National Youth Theatre wins two building design awards and releases first look at new musical

National Youth Theatre has won two awards at the Building London Planning Awards, for the major redevelopment of its Creative Production House in north London on the Holloway Road, led by architect’s DSDHA. Also today, National Youth Theatre have released images from new musical Handel and Hendrix which was performed at This Bright Land last night at Somerset House.

NYT was awarded Best Heritage or Culture Project and The Mayor’s Award for Good Growth and judges said the following about the redevelopment: 

“NYT’s street presence has been radically improved with a new pavilion replacing a former car park, in line with NYT’s environmental policy, providing an important new presence within Holloway Road’s largely commercial streetscape. Work has been undertaken to integrate NYT and the activities therein into the street scene, the improvements to the public realm, and the fantastic spaces that have been created to allow young people to develop their talent alongside professional rehearsals.” 

“The new entrance pavilion gives the NYT a distinctive and well-considered presence in the street scene and opens the building to activities for students and the wider community. The NYT and their young people are delighted with the project and how it helps them achieve their objectives, particularly in reaching out to young disabled people through their ​“Inclusive Practice” programme.”

Flexible spaces are available throughout the building for hire including a flexible 150-seat theatre space, six rehearsal spaces, a design studio, meeting rooms and event spaces. The building regularly hosts rehearsals for major West End and touring productions alongside its weekly creative opportunities for young talent, who benefit from social value contracts that see hiring companies provide learning opportunities. The NYT’s flagship targeted social inclusion company Playing Up recently sold-out a four-night run in the new Workshop Theatre and 10 recently announced Associate Companies access the spaces for free.

Accessibility was a key driver of the redevelopment of NYT’s Creative Production House, which features step-free access throughout, induction loops, accessible toilets and a Changing Places toilet, which provides access for the thousands of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well other disabilities that severely limit mobility, who cannot use standard accessible toilets. The retro-fit approach has achieved significant whole-life carbon savings which alongside  plans for future energy monitoring were recognised by the Best Cultural Building Award at the Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards earlier this year.

This summer will see young people take part in free Backstage Training through a collaboration with Summerversity in the building and open access courses for young people aged 11-26. Hundreds of young people will also join the prestigious NYT membership through intake courses in acting, stage management, lighting, sound and scenic construction at Royal & Derngate Northampton and Rose Bruford College in Sidcup. 

Last night, National Youth Theatre members premiered songs from a new musical Handel and Hendrix at This Bright Land, a month-long summer celebration of community and culture at Somerset House, curated by NYT alumnus and fashion designer Gareth Pugh and Carson McColl.


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