Life In 'The National' Spotlight with the Young Theatre Makers of Tomorrow

Posted on 22 September 2014

It’s been something of an eventful few months for the Belgrade Theatre’s Young Company. Since kicking off the year with their critically-acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, produced in association with Frantic Assembly, the company have enjoyed a number of high-profile public appearances both locally, as part of the Belgrade Theatre Unplugged 2014, and nationally as special guests at the prestigious Young Theatremakers Event held at The National Theatre on Saturday 13th September.

The event, which was held to mark the opening of the National Theatre’s new Clore Learning Space saw young theatre-makers from across the UK come together to share extracts from their work, to reflect upon the theatre-making process and to share knowledge from across the sector.

The invitation to take part came at the request of the National Theatre’s Youth Programme Co-ordinator, Robb Watt. So impressed was Rob by the work of the Young Company after previewing their show in March that he requested they open the celebrations with an extract from The Tempest in performance. This was followed by a question and answer session with the Young Company which took place on the stage of the newly re-named Dorfman Theatre – formerly known as The Cottesloe – which is currently undergoing re-development.

Among other Youth organisations in attendance on the day were 20 Stories High, Young Everyman Playhouse, Contact Theatre, National Theatre Young Studio, Theatre Royal Stratford East Young Artists and Islington Community Theatre.

Reflecting upon their experience, here’s what a selection of our Young Company members thought of the event:

‘I felt it was good to revisit the framework that we created for The Tempest and modify it ready for the occasion, as it gave it new life. Just the feeling of being at the National is one I have never experienced and it will stay with me forever.’

Amy Thompson

‘Being in a creative space that people enjoyed being in was amazing. I have never experienced that with so many people at once before. It is like you are not on your own. It was amazing – the diversity of people and hearing about other people’s struggles. I also enjoyed the workshop – a new way of analysing a script. I am definitely taking that with me. I had one of the best days of my life.’

Ben Durber

I feel honoured and blessed to be able to “bless” the new National Theatre. Performing on the new stage was fantastic, thrilling but nerve-wrecking experience. I also enjoyed being able to share our thoughts of the process after the performance.

Joelle Ikwa

2014 also saw the Belgrade Theatre Community and Education Company perform as part of National Theatre Connections for the first time with their production of Evan Placey’s Pronoun.

The Belgrade is also committed to providing opportunities for young people showing particular talent and commitment to a career in the performing arts. Building upon its strong tradition of Youth Theatre, the Belgrade Young Company was established to provide young people with the opportunity to experience projects more closely mirroring the rigour of a professional rehearsal and production process. To this end, participants are given the opportunity to develop skills in theatre techniques, including acting, singing, dancing, writing and directing. Groups also regularly work towards productions with the support of a professional creative team.

The Community & Education Company aims to put on original and quality productions that give a voice to the experiences of the range of individuals and communities that make up Coventry. To this end, the work is almost exclusively original and aims to provide an enjoyable and challenging theatre experience to its audiences, as well as a pride in work that has been locally produced.

To find out more about the work of the Community and Education Company, visit the Take Part of our website or contact Claire Simpson, General Manager of Community and Education on 024 7684 6741 or email