Musical theatre legends will be grabbing their air guitars to kickstart the proceedings, as
previous cast members of We Will Rock You, make audiences go Ga Ga (3rd October). The
incredible Oliver Tompsett (Wicked; & Juliet), Lauren Samuels (Bend It Like Beckham; BBC’s Over The Rainbow), Jenny O’Leary (Heathers; Les Misérables) and Amy Bartolomeo (Bat Out of Hell), will rock the car park, with a medley of musical hits

The excitement continues with Jamie Muscato (Heathers; West Side Story), Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen), Luke Bayer (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), and Caroline Kay (The Space Between; The Clock Maker’s Daughter) on 10th October, while musical powerhouses Louise Dearman (Wicked) and Rachel Tucker (Wicked; Come From Away) reunite for the first time since their escapades in the Emerald City, defying gravity on 17th October

Much like their West End Musical Brunch, which sell out months in advance, West End Musical Drive-In is an immersive event where the audience ‘become the cast,’ singing and dancing along with the West End stars who perform a mix of songs from a wide range of musicals. Widening the scope of the audience, guests can also attend the event without a car, in groups of maximum five people – just bring your camping chairs and portable radio and enjoy!

Producer Chris Steward comments, We are extending what has been the biggest concert series of the summer so audiences can continue to enjoy musical theatre in a safe, contact free and socially distanced environment.

Live music, comedy and entertainment returns to Alexandra Palace for a season of indoor, socially distanced events




Alexandra Palace has today announced the return of live, indoor public events with a season of music, comedy and entertainment from 15 October – 22 November. Featuring some of the most exciting acts in comedy and music, Live at Ally Pally will mark the re-opening of The West Hall, which has remained closed to the public since March. More acts will be announced shortly.

Following on from the sell-out success of the Palace’s summer alfresco comedy gigs, Live at Ally Pally will welcome some of the finest stand-up comedians on Thursday and Saturday evenings. The opening show on Thursday 15 October will be headlined by Al Murray and his alter ego The Pub Landlord. Subsequent nights will feature the likes of Phil WangAdam HillsDara O’BriainRich Hall, Russell Kane, Nathan Caton, Suzi Ruffell, Rosie Jones and Angela Barnes performing quick fire sets of brand-new material and the best of their current repertoire.

From behind closed doors, Alexandra Palace has collaborated on and hosted some of the most innovative  and notable music events this year including Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace and Wireless Connect! Festival. Live at Ally Pally will feature live sets from influential DJ Sasha (30 October). Also joining the line-up are The Comet Is Coming who will bring their unique fusion of jazz, Afrofuturism, electronica and psychedelia to the Palace on 18 November.

Live at Ally Pally will also include performances of award-winning theatre company Sh!t-faced Shakespeare’s unique take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream (25 October), and one of the UK’s best alternative club nights, Rebel Bingo (31 October).

In order to host the events, the Palace’s West Hall will be transformed, with audiences seated at socially distanced tables. Table service will be provided, serving up food and drinks from a variety of pop-up street food vendors and bars offering cocktails and craft beers.

Louise Stewart, Chief Executive of Alexandra Palace says: “Like many organisations across the country we have faced and continue to face some incredibly difficult times. However, in the true spirit of Ally Pally our lights have remained switched on throughout this period of uncertainty.

“From behind closed doors we have collaborated with the likes of ENO on Europe’s first drive-in opera and Melody VR on virtual reality gigs whilst working tirelessly to support our local community. Our building became a giant food distribution hub during lockdown and we’ve continued to deliver activity from our creative learning programme online for families in our local community and beyond. Whilst our Park has provided much appreciated green space in the urban environment for thousands of people every day.

“After safely and successfully hosting over seventeen thousand people at one of London’s biggest beer gardens over the summer, Live at Ally Pally feels like the next logical step going into the Autumn. We’re thrilled to be able to welcome audiences back into our building next month for some of the best in live entertainment.”

The health and safety of  customers and staff is of the utmost importance and we are working closely with partners to regularly review Government guidelines. In line with the latest advice Alexandra Palace has implemented COVID-19 secure measures to ensure Live at Ally Pally follows strict hygiene protocols and allows for social distancing, with all events finishing by 10PM. Events will be seated with group bookings of up to a maximum of six people. Table service will be in place with all orders and payments going through an at-table-app ordering system to ensure there is no need for cash or contact with anyone outside of your household.

