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Drama St Mary's Youth Theatre

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

St Mary’s has teamed up with the National Saturday Club to host a weekly Youth Theatre on Saturday mornings for teenagers from underrepresented backgrounds. The Drama St Mary’s Youth Theatre is  open to young people aged 13-16, and is supported by the University Outreach team, as part of St Mary’s University’s commitment to widening participation in Higher Education and the arts.

Across the UK, the National Saturday Club enables 13–16-year-olds to take part in creative subjects they love at their local university, for free. Drama St Mary’s is leading the Youth Theatre as part of the Saturday Club ‘Writing & Talking’ strand

Apply for the Drama St Mary's Youth Theatre 

Poster 2022 Youth Theatre



What was it like last year? 

We launched the Youth Theatre in autumn 2021, with 12 core members of the company
Our members came from Coombe Girls School, Waldegrave School, Drayton Manor High School, and Elthorne Park High School. Directed by Samuel Adebayo, the group became incredibly close and supportive of each other- many had never acted before. Our Drama Leaders from the BA Acting course were so smart and supportive- thanks Eden, Michael and Daniela! 

We had a lot of fun
Although we met up on Saturday mornings, it wasn't hard to get out of bed when you knew it was for the Youth Theatre. We played some really silly games to build up confidence and we included everybody - we were only strong when working together. There were also lots of snack breaks and laughs as we made friends with people our age from other schools - we were all there for the same reasons, and it was really different to doing a Drama lesson at school. 

We achieved so much by the end of the year
Our 3 key skills of Listening, Responding and Reacting were the building blocks of our later performances. Through improvising as a group, by the spring term we had created characters and a script for 'Not Yet Decided', our devised play about the themes of family, expectation and education. Our work was exhibited at Somerset House, and we graduated at a big ceremony in London, run by the National Saturday Club. Some of us will return next year, and it will be great to meet some new Youth Theatre members! 

The second year of the Youth Theatre  will launch on Saturday 5th November 2022. The Youth Theatre will meet at St Mary's University, Twickenham on Saturday mornings from 10am-1pm, on most weekends for the rest of the academic year (2022/23). 
We will use various Drama St Mary's rehearsal rooms and real theatre spaces on campus, at this address: 

St Mary's University
Waldegrave Road

About once a term there will be a Masterclass, trip to London or performance that takes place in a different location, or at an unusual date or time – we’ll let you know as early as possible. On the first Saturday, there will be signs and people to help you find us.

First priority for places will be given to young people who meet one or more Widening Participation criteria, to suport 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 5 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 21st October 2022, 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. 

Recruiting our staff team 

We are currently recruiting for one Youth Theatre Director and up to three current BA Acting students (Level 6/ 3rd year) to become Youth Theatre Leaders.

To apply for either post, email Mark Griffin with a short expression of interest (max. 200 words) before the deadline on Friday 14th October 2022. Interviews are expected to take place online during w/c 17th October.

 Any questions about these staff roles? Email or

Director poster         v 1 LEADER ADVERT

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