Just at the cast of this year’s National Youth Theatre are preparing themselves for their adventure, a cast member from last year’s production, Leah Minto, reflects on her experience. They have a lot to look forward to……..
The curtain went down for the last time on our show A Dream Play on a Saturday night in August. That night, after many goodbyes to the crew, I headed back to the Marino Institute and packed my bags. There was this great apprehension among the rest of the cast and I as we tried to hug, laugh and cry for the last time together. The hardest part came the next morning, though, when I wrote a message in everyone’s programme, trying to put into words how much I’d miss them. Eventually, one by one, we all got collected by parents and said our final farewell to the project that had enraptured our lives for the past five weeks.
It’s November now and I’m finally writing the blog on how my life has been since finishing NYT. In the beginning, I felt as though I was caught up in a whirlwind. The Monday after the show, I went straight into 6th year and had to change my focus completely. It took a while for my head to get out of the creative zone and take on the books instead. Memories of rehearsals flood back to my mind from time to time, even to this day.
It’s a sad feeling to look back on August, I miss waking up every morning to an amazing breakfast and being led onto a bus by our lovely welfare leader. I miss getting woken up properly by John Taite’s warm ups and feeling excited about what we would do that day. I miss the creative flow that ran through the room as we developed the script into a piece of theatre, a work of art. Most of all, I miss the cast. The 15 other members of NYT who I lived, rehearsed and shared a stage with have made a massive impact on my life. It’s always difficult to be open and expressive around new people, vulnerability can really set in. However, from the first welcoming weekend in July where I met the other members, I felt completely at home. I still see them on the weekends sometimes, it’s great to have people like that in your life.
Since working on the production, I feel like I have a better understanding of theatre. Jimmy Fay, for example, was an incredible director to work with. I felt like we were given complete freedom to put a lot of our own ideas into the play and we were guided the whole way through.
Being able to perform on a national stage was a dream come true also! The opportunities we were given to work along side amazing set designers, lighting experts and sound producers was inspirational. I have grown to appreciate the work of theatre so much more.
Before I got accepted into NYT, I had always wanted to be a professional actor, however, the concept seemed a little far fetched. I thought of it as an elusive career and a very competitive industry to work in. Although this remains true, I feel like I have matured and learnt a great deal about the world of performing. NYT has given me drive to go for more auditions, attend showcases and delve into texts on plays.
After a week of school, my biggest luxury definitely comes on Saturday mornings when I attend my DYT workshops. I feel as though I have a huge capacity to gain more skills in acting.
The experience of NYT is something that will stay with me for life. The rewards were limitless, the freedom of expression was enriching and the people who surrounded me were some of the most talented, heart-warming artists that I could hope to work with. I would do it again tomorrow!
Dublin Youth Theatre