Revived NYMT to stage West End return in 2006

The National Youth Music Theatre has relaunched and announced plans to return to the West End stage in 2006, following an enforced absence of more than two years.

The organisation closed in 2003 with financial difficulties, having struggled when Andrew Lloyd Webber ended his sponsorship in 1999. However, it has now cleared its debts and has begun raising money to embark on two new productions in 2006.

The first could see up to 25 NYMT members appearing on the West End as part of a major new musical, which is as yet untitled. Meanwhile, it will reprise its own production of The Dreaming at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge, provided it can find £10,000 backing to guarantee against loss.

Founder Jeremy James Taylor explained: “The West End musical project is very much in the early throws. It needs about 25 young people and if the production goes ahead, the NYMT will be involved.

“Over the past two years, we’ve been getting out of our financial situation. Up until three or four months ago, until we had cleared that, we weren’t able to trade. Everything is more or less in place and as soon as we can say we are auditioning, the company will be back up and running.”

Meanwhile the NYMT will continue with its workshops in Japan, which it had been running for some time before its closure, with two of its directors travelling out to Tokyo for a large scale production in 2006.

It has also formed a collaboration with the Ambassador Theatre Group to perform selections from three new Disney musicals for children at two ATG venues this winter. It will stage extracts from the works – The Jungle Book, Aladdin and Cinderella – as a presentation to teachers, youth leaders and directors. The first performance will take place at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow on November 4 and the second at the New Wimbledon Theatre on December 2.

Last week, the organisation held a Royal Charity Gala, attended by the NYMT’s president the Earl of Wessex, which it hopes will secure enough money to help it confirm its plans for future productions. It is currently seeking further funding from both private and public sources and a new office space from which it can operate.

NYMT chair Maggie Semple added: “We are looking to take the best of the last 20 years and move it into this century. We need to broaden the audience and broaden the young people coming through the company. I would like to get young people writing the pieces we perform and working backstage on productions. We will look at setting up an apprentice scheme.”

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