The Union Theatre in London is launching a youth programme that will offer weekly performance classes.
Bonnie Langford and Anna-Jane Casey have also been announced as patrons of the new venture at the fringe venue, which begins teaching from September.
The classes, which will run at weekends, are aimed at children and young people between the ages of six and 18.
Acting, singing and dance will be taught separately as part of the youth theatre in order to improve skills in all three areas. Alongside classes taught by industry professionals, students will stage productions at the Union and participate in masterclasses.
Joint director of studies Michael Burgen said the weekly classes would be based on a curriculum drawn up by staff including fellow joint director of studies Neil Moors and head of dance Lisa Mathieson.
“We want to create lesson plans and actually offer a really good training for these kids. Because we’re going to start quite small, we want the emphasis to be on quality rather than quantity,” Burgen said.
The youth theatre is also launching a week-long summer school during August, which will be taught by different industry practitioners each day and based around music and choreography from West End shows.
Burgen praised the support of new patrons Langford and Casey, adding: “They stand for what we are about. I love them both as performers. Having worked with them I know how professional and hard-working they are. Their dedication and professionalism is admirable.”
The company’s foundation comes as the Union prepares to move to a new premises nearby in Southwark, which Moors said was an opportunity to introduce young people to the theatre and its new venue.