YOUNGSTERS with dreams of being the next Daniel Craig or Dame Helen Mirren showed off their skills on Tyneside.
Scores of budding actors descended on the CastleGate venue in Newcastle for the National Youth Theatre’s search for the best young acting talent.
Hopefuls spent all day on Saturday in auditions taking part in group workshops and individual sessions with experienced NYT leaders who judged the stars-in-the-making.
One of the 150 actors was Beth Hopper, from Sunderland. The 17-year-old, who is studying acting at Gateshead College, went to the audition after a recommendation by a pal.
“I first heard about the NYT from a friend who auditioned last year and said she thought it’d be right up my street,” Beth said.
“She told me about the workshops in the morning so I found that really helpful. It was a bit nerve-wracking but it was also a lot of fun.”
Successful applicants will follow in the footsteps of global greats including Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Craig, Dame Helen Mirren, Doctor Who star Matt Smith, as well as local faces such as Whitely Bay-born Andrea Riseborough and County Durham’s Gina McKee. This year NYT will audition more than 4,000 young people around the country in search of the top 500 who will be invited to join the company.
Current NYT members who successfully auditioned in Newcastle in recent years were also back in the city this week to act as ambassadors.
They included Kate Havord, from Sunderland, who bagged a place with the company last year.
The 19-year-old said: “I felt really proud to represent the North East when I got in NYT last year, so I was at the auditions just to get involved and act as an ambassador.
“I was in the same position as everyone here last year so I know exactly what they were going through.”
James Laurence Hunter, from Lemington, Newcastle, also popped along to share his experiences since he was asked to join NYT a couple of years ago.
The 23-year-old has landed a number of theatre roles since and joined other NYT members to perform welcoming ceremonies inside the Olympic athletes’ village in London. She said: “It was really exciting to be involved in it all especially when we did the performance for Team GB. I even got to high-five Andy Murray.
“It was just an amazing thing to be involved in.”
The opportunity wouldn’t have presented itself to former Newcastle College student James if it weren’t for NYT.
“If people have the drive to be a performer then the NYT is definitely worth doing because it’s getting better and better each year,” said James.
NYT workshop leader Matt Harrison added: “Newcastle is where I originally auditioned for NYT and I love coming back to where I auditioned.
“I get a lot more excited about coming here than I do auditioning in London because there’s much more of a rawness in the North East.
“People up here are great storytellers so that’s really important when looking for talented young people.
“We are a national youth theatre so we try to make sure people know we are not just London-centric especially in a city like Newcastle which is such an artistic and vibrant place.”