Sunday, 19 October 2008

MUSICAL EXPRESS-Destination West End

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Carriageworks, Millennium Square
WED 26th –SAT 29th NOV 2008 7.30pm
BOX OFFICE (0113) 224 3801
Climb aboard the musical express as we take you on a journey through the West End of
London with songs and dances from all the
leading musicals that are presently being
performed there.
A musical treat for all the family!


St Mary’s Youth Theatre’s old boy Marc Pickering, 23, recently played contestant R Wayne in Peter Kay's Britain's Got The Pop Factor, which was aired on Channel Four. Marc, who starred in many SMYT performances from a very early age, now lives in north London, said: "I was over the moon when I got the part. Peter Kay phoned me up to tell me, which was a shock in itself. When he told me I had the role I couldn't believe it. It was a good opportunity to show my ability as a comedy actor." It is not the first time Marc has appeared on screen. When he was just 13, he starred alongside Johnny Depp in the hit Hollywood film Sleepy Hollow whilst also rehearsing the part of Pilot in SMYT’S Jesus Christ Superstar. He has also starred in the films Calendar Girls and Cashback, as well as TV show Dalziel and Pascoe.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008


Ex SMYT member Nicola Brazil (Yeowart) moves from the show Wicked this month to take on the role of Sandy in the West End production of Grease. We would all like to congratulate Nicola and send her all our best wishes. We will be down to see her at the first opportunity!
See preview at

Friday, 6 June 2008


SMYT's Maria Strudwick is flying high after winning an airline's answer to the X-Factor.
Maria dazzled a crowd of around 17,000 rugby fans with her rendition of Mariah Carey's Hero, in the final of the contest to find Yorkshire's undiscovered stars.She beat stiff competition from two other singers vying for the top spot in the Rhinos Factor final at the Leeds Rhinos' local derby with Wakefield Wildcats at Headingley, Leeds last month.The 17-year-old won 61 per cent of all votes cast by text by the crowd, walking away with a week's holiday for two in Lanzarote as well as the coveted title. Congratulations from all at SMYT!

Monday, 21 April 2008


Past SMYT member Rachael Cairns will be appearing in Living's Britain's Next Top Model.
Over a period of twelve episodes, the fourteen top models in the making will learn from a series of even more glamorous guest judges and contributors, including Jemima French and Sophie Conrad.
From gorgeous yet grueling photo shoots with some of the industry’s most distinguished photographer, through to competitive casting calls with leading designers, the girls will flaunt their fashion appeal.
Vying to be declared winner, only one girl will lay claim to the most coveted prize in the modelling market; a contract with world renowned agency Models 1, appear on the cover of women’s glossy magazine Company and win a contract with Max Factor.
Everyone at SMYT wish Rachael luck in the competition.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Here is the show report from Martin Constantine ( National Theatre )

Show Report 2008


Company St Mary's Youth Theatre

Play Burying Your Brother In The Pavement

Director Steve Archdale

Partnership Theatre Stephen Joseph Theatre

Show reporter Martin Constantine


There were forty five performers in the company, aged from seven to twenty. They are all members of the St Mary's Youth Theatre which produces musicals every year and has taken part in National Theatre Connections since 1995. For many of the performers it was their first production with St Mary's and for a number it was their first experience of taking leading roles. The company are led and supported by a dedicated team of adults who direct, design, choreograph, prop and light the shows.
The administration of the company is excellent. This was the second performance of two.


The venue was Green Lane School which is St Mary's temporary home. The play was staged in the school hall, end on, and held an audience of about one hundred. The venue was almost full to capacity.


The company were given extracts of the play to audition from. The casting was incredibly well chosen. Special mention must go to Clem Abbott playing Tom. This part essentially carries the play and from the moment Clem flicked the torch on in the opening scene it was clear we were in safe hands. Clem was engaging, funny and able to convey the full range of the characters' emotional range. Importantly he kept the pace of the production moving forward at all times. He was well supported by the rest of the cast - the family unit of Tom, Luke (Ryan Bray) and Courtney (Katie Wilkinson) were particularly well cast together.


The company rehearsed three times a week after school from January through to performance. It was clear from discussion with the cast that the process was entirely collaborative. They workshopped many ideas at the beginning of the process, often in smaller groups, and this work was then shared with the whole group; the moments that worked were then selected for the production. The company said that this process made them feel a great sense of ownership. The company also had a very strong grasp of the themes and issues in the play. They had discussed these issues as they arose in rehearsals. In the after show discussion I found the group incredibly mature and impressive in their ability to express their thoughts and feelings about the play; it was obvious they had thought deeply about the issues the play raises.


