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Welcome to Act One 2020-21

As we start a new season at the Young Actors Company, we’d like to introduce you to our 2020-21 team: up first Act One!

This season, we are delighted to announce that Act One director, Nataliya Kharina, will be joined by a new assistant director, Lerato Islam.

As the team looks ahead to a very special season, celebrating the history of Merton through a brand new project, they’d love to say ‘hello’…

Celebrating her fourth year of leadership at the Young Actors Company, Nataliya is a youth theatre director with over 10 years experience, working with young people in the UK and abroad.

Act One Director Nataliya Kharina

Nataliya trained in applied theatre at the Central School of Speech and Drama and at the International School of Corporeal Mime. Nataliya specialises in work that is inclusive and devised in collaboration with young people.

Currently, Nataliya is the artistic director of Brent Youth Theatre, as well as freelancing as a youth theatre practitioner for Haringey Shed

This season, Nataliya is looking forward to navigating an, “incredibly strange time” with the young actors, in a creative and positive way. “Creativity is the only way to get through a time like this,” she says “and what a dream it is to be able to do it with some very talented young people (if the first session is anything to go by!)”

This year, Nataliya is working with Lerato Islam, an experienced applied theatre practitioner who specialises in using drama as a tool for psychosocial support. She works with a range of young people and communities across London and globally.

Act One assistant director, Lerato Islam

Lerato uses her practice to guide participants in exploring issues that are important to them in a creative way, as well as developing their confidence, self-efficacy and communication skills. 

Lerato enjoys clowning and improv, and has worked in collaboration with the Kiln Theatre, the Arcola, Theatre Peckham and Mousetrap Theatre Projects, amongst others.

“I’m very excited about working on a project that is a little out of my comfort zone, and to explore the local history of Merton this season,” says Lerato. “I’m looking forward to preparing our performances with the group, and to work with so many inspiring young people.”

Next week: meet the brand new Act Two creative team!