A few weeks ago, I attended a course run by the National Youth Theatre which is based in London. This course was the Play in a Week for the 14-17 age category. When we arrived on Monday morning we were acting and devising from 10 to 5 from Monday to Friday, which was when we would perform to parents and friends.

When we started there were eight of us in total. We all did not know each other, nor had we attended a course run by the National Youth Theatre before, but we were all incredibly keen to get started. The course was run by the wonderful Lexine Lee and Grace Stotesbury who are amazing actors and directors. Throughout the course, they guided us, challenged and encouraged us to create the best piece of theatre we could. The piece of theatre that we decided on was a retelling of the tale of the Pied Piper. We started by looking at themes, tropes, and archetypes within fairy tales and the Pied Piper. We then expanded on our original ideas by doing some improvisation which laid the groundwork for what would be an amazing play.

On Tuesday, we did some character work in which we all created unique characters, and gave them catchphrases and gestures. These characters were then incorporated into the piece. We also did some script writing and individually wrote a short 20 to 30-second script which we'd perform. We also looked at physical theatre and ensemble work. Movement was a big part of our piece, and we explored different ways of incorporating it.  

By Thursday afternoon we almost had a piece of theatre. When returned the next day it was rehearsal time. Our performance was scheduled for 3:30 and by the time everyone started arriving we knew that we had an amazing piece of theatre.

This experience has helped me so much with both my confidence in talking to new people and my acting skills. I am taking drama GCSE, and this course has helped me with some of the devising portion of my GCSE I highly recommend the National Youth Theatre for anyone who is thinking of acting or directing as a career path. I will be auditioning for the NYT 2025 cohort, and I hope you do too.