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Drama St Mary's Youth Theatre

 Free Youth Theatre for 13-16 year olds from underrepresented backgrounds.

St Mary’s has teamed up with the National Saturday Club to host the Performance & Theatre Saturday Club. This weekly Club is run by St Mary's as a Youth Theatre. It takes place on Saturday mornings, is completely free, and is intended for teenagers aged 13-16 from underrepresented backgrounds. The Youth Theatre is supported by Drama St Mary's and the University's Widening Participation & Outreach team, as part of St Mary’s University’s commitment to widening participation in Higher Education and the arts. 

Please read on fo further information and photos from last year's Youth Theatre. For a full list of dates when the Youth Theatre will take place for 2023/24, please view this document (dates subject to change). 

Apply for the Performance & Theatre Club 


What was it like last year? 

During our second year of the Youth Theatre, our new Director Daniela Lucinda Santos took the group on a new journey. 

Daniela was aided by our 3 new Leaders from the BA Acting course, Aimee, Gerda and Megan. Our members came from St Paul's Catholic College, Springwest Academy, Coombe Girls School, Waldegrave School, St Richard Reynolds Catholic College and Elthorne Park High School. 



We had a lot of fun
The National Saturday Club team organised several amazing opportunities for us, including:


  • Self Portrait project, 12/11/2022 - we worked with a profesional photographer (Anya Ellis- @ShotsbyLasagne) to compose a portrait to express ourselves. 
  • London London Visit, 19/11/2022 - we viewed our self portraits on display in a gallery at Central St Martins, and took a guided tour of the incredible Hew Locke exhibition called 'Procession'. Take a look at photos from the day here, and read the London Visit report here.
  • Masterclass with Tom Ryalls (Boy and Pen), 28/01/2023 - Tom challenged us to disrupt the conventional rules of theatre, and we formed a 'Theatre Government'. Read the Masterclass report here.
  • Graduation and Summer Show at Somerset House, 15/07/2023 - take a look at some photo highlights below.



We achieved so much by the end of the year
Our main creative project this year was to produce a devised piece of theatre, building on themes that are important to all the Youth Theatre members. Daniela, our Director, explained how she approached this: 


Everything in 'Glitch', the Youth Theatre's final show, came from their creative process and imaginations. My main intention was to give them the space to let their voices be heard. I believe the freedom they had to create whatever they felt, and feeling listened to and supported, has been the reason for their incredible engagement.


In the world of ‘Glitch’, young adults are allocated a career by the mysterious Employmart corporation (‘We’ll choose for you, so you don’t have to!’). On Allocation Day, a teenager called Nova decides she has had enough of being told what to do, and explores the strange world of work using the Glitch (an illicit device she buys from a Job Dealer). See some photo highlights and our short film below. 



First priority for places will be given to young people who meet one or more Widening Participation criteria, to support fair access to the arts and Higher Education. Examples of Widening Participation criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • students eligible for Free School Meals in the past five years

  • students who have experienced Local Authority Care

  • students from an ethnicity that is underrepresented in Higher Education (this could include Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and Gypsy Roma Traveller communities).

Information on eligibility for our outreach programmes is available on our Targeting and Eligibility webpages. Please contact Nancy Bentley with any questions about eligibility for the Youth Theatre, or to provide any further information you wish to supply with your application.

You don't need lots of prior acting experience - everyone in the Youth Theatre will have different skills. Everyone will learn a lot about acting techniques, speaking and movement. It's a great way to gain confidence and make new friends. You will work with about 25 other young people of a similar age, and be guided by a talented and welcoming team from Drama St Mary's.

Our Director and team of current BA Acting students will be with you all the way, helping you get  comfortable in self-expression, devising your own pieces of theatre, and performing for audiences. 

How young people can apply to join

You should apply by Friday 27th October 2023, via the National Saturday Club website. Just select 'St Mary's University' from the list of options, and complete the form with the support of a Parent or Carer. We will then be in touch by email with further information. 

We're hiring - drama leaders, BA Acting Level 6

Each year we recruit drama leaders to support the director in facilitating the weekly Youth Theatre sessions. For 2023/24, we are seeking four current students from the Drama St Mary's BA Acting course (Level 6) to work as drama leaders. 

Please view the job description for further details of the role. 

Applications are open until the deadline on Tuesday 12th September at 5pm. To apply, complete this short application form.

Any questions about the drama leader role? Email Daniela, Youth Theatre Director: 

Contact us

If you have any concerns like how to get to St Mary's University, or anything else, however small, we would love to hear from you.

Nancy Bentley
Widening Participation and Outreach Manager
020 8240 4247