Get our free email newsletter with just one click

How Spirit Young Performers Company has changed the way children train

Photo: Spirit Young Performers Company

Spirit Young Performers Company students are being propelled into the spotlight, with millions across the globe tuning in to watch these talented youngsters perform.

Spirit YPC has been operating for nearly five years. Based exclusively in London, the company provides elite ‘triple threat’ training on weekends and after school to performers aged six to 19. Students are handpicked through a selective audition process to join the company’s musical theatre programme, dance company or singing teams.

While the theatre and entertainment industry has become increasingly engaged in social media, Spirit YPC was a pioneer in providing its students with the platform to showcase their skills across the globe.

Students are trained and encouraged to deliver outstanding performance pieces each term – including original songs and arrangements – that are professionally filmed and released to the company’s extensive audience via its YouTube channel.

The Spirit YPC YouTube Channel has attracted an outstanding international viewership, recently stream-rolling past 50 million hits. The online success has led to live performance opportunities for the Spirit YPC team including West End Live (Trafalgar Square), Magic Radio’s Magic at the Musicals (Royal Albert Hall), prime-time ITV Television (Keep It in the Family with Bradley Walsh), the National Theatre Gala, selling out the Hackney Empire with its own showcase performance and more.

The students’ performances have generated great acclaim and have been shared by companies such as Disney Music, Lionsgate (for its La La Land promotions) and official social media channels for Broadway shows.

The reason for this success?

“We pride ourselves on producing performers that are driven, skilful and undeniably talented, but also happy and passionate,” says founder and director Sophie Boyce. “Ultimately it is their joy that shines through and makes them such compelling performers.”

Boyce adds: “We’re not here to churn out robots and have no intention of doing so. Our students are provided with the tools to be great: the technique, the industry coaching, the incentive and the discipline. But they are encouraged to be their own person and define themselves in their own way. That is the mark of a next-level performer.”

Boyce credits the close-knit environment between students and their teachers as a contributing factor to their success as individuals.

“The kids are in a safe, family-like environment where they can express themselves, they can make mistakes, they can develop their own style as performers. I believe the success of this is what makes them so entertaining, and why so many tune in to watch and be inspired by them.”

Certainly ‘inspired’ is right, with an increasingly high number of schools now endeavouring to replicate Spirit YPC’s training format not just in the UK, but also internationally.

Boyce remarks that Spirit YPC’s inbox is flooded daily with enquiries from across the world from teachers, aspiring performers, parents and industry professionals asking for advice on how to produce the same level of quality, or if Spirit YPC plans to set up its programme internationally.

“We have no plans to expand our weekend programme overseas at the moment,” says Boyce, “It’s important to me that Spirit YPC is not a franchise, branch or corporation. Really, it’s a passion. A passion that has touched and enriched the lives of our students as well as literally millions of people who tune in to watch them perform.”

Spirit YPC students are also experiencing professional success, with members consistently being cast in top West End musicals and touring productions. Those who are not already represented will be set up with top UK agencies under the guidance of Spirit YPC.

Performers can train at Spirit YPC for anything from one hour to 25 hours per week. The average training time for a musical theatre student is three to six hours; a dance company student five to eight hours. Many students choose to take every class and opportunity available and as a result spend more time training in performing arts with Spirit YPC than they would at a full-time theatre school.

With class sizes kept deliberately small, fees highly competitive and extensive showcasing opportunities, it is easy to see why Spirit YPC attracts such a high calibre of dedicated young performers.

The teaching prides itself on being second to none, with the Spirit YPC faculty including nationally renowned instructors, top qualified vocal coaches, industry veterans, Broadway creatives and regular guest masterclass sessions from leading West End actors. Ultimately, though, Boyce resolves that the children themselves are the most successful element of Spirit YPC.

“What’s special is that it’s a group of incredibly talented young people working together towards one goal,” Boyce shares. “That, with the support of an outstanding creative team who truly care about them, creates a really distinctive one-of-a-kind environment.”

Apply for an audition today via spiritypc.co.uk or office@spiritypc.com
Half-term and summer intensives are also available.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.