NYT Cast Members from Oliver 2017

Changing Lives from the Stage

Our rapidly expanding Outreach Programme is working with students who couldn't otherwise afford the experience. Each year we bring over 10,000 school children to the Aotea Centre, where they watch their peers perform on one of the largest stages in the country. This is a hugely aspirational experience. For many, this is their first experience of live performance - for some, their first time in the city. We then follow up with the offer of full scholarships to selected students to join our OnStage Programme. We have allocated 20% of our intake as scholarships to deserving students.

The direct costs of delivering these schools performances, including transportation, are in excess of $100,000

We also run a free school holiday programme in Otara each year, in partnership with Sistema Aotearoa - further extending both their students and our tutors.

The students from AllStars Otara

Our programmes can take a child from shyly hiding at the back of the room to confidently standing center stage, and these changes impact their whole lives. Our students go on to deliver speeches in their classes, to confidently interact with their peers, to more well-rounded lives. Some are inspired to a career in the theatre, all benefit from the unique experience.

The workshop process is designed to extend the cast at every opportunity– this can be as simple having each student stand up and say something about themselves while answering the roll – a real achievement for a shy 7 year old. For our more experienced cast, there is the possibility of becoming part of our extension dance programme or taking on the challenge a lead role.

We triple-cast all leads where possible to maximise the opportunities available to our cast – each lead gets at least two performances. This is a huge logistical exercise, but it is so worth it for the additional prospects it gives our students. We try to keep the audition process as supportive as possible - we always audition in small groups, and often audition our younger cast members in their usual group time to start with.

Participation in the National Youth Theatre is a fantastic addition to the CV of our students. We're often called upon to provide references, whether as part of the Duke of Edinburgh programme, for further educational opportunities such as scholarships or course entrances, or as character references for employers. Our industry reputation is very strong, and our students are always well represented in any professional production that features young performers.

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