The National Youth Theatre is to undergo a £4.25 million redevelopment of its north London home, which will enable it to double the number of young people it can work with – from 3,000 to about 6,000 each year.
NYT’s premises on Holloway Road will add a new 200-seat studio theatre and four new rehearsal spaces as part of the project, which has been awarded £2 million of funds from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund.
The “radical development” designed by architects DSDHA will also construct a new pavilion, with an accessible entrance, and co-working facilities. There are also plans to create a ‘pocket park’ to improve air quality in the immediate vicinity.
The theatre will stage performances by NYT and its associate companies, and will be available to young people from around the UK to create new work.
National Youth Theatre chief executive and artistic director Paul Roseby said: “Redeveloping our north London home is game-changing for our charity and the young people we serve.
“It will enable us to double the number of young creatives we work with in the building and make us more sustainable to the benefit of future generations of talent who will come through our doors.
“This is an exciting new chapter in our history as we continue to grow new audiences by telling new and relevant stories of our time.”
The £2 million grant has been match-funded by the Kirby Laing Foundation, with other funding coming from the London Marathon Charitable Trust, the Christina Smith Foundation and City Bridge Trust.
The new facilities will allow NYT to expand its Playing Up and Stepping Up programmes, which are focused on engaging with young people who are not in education, training or employment.
Elsewhere, school groups from around the UK will be able to participate in workshops and attend NYT productions in the new studio when curriculum plays are staged.
Following a £500,000 grant from Arts Council England, NYT has also secured the lease on its Holloway Road premises, which has been its home since 1987.
Actor and NYT alumnus Matt Smith said: “The National Youth Theatre’s Holloway Road address has played a significant role in my London life. Not only did I rehearse for my London stage debut there, but I also made some everlasting friendships within its walls.
“It’s a home away from home where young people can be encouraged to grow and challenge themselves creatively.”
The building work is expected to begin in May, with the new building expected to open in late spring 2021.