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Big changes at Young Actors Company

At our In Common outdoor movie screening on Sunday 26 September, we announced major changes for the year ahead.

The weather was wonderful, the films were thrilling and the audience was huge (a sold out crowd of 250 people): our In Common outdoor film screening, in the beautiful surrounds of Canons House and Grounds, couldn’t have gone any better.

Act Three celebrates after the screenings of their films, Black Cherries and Coconut

It was an emotional day – not just due to the stirring film content…

…we also celebrated our outgoing Creative Producer, Andy Alty: in the video below, Matthew Griffiths, chair of WCTT, pays tribute to Andy.

After 10 years at the helm of WCTT’s creative output, Andy is stepping down as Creative Producer in order to focus on his new project at the Green Arts Centre in Mitcham.

We are delighted that Andy will still be working with WCTT on fundraising and grant applications, and he passes on an incredible creative legacy.

Andy has worked with over 2,000 young people during his time at WCTT, as well as with with many artists and practitioners to deliver outstanding work.

Many of the projects Andy has worked on have been huge challenges – and delivered amazing results – including a brand new musical, Grace, which engaged over 100 young people from across the borough, and 2020’s Twist!, a project that aced the stage at New Wimbledon Theatre and involved primary schoolchildren from across the borough.

Enjoying the films under a blue sky in the beautiful grounds of Canons House
Photo: Andy Barker

Other projects Andy has brought to life include Changing Minds at New Wimbledon Theatre, which raised important conversations to tackle the stigma of mental ill health for young people in the borough. Living Memory was another standout project: a cross-generational initiative that celebrated the lives of Merton people living with dementia on stage. And we will never forget the awe-inspiring Thames Tales, performed by Act Two at the Royal Albert Hall in 2019.

Andy is talented as a producer, facilitator, inspirational leader and writer. At WCTT, he brought not only his professional experience, but he also put his heart and soul into his work. Thank you, Andy, from everyone in the WCTT family, especially the young people of Merton who have been lucky enough to work with you over the past decade.

Andy in full flow at Canons House, September 26, 2021
Photo: Andy Barker

As we celebrate Andy’s work, we also welcome a new Senior Creative Director, Nataliya Kharina, who previously led our Act One group.

Nataliya is already working hard behind the scenes preparing for our new season, which lifts off on November 7, 2021.

Nataliya says: “This year we will be going back to the basics of what YAC is all about as we are finally able to return to the New Wimbledon Theatre. To celebrate this, we will be introducing a musical element into the groups through the provision of a music facilitator giving this year’s productions an inspiring new avenue to explore.

“We will also be encouraging your young people to get involved in conversations about their stage and how it is set to make a show exceptional.

“I am so excited to be working with you all and to carry on Andy’s legacy of incredible work with this year’s talented cohort of young people.”

Welcome Nataliya!

Nataliya, left, celebrates with one of our three Jack Petchey award winners, Jay (aka Mitch)

We are currently accepting applications from young people in Merton to join WCTT for our 2021-22 season. You can register, and take advantage of our earlybird booking discount, via Eventbrite.

This post was written with input from many of Andy’s colleagues including Kate McGregor and Alison Garner.