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National Youth Theatre awarded £2million for renovations of it’s North London building.

The radical development, funded from the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund will enable NYT to double the number of young people they engage in the building through their annual programme which provides, free and affordable drama opportunities that champion diversity, creativity and routes into the creative industries.

Award-winning architects DSDHA will develop this thriving production hub for young people. The building will include a new front pavilion, providing a fully accessible entrance from Holloway Road and include a new rehearsal studio and reception.  

There are also plans for a Pocket Park to the south entrance, delivered in partnership with London Borough of Islington, to improve air quality in the immediate location on the Holloway Road.

A new 200-seat studio ‘workshop’ theatre, three rehearsal spaces and a co-working space will also be created within the existing building, allowing NYT to double the number of young people coming into the building.

The 200-seat studio ‘workshop’ theatre will stage performances by NYT members from around the UK, NYT’s flagship free talent development companies the NYT REP, Playing Up and Stepping Up, and other new work by NYT Associate Companies and emerging creatives.

The new spaces will be made available to young people throughout London and beyond to create new work together. School groups from around the UK will also be able to participate in regular skills workshops at the venue and see new NYT curriculum productions, which last year included Frankenstein, Great Expectations and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

The new creative co-working space will provide opportunities for emerging playwrights, producers and theatre companies and embed NYT’s established Creative Leadership programme. The Creative Leadership programme provides free training and a structured route into paid leadership roles within the NYT and across the creative industries. 

These new facilities will enable the expansion of NYT’s award-winning social inclusion programmes, Playing Up and Stepping Up continuing the organisation’s vital work with even more young people not in education, training or employment by providing opportunities to develop creative practice and gain accredited qualifications. Now in its 11th year, Playing Up has proved hugely successful with 85% of participants progressing into employment, further training or education opportunities. Applications for the 2020 Playing Up and Stepping Up cohorts are now open. 

Building work will commence in May with the opening of the new building planned for late Spring 2021. 

The worlds’ first youth theatre, over its 64 years NYT has worked with hundreds of thousands of young people, many of whom have passed through its doors in Holloway Road over the past 32 years, from alumni Daniel Craig who also helped to paint the walls when the organisation first moved into the building, to Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rosamund Pike and Matt Smith rehearsing their London stage debuts at the venue, to Matthew Warchus embarking on his first directorial role.

Originally a 19th Century music hall designed by Scottish architect George Truefitt known as ‘Holloway Hall’, the building also hosted rehearsals for James Graham’s first paid commission Tory Boyz and the NYT Team Welcome Ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Other famous alumni who rehearsed as teenagers at Holloway Road and have gone on to global success include Zawe Ashton, David Oyelowo, Orlando Bloom, Adeel Akhtar, David Walliams, Matt Lucas, Jessica Hynes, Gareth Pugh, Sope Dirisu and many more. 

Paul Roseby OBE, National Youth Theatre CEO and Artistic Director, said: 
“Redeveloping our north London home is game changing for our charity and the young people we serve. It will enable us to double the number of young creatives we work with in the building and make us more sustainable to the benefit of future generations of talent who will come through our doors. We’re grateful to all of our supporters for making possible this vital work with those who need it the most. ” 

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