Alex (23) BA Circus Performer

My first time on stage was in my early teens, which is a relatively late start when it comes to performance arts. However the opportunities provided by the Manx National Youth Theatre, with performances locally and inspirational trips to places like the Big Youth Theatre Festival and the Youth Shakespeare events meant that my late start was no hindrance.

Manx National Youth Theatre and the Youth Arts Centre in general have since been an essential part of my development, providing me with experience in directing, rehearsal and practice spaces when required, and a supportive and nurturing environment for performers. It opens its door, non-judgmentally, to fringe performance styles, which is what the Isle of Man needs as it becomes over run with Musical Theatre companies and Saturday schools for the upper-middle classes.

I am now a full time professional performer working throughout the Uk and Europe and competing for contracts across the globe. I would not be where I am now without the solid foundations that were built through the opportunities available through MNYT and the YAC.

Leanne (23) Confident human being.

I joined MNYT when I was 14 in 2004 as my friend was a member and she recommended that I joined. I wasn’t too keen to join at first as Drama/Theatre personally wasn’t my cup of tea. On my first night attending everybody was friendly and welcoming which encouraged me to go again.

My group was very diverse and MNYT offered opportunities for all of us! We had Singers, Hip-Hop & Irish Dancers, Actors/Actresses, Circus performers & Drag Queens. MNYT let each individual express their talents at any given opportunity. MNYT also opened our eyes to Bollywood & Tap dancing and we enjoyed every minute! We even got to perform a Tap Dancing routine to ‘Green Day’ at the Gaiety Theatre, that is a performance that none of us will forget.

I travelled to the UK a couple of times with MNYT. I got to perform Shakepeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’ at LIPA and the London Eye. It was a proud moment and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, it was a treasured experience. I made a lot of lifelong friendships at MNYT and for that I am truly grateful. I had an amazing time with a bunch of amazing people. I enjoyed every minute and I am very glad I joined.

Fiona was a wonderful Teacher and Friend to us all. She was there for us and let us be ourselves, even though half of the time she probably wanted to rip her hair out!
I attended MNYT for 6 years until I was 19 as we were ‘getting too old’ and a senior group couldn’t be supported. It was a great shame, but I suppose all good things come to an end.

It is nearly 10 years since I joined MNYT and I still go through my photograph’s re-living the laughs and memories and I still wear my hoody with pride ☺

Alex (33) Radio Presenter and Member then Staff 1998 – 2006

To be honest the importance the MNYT has in my opinion is two fold,… one is the way that it nurtures and motivates young people and builds much needed self confidence in an environment that is not pressurised, judgmental or elitist like many privately run theatre schools.

The variety of the projects and performance that young people are allowed to explore are very varied in the MNYT due to the unique environment which encourages the young people to get involved in the creative process instead of folowing a pre-determined course or syllabus that has been laid out for them. I feel it is essential in an artistic environment to encourage and develop self expression and an individual’s creative skills…. clearly demonstrated by the successful track record of past students at the MNYT.

Not only does it excel in stage production, but during my time there we branched out to provide film making opportunities and trips off island to the Big Youth THeatre festival in Epping where members of the Youth Theatre were able to attend classes and courses run by theatre professionals, perform to an international audience and experience other new and innovative live theatre.

I realise that a lot of what MNYT does cannot be justified on a balance sheet by accountants, but it performs a unique role in encouraging and developing young people who’s personal circumstances may not allow then to follow a creative path which would allow them to fulfill their potential in society.

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