The staging was kept relatively simple and this allowed for clear, direct storytelling. For most of the performance the action was focused on the bench in the Tunstall Estate.
The opportunity to involve the entire company was taken in the songs and set pieces such as the Marble Competition - these were smartly choreographed and made good use of the large numbers on stage. If groups worked together they were always following their own story - supporting the main action and not distracting.
The movement between scenes was often particularly well choreographed - one transition that particularly established the convention for this was Courtney exiting backwards in her search for Tom whilst the hoodies from the Tunstall estate entered to the same beat. These transitions were smoothly worked and meant that the action was propelled forward.


I felt the tone of the piece exactly matched the intentions of the playwright. There was no over elaboration; only what the text demanded. This allowed the story to flow at good pace. It also meant that where the play was meant to be funny, it genuinely was, and, where it was necessary to establish a more sombre tone, the company succeeded. A couple of changes were made to the script; Martin became Martine and we enjoyed brief impressions of Columbo and Dennis Waterman.
In many ways the great challenge of this piece incorporating the character Luke, who is ever present, and yet, doesn't speak a great deal of text. This was managed by giving Luke the same access to directly address the audience, through eye contact, as Tom had. It allowed the audience to grow to understand this character at the same time as Tom did. It was a brave decision but one that the production and performer pulled off.


The real merit of this production was the actors’ performances. The company were led impressively by Clem Abbott who imbued every line with a clear sense of meaning and had a warmth and openness in the direct address to welcome the audience into his world.
All the actors possessed a focus and conviction to deliver the story. They were honest and direct; engaging and funny. They understood the story and its importance enough to know when to pull back from the comedy. By the end of the piece we felt as though we had been with Tom on his journey of discovery and the effect was genuinely moving.
There is really only one small point. I think the decision to play Tight with a broad cockney accent led the actor towards exaggerated characterisation and movement. I would suggest playing Tight with only a suggested London accent or simply in the actor’s normal speaking voice.
Overall, however, the performances were incredibly well judged. I think the performers possess a maturity beyond their years. They were incredibly supportive of each other and revealed in the discussion that followed the performance a deep engagement with the issues of the piece and an eloquence to express this.


The set was fairly simple; the school hall had black cloths hung in space to create a performance area. At the beginning various household objects had been placed about the space. Later a bench, framed by railings, was brought on to represent the Tunstall Estate. This simplicity allowed for swift transitions to be made. The lighting and costumes were kept similarly simple.
The music for the piece had been composed, and was played on piano, by Yui Suzuki. Yui's composition was fantastic; whether in the songs - which adeptly incorporated the set lyrics - or the underscoring, the music always felt instep with the production.


The audience were diverse in age and the production was enthusiastically received. It was clear from the comments I overheard afterwards that the audience had been impressed by how the company had tackled difficult themes. The audience were clearly moved by the company's performance.


Everything appeared in order.


Monday, 21 January 2008


SMYT is taking part in New Connections, one of the world’s largest celebrations of youth theatre. NEW CONNECTIONS, produced by the National Theatre and supported by Bank of America, commissions new plays for and about young people from some of the best contemporary playwrights, for performance by schools and youth theatres from all over the UK and Ireland, both in their home venues and at regional partnership theatres.

Director Steve Archdale took part in the training weekend which launched New Connections at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. He met and took part in workshops with Jack Thorne, the writer of Burying Your Brother in the Pavement, which he has chosen from the ten plays on offer this year. SMYT will be performing it at Garforth Green Lane Primary School on Thursday 20th March and Friday 21st March, 7.30pm, then at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough on Saturday 26th April.

New Connections culminates at a celebratory Festival in July at the National Theatre in London, where an example of each play is chosen to be performed on the Olivier and Cottesloe stages.

This year the National Theatre announced a new partnership with Bank of America as supporters of New Connections, enabling the programme to involve young people outside mainstream education, such as those with special needs or young people at risk, in addition to the hundreds of schools and youth groups who regularly participate.

Nicholas Hytner, Director of the National Theatre, said: ‘Bank of America’s generous support will enable NEW CONNECTIONS to develop into an even more exciting programme. It promises to fire the imaginations and aspirations of everyone involved.’

Burying Your Brother in the Pavement by Jack Thorne
Tom’s brother is dead. He was killed by a broken bottle to the neck. This has upset a lot of people but it hasn’t upset Tom. Or, rather, it has upset him, but in ways he can’t explain. Tom really didn’t like Luke, but without him… This is a play about grief, and looking at someone that little bit more closely

Jack Thorne’s plays for stage include When You Cure Me (Bush, Radio 3’s Drama on Three, Barrow St Theatre, New York), Fanny and Faggot (Pleasance, Edinburgh, Finborough & Trafalgar Studios 2007) and Stacy (Tron, Arcola & Trafalgar Studios). His TV writing includes episodes of Skins, Shameless and The Spastic King. Jack is currently Pearson Writer-in-Residence at the Bush.

For further information, contact Steve at