‘I had always loved performing, but MGC unlocked a whole new side to the industry.’
‘I cannot count the ways MGCfutures has helped me in my current studies and professional life.
Shivani Jaswal, MGCfutures Youth Theatre Member, 2013-2014
In 2013 and 2014, to accompany Season One of the Michael Grandage Company, MGCfutures ran a Youth Theatre - a year‑long programme of activities and events for a group of twenty‑five aspirational young people, aged 15 to 25.
Launched at the beginning of 2013, the MGCfutures Youth Theatre began with a mail-out to over one hundred schools and colleges across the state and independent sectors. Nearly two hundred applications were received, of which sixty applicants were shortlisted and invited to attend a weekend of workshop-auditions.
From the shortlisted applicants, twenty-five young people from London and beyond were recruited to form the Youth Theatre. As the activity was fully-funded by MGC, and therefore free to all participants, it was open to all young people regardless of financial circumstances. The company members represented a true cross-section of society, coming from schools as diverse as Harrow and Haberdashers’ Aske’s, to Highbury Grove and Luton Sixth-Form College.
The Youth Theatre was open to any young person with a passion for theatre, whether they studied drama or not - especially people who recognised that there’s more to theatre than just the activity that happens on stage and were interested to learn more about other careers within the industry.
As part of their initial application, participants identified roles other than acting that they were interested in – for example, directing, design, lights and sound. Through a Mentoring Programme, members of the Youth Theatre were then assigned a mentor who specialised in their chosen area – all leading industry professionals working with MGC - including Artistic Director Michael Grandage and Producer James Bierman.
Over a six-month period, mentees and mentors met three times, discussing their work in detail, answering questions and agreeing a task that the mentee would complete with their mentor’s advice and guidance. The tasks related to the devised pieces of theatre the Youth Theatre were creating in response to the productions in MGC’s opening season and utilised the mentee’s developing skills.
In total the Youth Theatre created three devised pieces, all of which were performed on stage at the Noel Coward Theatre to an invited audience of family, friends and supporters of MGC, including members of the various casts and Creative Teams.
As an inclusive Education Programme, one of MGCfutures’ aims is to reach out to people of all ages and backgrounds to work alongside its core group of young participants, and in 2013 and 2014 the Youth Theatre collaborated with ten older participants recruited through Age UK London, making the work truly intergenerational.
‘Looking back on my time in the Youth Theatre, the thing I remember most is the generosity of the professionals who gave their time to teach us and share their work, and the insight into the process which I gained from that experience.’
Bridget Randolph, Youth Theatre Member