National Youth Theatre announces 2020-21 plans, including the latest instalment of MELT, The Last Harvest


Paul Roseby OBE today announces National Youth Theatre’s developments for the remainder of 2020 and initial plans for 2021. Performance plans include dates for two new shows exploring activism and protest through art: The Last Harvest, the latest dystopian promenade instalment of MELT and a brand new NYT show to be performed at Portchester Castle in August 2021 as part of Freedom and Revolution in partnership with English Heritage and the University of Warwick. In addition, the National Youth Theatre Board have today announced that building work has begun on the transformation of their National Production House for Young People and five new trustees, all of whom were nominated by the charity’s Youth Trustees, as well as a first look at NYT’s 2020 REP Company, now in its ninth year.


NYT presents its latest instalment of MELT at new outdoor Sanctuary Theatre, a newly built outdoor earth amphitheatre in Shropshire. Set at duskThe Last Harvest will take audiences on a fire-lit journey from the future to now in a dystopian outdoor promenade spectacle. Sustainable farmer Tim Ashton built The Sanctuary as a response to the struggles highlighted in the arts industry as a result of COVID-19 and is campaigning for other farmers to do the same as part of a nationwide movement. Casting to be announced soon. The Last Harvest is part of Signal Fires, which this autumn will see the UK’s leading touring theatre companies share stories around fires. The production will take place under strict Covid-secure guidelines. Tickets are on sale now at www.nyt.org.uk/thelastharvest

Paul Roseby OBE, CEO and Artistic Director of National Youth Theatre said: “After six months of discovering and expanding our work on the virtual stage with an ever-increasing reach, our first ‘on-the-ground’ production will be exactly that with an outdoor promenade spectacle in a brand new earth amphitheatre in Shropshire. The Last Harvest will see Britain’s best young talent bring to life this beautiful new performance space, created by sustainable farmer Tim Ashton. Whilst working within all Covid-19 restrictions we recognise the demand and desire to get back to work reaching new live audiences in person and are delighted at the opportunity to do so.”

MELT, is a major three-year project in partnership with the University of Hull in response to the climate crisis, as previously announced. MELT began interactive digital research and development sessions and group rehearsals in May and June via video conferencing with an initial cast of 200. The work created can be viewed via www.nyt.org.uk/melt.

A series of physical and digital dramatisations will continue to be released over the course of the next three years. Dates and locations will be announced in due course. MELT is being supported by an Industry Advisory Panel of sustainable energy experts, including Jane Cooper from ØrstedDanielle Lane from Vattenfall and Melanie Onn from Renewables UK. By bringing together industry experts, academics and young people MELT aims to inspire a new generation around renewable jobs and diversify the industry through a creative response to the climate crisis.

MELT is led by NYT Artistic Director Paul Roseby as Creative Director, working with Associate Directors Zoe Lafferty, Associate Director of The Freedom Theatre, Palestine and Joel Scott, Artistic Director at Goat and Monkey and creative associate with Punchdrunk.

The health and safety of young performers, audiences, and staff will be the top priority during The Last Harvest. All those involved in the project will implement COVID secure measures to ensure that thee full process, from rehearsal to performance, is in line with the current government guidelines, following strict hygiene protocols and allowing for social distancing.


NYT announces brand new show as part of Freedom and Revolution, a new project in partnership with English Heritage through the award-winning Shout Out Loud programme, the University of Warwick and Hampshire Cultural Trust. The show, which is being produced and funded as part of English Heritage’s Shout Out Loud programme, is currently in research and development, with title to be announced, and will be performed at the impressive heritage site Portchester Castle in 2021.

In 1807, prisoners of war from Napoleon’s forces on board a prison ship in the shadow of Portchester Castle performed a play entitled The Revolutionary Philanthropist or Slaughter on Haiti. The play, set in 1793, tackled the incendiary topic of the uprising of enslaved people in the Caribbean, but was told from the colonial perspective and was steeped in racist attitudes. The narratives of people captured and held at Portchester will be utilised through Freedom and Revolution to create a “decolonised” site-specific new play exploring the legacy of slavery and of prisoner experience from an international perspective, exploring themes of captivity, freedom, place, struggle, authority and victory.

