Michael Grandage has launched a youth theatre, offering 20 youngsters the chance to work alongside his West End company.
The Futures Company is looking to recruit young people aged 15 to 25 from “mixed” backgrounds wanting to work in theatre as actors, directors, technicians, stage managers and other offstage roles. The company, which is free to join, will meet once a week for a year, and will run alongside the Michael Grandage Company’s West End season, culminating in a public performance linked to MGC’s production of Henry V, starring Jude Law, in 2014.
MGC executive producer James Bierman told The Stage: “We want to give a group of young people an opportunity to come on-board with us as a kind of fledgling mirror company. Both Michael and I were members of a youth theatre when we grew up, and we know the importance of that communal sense of coming together once a week.
“The Futures Company is where we’ll take on a group of young people, and we want them to come from as broad a cross-section of society as we can – so we’ll have kids from independent schools mixing with kids from state schools, mixing with people, maybe, from referral units who have been asked to do something communal.”
MGC will be specifically approaching schools that have a gap in theatre activity, as well as those it has worked with previously. Auditions will be held over the weekend of February 16 and 17, when the company will be cast.
“This group will travel with us through the season and will work on activities connected to the plays and their own productions. Then each one of them will be assigned a specific role [director or designer, etc] and we’ll use the professionals we’re working with throughout the season as mentors,” added Bierman.
Later in the season, MGC will also be working with Age UK to form a similar company featuring people of retirement age, which will work with the youth theatre on an inter-generational project linked to Henry V.
Bierman added he hoped the education strand of the company would continue beyond the current West End season, so that when MGC moved on to its next project, a film, the training would be linked to that.