As one of our founding partners, the relationship with National Youth Theatre was not only one of the longest but also the most productive. Hey, we even shared an office for a while!
Over the last six years, National Youth Theatre and IdeasTap ran opportunities for thousands of young creative people in acting, playwriting, producing and directing and for stage, television and film and gave them access to a host of writing, film and photography talent. Together we’ve engaged over 50,000 young people in performing arts activity over eight years.
“We were brought together by our shared belief in empowering young creatives and giving them a voice,” says NYT’s Joe Duggan. “IdeasTap helped us meet the challenges of how to embrace opportunities offered by digital and networking. We brought our large national network of talented and highly engaged young people interested in performing arts. The partnership with IdeasTap also enabled us to realise the scale of ambitious projects like taking over Europe’s biggest social housing estate, Battersea Power Station and the Bank of England with hundreds of young performers.”
This sense of scale has been there from the beginning. The biggest project we ran together was S’warm, featuring a cast of 600, a team of 10 young IdeasTap filmmakers and 10 young IdeasTap photographers. The show was staged around iconic London venues like Battersea Power Station, the Bank of England and the Millennium Bridge over five days, and a film of the highlights was premiered at the Houses of Parliament. “It was the most ambitious production in the National Youth Theatre’s 60 year history,” says Joe, “but with the support of IdeasTap and the talent of its network we pulled it off.”
The opportunities, however, weren’t only aimed at performers. “We could go on for days about the way it’s helped young people through opportunities to work on screen, around in the world in China and Abu Dhabi,” says Joe. “However, to take one example, our Write to Shine programme in partnership with IdeasTap and Shine Drama has helped launch the careers of an exciting group of young writers who are all now working professionally and making waves in the industry.”
This free writing programme helped discover and launch the careers of people like the award-winning Leverhulme Playwright Luke Barnes, the Mush and Me playwright and star of Misfits Karla Crome, the successful Scottish television writer Kirstie Swain and multi-award winning film director Martin Stirling, whose Save The Children viral video won a Gold Lion at Cannes.
“The closure of IdeasTap is another damaging blow to young creatives, for whom free opportunities are scarce and the expense of training formally is increasingly daunting, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” says NYT’s Artistic Director Paul Roseby.
“Despite the success of our creative industries, talented and entrepreneurial young people looking to put on a play, make a film or hold an exhibition need financial support, expert industry advice and a network to launch their work into. Whilst some inherit all these things, for those that don’t things are becoming increasingly difficult, especially in London. The loss of IdeasTap will make this harder still, for both young disadvantaged talent and the organisations IdeasTap partnered with like NYT that seek to create opportunities for those with talent that need them most.”