The best-preserved Roman fort in northern Europe, Portchester Castle was in use for more than 1,000 years, and in the late 18th and early 19th centuries served as a prisoner-of-war depot for soldiers captured by British forces during the Napoleonic wars. In 1796, more than 2,000 Black Caribbean prisoners of war were held at Portchester, including more than 100 women and children. The new play will shines a new light on the lives of the prisoners of war held at Portchester Castle and offers an important window into England’s story.

Shout Out Loud is English Heritage’s national youth engagement programme. NYT and English Heritage’s 2019 collaboration as part of Shout Out Loud ‘Our House’, was recently awarded Best Event / Exhibition / Festival at the UK Heritage Awards. Staged at English Heritage’s Eltham Palace in September 2019 and supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, Our House was a promenade piece performed by NYT members and young people from METRO Charity, exploring LGBTQ+ narratives and the history of the Eltham Palace.

This latest collaboration as part of Freedom and Revolution will explore Black history at Portchester Castle through a new play directed by Mumba Dodwell (Great Expectations; Southwark Playhouse; 2019), written by Lakesha Arie-Angelo (Graveyard Gang; Tamasha Theatre’s associate company; Purple Moon Drama), and with music by composer Elaine Mitchener (the then + the now = now time). The play will focus on the lost voices of women and particularly Black women. It is being developed with a group Black female-identifying NYT members through on-going online R&D sessions. 

At 7.30pm on Tuesday 17th November audiences can join an artist-led panel discussion with the NYT creative team and University of Warwick and English Heritage researchers as part of the Being Human Festival, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities. Sign up to join here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/modernlanguages/academic/ka/beinghuman 

Paul Roseby, CEO and Artistic Director of National Youth Theatre, said: “After our award-winning collaboration in 2019 we’re teaming up with English Heritage again to uncover another important story from our buried past. This new piece will shine a light on vital lost voices, with a focus on women and particularly Black women, and will be beautifully and poetically brought to life. The urgency of this work is more vital than ever before.”

Dr Dominique Bouchard, Head of Learning and Interpretation at English Heritage said “Empowering stories of enslaved people of African heritage are seldom taught in English schools. We challenge this perception by telling the story of people from the African diaspora as agents of change and power. The story of England we tell must reflect the truly diverse breadth of people that make up our country’s historical legacies.”

Prof Kate Astbury, Professor of French Studies at the University of Warwick: “The French prisoners of war used theatre as a form of resistance and to sustain hope for an end to their captivity. In performing a play about Haiti, they created fictional characters whose lives mirrored those of the real-life revolutionaries from the Caribbean held at Portchester a decade earlier. This exciting new project will harness the power of theatre to bring their stories to a new audience and tackle fundamental questions about human rights, discrimination, identity and gender and I’m delighted to be able to share my team’s research with such an inspiring and talented artistic team.”

Mumba Dodwell is a Freelance Task Force Representative and received the 2019 NYT REP Bryan Forbes Bursary and is a founding member of The Diversity School Initiative, an organisation established to address under-representation and diversity in UK drama schools. Lakesha Arie-Angelo is Associate Director at Soho Theatre and previously directed NYT’s 2019 production of Summer Fest at the Bunker Theatre.

Freedom and Revolution is a project delivered by English Heritage, the University of Warwick, National Youth Theatre, Hampshire Cultural Trust. It is part of Shout Out Loud, a national youth engagement project led by English Heritage and with consortium partners The National Youth Theatre, Sound Connections, Photoworks and the Council for British Archaeology funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Kick the Dust programme. Freedom and Revolution is additional Kick The Dust activity funded by DCMS through the Youth Accelerator Fund.


NYT Chair Dawn Airey said: “I’m pleased to announce that work has begun on the transformation of our National Production House for Young People, which will allow us to double the number of young people we can engage in the building when we reopen in 2021. I’m very grateful to all our supporters for making this possible, especially the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund and The Kirby Laing Foundation. I’m also delighted that five new brilliant trustees have joined the NYT Board after being nominated by our Youth Trustees and they are Munroe Bergdorf, Sylvia Darkwa-Ohemeng, Jessica Hung Han Yun, Tobi Kyeremateng and Daniel York Loh.”

