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Shaping Lives of Young Performers

Shaping Lives of Young Performers

A few months ago our reviewer, Susan Elkin, published a review on Fight Like a Girl, a powerful new musical about female boxing produced by British Youth Music Theatre and performed by forty young BYMT participants at Mountview’s brand-new theatre. Among others, Susan remarked on the performance of Edan Glennie: “Edan is strong as Lukey, a decent lad who excels at boxing, refuses to join in collective bullying and eventually becomes a sort of boyfriend to Shannon. His is a very rounded character and Glennie conveys that well.”

For Edan, 19, from Aberdeen Fight Like a Girl became his fourth BYMT project. As he said: “When I received the role as Lukey I was surprised. He was a junior weight boxer and I had no experience in boxing. So a month before the rehearsals I did bodybuilding three times a week to gain a believable physical appearance.

“The reason why I enjoy BYMT so much is because acting provides that escape from life; that adrenaline that gets the blood rushing. So many other talented actors, directors and composers I get to meet and work with plus the chance to make people smile, cry, laugh or jaw-drop in awe of what they’re experiencing during a performance. Acting is something I am aiming for in a professional career.”

Edan’s life hasn’t been easy during his school time: “My disability is Specific Language Impairment. It really affected me. I couldn’t speak and I struggled understanding people when they spoke. This made my life in school very difficult and quite miserable despite the happy face I would put on.” However, as he participated in BYMT’s project and many other youth theatres and companies, he managed to overcome this obstacle: “I’m currently studying Musical Theatre at the MGA Stage Academy in Edinburgh and it’s going very well. I’m learning so much and making many good memories and friends along the way.”

Since 2003 BYMT has trained and nurtured over 8,000 young people, many of whom have successfully entered the creative industries including Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Lauren Samuels, Charlotte Ritchie and many more. Many of their alumni are currently starring in West End shows.

Alex Hammond, BYMT alumnus whose credits include Motown The Musical and Matilda, talks about his BYMT experience: “I cannot recommend BYMT highly enough! It was a really special and unique experience. The people that I met and the work that we created was so inspiring that it proved to be the springboard that made me realise that I wanted to train to become a professional performer. Over the course of three BYMT projects I made many friends for life, learnt a huge amount about myself and was provided with a foundation for all further training that I have gone on to that has led me into wonderful world of the performing arts.”

In February 2020 BYMT is going to nineteen cities across the UK and Ireland looking for young people passionate about musical theatre for their next summer season of musical theatre. Their national auditions are now open for booking.