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National Youth Theatre announce 10 new youth trustees

Posted 15 Jul 2023 by Joe Duggan

Today National Youth Theatre have announced 10 new youth trustees to represent and champion young voices at the highest level of decision making at the charity.

The new youth trustees represent members from across the United Kingdom on stage and off and include graduates of the charity’s NYT REP Company, Playing Up course, National Productions, Inclusive Practice Programmes, youth-led MadeByMembers work and digital programmes. They are; Aneeza Selina Ahmed, Patrick Ashe, Will Atiomo, Rana Bader, Hester Cox, Elan Ayana Davies, Patrick Gregan, Isobella Fordham, Sorcha McElroy, Elliot Mills. Find out more about NYT’s 10 Youth Trustees. 

Members of the NYT have actively represented the voice of young people to the staff, executive and trustees at NYT since 2007 and their impact has been significant, including appointing new trustees, instigating major new programmes like MELT, a multi-year creative response to the climate crisis, and expanding the charity’s work into new areas including performances for children. Youth-led work at the NYT also includes the #MadeByMembers programme, which seems young leaders co-create monthly new themed works. 

Last Friday saw a group of members who identify as disabled, d/Deaf and/or neurodiverse present Access Acquired featuring original new work in the NYT’s Workshop Theatre as part of the #MadeByMembers programme. Other #MadeByMembers projects have championed young Black talent, explored the experience of young Trans members, created dramas about migration, showcased rural stories and celebrated the LGBTQ+ community. 

New Youth Trustee Aneeza Selina Ahmed who is a NYT member and graduate of the charity’s free creative employment programme Playing Up said: “I believe it’s important to give young people a platform to feel heard and encouraged. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to become a youth trustee as it gives us a chance to advocate for hope and change in the creative industry for young people.  I am looking forward to being a part of these collaborative changes and to help amplify unheard voices which will help shape the future of this creative industry.”

Dawn Airey NYT Chair, said; “It’s my pleasure to welcome these bright young minds to the NYT Board. With their collective passion, talent and ideas we’ll continue to put young voices at the heart of everything we do and be as ambitious as the young people we serve.”   

Prasanna Puwanarajah Vice NYT Chair, said: “Our Youth Trustees have offered the National Youth Theatre invaluable scrutiny and challenge and have been an inspiration to members, staff, and trustees alike since we started the programme. Through full participation in governance our Youth Trustees keep us sharply aware of the challenges faced by young people and early career artists; they stretch the ambition of the organisation; they offer up better solutions than we would otherwise find to questions that we might not even know to ask yet. We’re thrilled to welcome our new group. It’s a privilege to collaborate with them, to receive their colleagueship, and we look forward to learning from their expertise as they experience governance from a place at the table.”

BIOS

Aneeza Selina Ahmed is an Actor and joined the National Youth Theatre in 2019 through completing the Playing up Course and Senior Course in 2020. She has participated in various NYT workshops and projects including the 2022 ‘Nostalgic Fantastic’ Fundraising Gala. In 2022 Aneeza performed in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at Windsor Castle, The National Theatre River Stage and Southwark Playhouse where she performed her own writing. She has a joy for Contemporary Dance, Music and Photography and is currently a part of the Vaults Young Company and training at Drama School.

Patrick Ashe is an actor and magician and first-year BA Acting student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He became a member of NYT in 2018, and has participated as a member on a wide variety of projects including ’The Last Harvest’, ‘On the Edge at COP26’, and the NYT Gala. He also regularly works as an NYT course assistant and is a graduate of the Playing Up programme. He is also a graduate of the RADA and Almeida Young Companies. Outside of acting, Patrick works as a professional magician and as a magic consultant, recent credits as magic consultant include ’The Chairs’ at the Almeida Theatre and ’The Lesson’ at the Southwark Playhouse. 

Will Atiomo is an actor from Nottingham. After leaving school, he joined the National Youth Theatre on the Senior Course in 2019 and later became an NYT creative leader in March 2020. Will completed his acting training with the NYT REP company in June 2021, and graduated from the University of Birmingham with a first class degree in Politics, Religion and Philosophy in 2022. He juggled his studies with various acting roles, including performances in Samskara at the Yard Theatre as well as in Netflix’s The Sandman series.     

Rana Bader Hey! My name is Rana Bader (she/her) and I’m 18 years old. Having just completed my A levels, I am now about to start the Foundation Diploma at LAMDA. I have Achondroplasia which is broadly understood as the most common form of dwarfism. I believe that theatre and the arts is vital in shaping our diverse culture. As a youth trustee I am looking forward to being a part of essential and collaborative change at NYT.

Hester Cox is an actor and producer from Lancashire who joined NYT in 2021 through the Epic Stages course. She began her Inclusion Ambassador and Creative Leadership training at the beginning of 2022 and is a member of the Made by Members project, Access Acquired. Prior to this, she first began performing in TV and radio dramas, before graduating with a degree in geography from Bristol University. Hester is currently working with other NYT members, as a producer and performer in the Edinburgh Fringe show ZIP IT.

Elan Ayana Davies is a mixed race actor, writer and spoken word artist. She has been member of NYT since 2019, and is tje curator of the #Madebymembers project 'Culture Shock'. Alongside this she has worked on many other projects with NYT such as RUSH and MELT. She has previously worked with Burnt Orange Theatre Co. and has previously studied at both ArtsEd and Mountview. Currently, Elan is training at Identity School of Drama.

Patrick Gregan (he/him) is an actor, writer, director and producer from Leeds, West Yorkshire. Joining NYT in 2018, he trained at CAPA College and The Lir Academy and co-founding the Juvenile Behaviour Theatre Company with fellow NYT Members. Interested in all kinds of theatre, he is enthusiastic about creating opportunities for young creatives in the North and looks forward to connecting with NYT Members from all over. His claim-to-fame is having performed Julius Caesar to an audience that included J.K. Simmons.

Isobella Fordham (Issy) She/Her completed her Epic Stages course in 2020, she is a graduate from The Actors Class and Identity School of Acting, having trained at Sylvia Young Theatre School through a scholarship in her younger years.  Issy understands the importance of giving back to community organisations that helped her explore her own creative passions and now volunteers with the Refugee Council. Alongside her performing endeavours, Issy is currently fulfilling a part-time PhD in History, focusing on Britain’s colonization of India. Issy is passionate about creating change within academia and the creative industries and allowing young people to explore both options inclusively.

Hi there! My name is Sorcha McElroy, I’m 18 years old, and I’m from the North of Ireland. I completed my NYT intake course in 2020, and this was my first taste of what the theatre world was like! I am so excited to begin this new adventure as a Youth Trustee and am extremely proud to have been appointed this role, which I aim to respect and fulfil. 

Elliot Mills joined NYT in 2016 and has enjoyed acting in ‘The Last Harvest’, being VR team member for REP’s ‘Frankenstein’, as well as being an Ambassador and summer Course Assistant. He studied Theatre and Performance at Warwick and is completing a Masters in Computational Arts at Goldsmiths. His creative and XR work includes a real-time mocap performance between London and New York, creating 3D virtual humans for Nike and Face Magazine with Good Measure Studio, and The Young Vic’s ‘Intro to Directing’ programme. He founded XR Theatre to explore theatre and new technologies.

Applications to become a member of National Youth Theatre are open now via the NYT Hub.

National Youth Theatre are grateful to Arts Council England for their support in championing young voices.