The NYT has also received support for the redevelopment from Arts Council England, London Marathon Charitable Trust, the Christina Smith Foundation and City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder.


Now in its ninth year, NYT is proud of to announce our 2020 REP Company as Tiajna Amayo, Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, Will Atiomo, Ishmel Bridgeman, Matilda Cobham, Connor Crawford, Alexandra Hannant, Jack Humphrey,  James-Eden Hutchinson, Tife Kusoro, Jack Matthew,  Nkhanise Phiri, Abby Russell, Will Stewart, Ben Wilson and Adeola Yemitan.

Industry Mentors for the 2020 NYT REP Company are Michelle Terry (Actor & Alumna), Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù (Actor & Alumnus),  Emily Lim (Public Acts Director, National Theatre), Ashley Zhangazha (Actor & Alumnus), Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù  (Actor & alumnus), Regé-Jean Page (Actor & Alumnus), Johnny Capps (TV Exec Producer), Julia Crampsie (Casting Director), John Hollingworth (Actor & Alumnus), Charlotte Sutton (Casting Director, Ruth O’Dowd (Casting Director), Kane Husbands (PappyShow Artistic Director & NYT Alumnus), Jade Anouka (Actor, Writer & NYT alumna), Bryony Jarvis-Taylor (Casting Associate National Theatre & NYT Alumna), Joe Cole (Gangs of London actor & NYT alumnus) and Ray Fearon (Actor).

The recipient of the 2020 Bryan Forbes Bursary for Young Directors is Masha Kevinovna. Masha is a Russian born director/ writer from West London and Artistic Director of OPIA Collective. She is part of Soho Writers Lab, National Youth Theatre and previously a Young Agitator at Royal Court, Young Associate at Gate Theatre.

The REP is a free alternative to formal training and graduates include Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù (Gangs of London), Lauren Lyle (Outlander), Chinenye Ezeudu (Sex Education), Seraphina Beh (Top Boy) Shiv Jalota (Eastenders) and Ellise Chappell (Poldark.)

National Youth Theatre would like to thank Arts Council England, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and Spotlight for their support of the 2020 NYT REP Company. They would also like to thank NYT Patrons Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren; the Clothworkers’ Foundation and Sophie’s Silver Lining Fund for their support of bursaries for NYT REP Company Members and everyone who has donated to The Bryan Forbes Bursary Fund for making this opportunity possible, especially the Forbes family and in particular Emma and Graham Clempson.

25 organisations call for funding for music education

25 organisations call for funding for music education

As the government’s consultation on the Comprehensive Spending Review ends, a joint letter led by the ISMMTA and Music Mark has called for sustained funding that delivers a world class music education system. Delivered to the Education Secretary, it has been supported by more than 25 organisations and focuses on:

  • music education beyond the curriculum – the instrumental and vocal work developed and delivered by the music education hub partnerships across England.
  • the work of our national youth music organisations, the Music and Dance Scheme and the In Harmony programmes.

Young people deserve access to a world class music education, sustained over a period of time to enable them to progress and flourish.

The joint letter and list of signatories can be seen here or for more information, please contact [email protected]

Commenting on the joint letter, the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts, said:

‘It is vital that every child can access a quality music education. To do this there needs to be sustained and meaningful government funding. We call on the government therefore to support these music programmes, which in many cases have played an important part in the levelling up agenda. Some of them have become embedded in their communities, giving opportunities to some of the most deprived children in the country.

‘Without continued and appropriate levels of funding, we risk damaging our children’s music education and putting at risk the jobs of many extraordinarily committed teachers, who have worked so hard to provide access to music during these difficult times. The benefits of music for tackling anxiety, stress and depression are well documented, so now more than ever it is crucial that mental health problems and existing inequalities are not exacerbated through a lack of funding.’

