National Youth Theatre

Being a member of the cast of the National Youth Theatre is like joining a family. We’ve all became so close within a matter of days and since then have spent every possible moment together. It really is fantastic because we all share the same passion for theatre and making something that is truly ‘of’ us.

Clodagh Duggan, County Wexford Youth Theatre

Auditions Now Open for National Youth Theatre Ensemble 2020/21



Youth Theatre Ireland are currently recruiting 20 young people to be members of the National Youth Theatre for 12 months from Autumn 2020. Members of the NYT Ensemble will work together to develop as a company under the guidance of a professional creative team led by Artistic Director, Veronica Coburn.


The National Youth Theatre from Youth Theatre Ireland on Vimeo.




Olwyn O'Donoghue Patterson captures her year as a National Youth Theatre Ensemble Memebr 2018-19

About NYT

The National Youth Theatre (NYT) is an ensemble production created with a cast of young people from youth theatres across Ireland. The young people work with professional artistic and technical teams over a four-week period, culminating in performance in a major theatre venue.

From 2018 ,we went in a brand new direction for the much-loved National Youth Theatre. Following auditions, the NYT Ensemble  now work together across 12 months to develop as a company under the guidance of Artistic Director Veronica Coburn.The NYT Ensemble work for an extended period from autumn , through the spring of the following year, culminating with full time rehearsals and performance  that summer.

We are now currently recruiting the National Youth Theatre Ensemble for 2020/21. Apply here.

We are pleased to deliver the extended National Youth Theatre programme in partnership with the Abbey Theatre with further support from Creative Ireland and the National Creativity Fund.

NYT is an opportunity to showcase the artistic talent and professionalism of young people, and secures the place of youth drama on the main-stage in Ireland.

First produced in 1983, the National Youth Theatre has had many incarnations; it has been performed at the National Theatre; it has toured; it has been one of the earliest experiences of actors including Aidan Gillen, Cathy Belton, Risteard Cooper and Roxanna Nic Liam; and it has been directed by some of Ireland’s finest theatre directors including Jimmy Fay and Conall Morrison.

Throughout, NYT has always been a life-enhancing experience for the young people involved. It is also Youth Theatre Ireland's opportunity to showcase all that is great about youth theatre.


NYT Participants

NYT participants must be:

  • In membership of a youth theatre affiliated to Youth Theatre Ireland
  • Aged 16–21
  • Experienced in youth theatre. The National Youth Theatre is a very challenging experience both onstage and off. Strong individual and ensemble performance skills are essential as is the ability to cope with living with peers away from home for a month.

The NYT Process

Step 1—Auditions

Youth Theatre Ireland holds open auditions for young people from youth theatres affiliated to Youth Theatre Ireland. The young people must be aged over 16 years of age.

The first round of auditions take place in regional centres and take the form of a workshop rather than a traditional ‘audition’ format. Approximately 40 people are invited to return for a second round of auditions where there is a greater focus on traditional casting.

Step 2—Company Residential & Development Week

The NYT Ensemble will participate in a five-day residential in Dublin from 26th – 30th October 2020. This will be an opportunity for the full NYT Ensemble, director, playwright and team to get to know each other. 

The NYT Ensemble will meet again for a development week from the 15th – 20th February 2021 in Dublin.  During this week the ensemble members will have the opportunity for skills development as well as working with the professional creative team to begin work on the NYT production. Design and Technical Theatre ensemble members will begin to work more directly on these aspects under the guidance of an assigned mentor.

In addition there will be two skills days between April and June 2021, dates TBC

Step 3—Rehearsals

The NYT Ensemble then come together for an intensive four week rehearsal and creation period on a full-time residential basis in Dublin. 

In Summer 2021, the ensemble members will work, live and play together over the following dates:
Week 1 Sunday 25 July to Friday 30 July 2021
Week 2 Sunday 1 August to Friday 6 August 2021
Week 3 Sunday 8 August to Friday 13 August 2021
Week 4 Sunday 15 August to Sunday 22 August 2021

Step 4—Performance!

The final stage of the National Youth Theatre journey is a production/ performance week where the Ensemble will present a professional production of a new contemporary play that has been commissioned especially for the National Youth Theatre. For NYT 2021 the show will run for seven performances on the Peacock stage at the Abbey Theatre.

National Youth Theatre Productions

By Common Consent by Paul Thompson, Directed by Paddy O’Dwyer

Our Town by Thornton Wilder, Directed by Ben Barnes

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, Directed by Andy Hinds

Young Europeans by Gerard Stembridge, Directed by Gerard Stembridge

The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Directed by Ben Barnes

Parents (devised), Directed by Tommy McArdle and Richie Ball

Celebration by John McArdle, Directed by Ray Yeates

Strawberries in December by Antoine O’Flathartha, Directed by Brian Brady

The Old Lady Says No! by Dennis Johnston, Directed by John White

The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht (adapted by Frank MCGuinness), Directed by Gyorgy Vidovszky

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, Directed by Gyorgy Vidovszky

The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, in a version by Martin Crimp, Directed by Wayne Jordan

A Dream Play by August Strindberg, in a version by Caryl Churchill, Directed by Jimmy Fay

It Only Ever Happens In The Movies, devised by Mikel Murfi, John Taite and the cast of NYT2011, Directed by Mikel Murfi

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, adapted and directed by Conall Morrison

Salt Mountain by Carmel Winters, directed by Jo Mangan

R.U.R. - Rossum’s Universal Robots by Karel Čapek, directed by Cáitriona McLaughlin

Ask Too Much Of Me by Dylan Coburn Gray, directed by Veronica Coburn



National Youth Theatre Video  Archive 



NYT Ireland Montage 

Highligts from NYT productions from 2007- 2011


NYT 2010 Coming Soon—2009

Some highlights from NYT production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to whet your appetite for 2010!


NYT 2007–2009

Some highlights from NYT ’07.

Banner Photo: Ros Kavanagh

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18 January