Commenting on the joint letter, CEO of Music Mark, Bridget Whyte said:

‘If we are to truly ensure that there is equitable access to musical learning, the aspiration of the current National Plan for Music Education, then those providing the inspiring, enriching and diverse range of opportunities to learn, compose, make and enjoy music need to be given the financial support to do so. This is about ensuring that every child can access and progress to the level they wish – whether that’s learning an instrument with a view to going into the music profession, writing songs as a way to express themselves or exploring their identity and the wider world through music. We cannot lose this opportunity to ensure that all children and young people, regardless of circumstances, have the music education they want and deserve, and without significant investment now and into the future we might!’

About the letter

The joint letter and list of signatories can be seen here.

Music education hubs are receiving a proportion of a total grant this year (2020 – 2021) of £76.1m and this figure is the same as the previous year (2019 – 2020). Before that, it was approximately £75m for three years and previously it had been even less.

Prior to the creation of the hubs, the Music Education Grant given to music services was approximately £82m. That means music education is still receiving the same level of support as in 2011 – 2012, at which time local authority funding was more widespread as well.

Further information

  • The #CanDoMusic campaign was launched last month to protect music in schools.
  • In July, Over 400 music education professionals wrote a joint letter calling on the government to support music education in all schools.

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession.

We support over 10,000 music professionals across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.

About Music Mark

The UK Association for Music Education – Music Mark a membership organisation and Subject Association for all those who support its vision of excellent musical learning in and out of school for all children and young people in the UK which inspires and enriches their lives. We aim to support our members through training and resources, help to connect them with colleagues across the UK through newsletters and events, and influence on their behalf at a national level.

ISM comment on the Chancellor’s announcement

ISM comment on the Chancellor’s announcement

It is vital that freelancers are not forgotten and measures to aid them are not an afterthought.

Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement today, the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Chief Executive, Deborah Annetts, said:

‘While we welcome much of today’s announcement from the Chancellor which will help our venues many of which are on a cliff edge, it is a devastating blow for the thousands of self-employed musicians who have had no income since March and still cannot return to work while venues remain closed. The UK music industry is a hotbed of world-leading talent which makes a huge contribution to our economy and global influence, so it is vital that freelancers are not forgotten and measures are put in place to help them until they can work again.

‘Many musicians have already fallen through the gaps in the Self Employment Income Support Scheme and will continue to be excluded under the new measures. In addition, reducing support down to just 20% of average monthly trading profits will not provide an adequate safety net for our members when they are unable to generate any income at all.

‘The government must deliver on its pledge to ensure there is parity between employees and the self-employed by maintaining the existing level of support provided by the SEISS and expanding the eligibility criteria. These are dynamic entrepreneurs who will be back on their feet as soon as the sector can reopen, so any support measures need only last until the necessary safety precautions are eased.’

About the issue

letter coordinated by the ISM and Equity and signed by over 120 organisations from across the creative sector was sent to the Chancellor on 19 August 2020. Covered by The Guardian, it called on the government to extend financial support for freelancers working in the performing arts and entertainment industries.

The latest research by the Office for National Statistics showed that the arts, entertainment & recreation is the worst affected sector by Coronavirus. We have the highest proportion of the workforce furloughed, the highest self-rated risk of insolvency and most decreased footfall.

The Government is working on a plan to reopen venues which may include safe alternatives to social distancing, specific testing programmes and financial support measures.

Further information

A recent survey by Encore (an ISM corporate partner) found that 64% of UK musicians are thinking about leaving the music business altogether. Since March, 40% have applied for a non-music job, and 41% of the 568 respondents hadn’t received any government support during the disruption of the pandemic.

On 7 September, the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee called on the government to extend the furlough scheme for companies working in the arts and leisure sectors to prevent industry wide redundancies.

On 8 September, the DCMS committee heard from industry leaders including Andrew Lloyd Webber who warned that the arts are at a ‘point of no return’. This was covered by the BBCSky News and many other outlets.

On 9 September), Parliament debated extending the coronavirus support schemes and the ISM provided a briefing to MPs.

About the ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s professional body for musicians and a nationally-recognised subject association for music. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and protecting the rights of those working in the music profession.

We support over 10,000 music professionals across the UK and Ireland with our unrivalled legal advice and representation, comprehensive insurance and specialist services. Our members come from all areas of the music profession and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds.

We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education and the profession as a whole. We are a financially independent not-for-profit organisation with no political affiliation. This independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians.