Search for Northern Ireland's next musical theatre stars

The company which helped propel Ed Sheeran to stardom is holding auditions for young actors and musicians to kickstart their stage careers

Gulliver's Travels at the Lyric Theatre – photo by Chris Hill

The UK's leading music theatre company for young people is searching for Northern Ireland's next stars for a new production to be performed at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast this July.

Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT) has helped shape the careers of artists including Brit Award winner Ed Sheeran and Grammy Award nominee Sam Smith, and each years tours 28 cities around the UK and Ireland, inviting 300 young people to work with professional creative teams to create one of eight brand new musicals, performed in professional venues. Each participant also receives a qualification from Trinity College London, who accredit all YMT’s activities.

The company will hold special auditions on February 16 for a new musical adaptation of Tony Macauley's Paperboy at Falls Leisure Centre on the Falls Road, and Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road, where the author grew up and his 2010 memoir is set. Auditions are open to anyone between the ages of 11-21 years and no previous experience is necessary.

Meanwhile, auditions for all eight productions in YMT’s UK-wide 15th season of new musical theatre, including Paperboy, will take place at Dance Ireland, Dublin on January 21, the Playhouse Theatre, Derry~Londonderry on the February 3 and the Lyric Theatre on February 4.

The wide popularity of Paperboy has led to its success across the world; the book has been published in the UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. Macaulay is delighted that auditions for the production are to be held on the Shankill Road.

'I’m excited at the prospect of talented young people from the same community that I grew up in having an opportunity to kick start a career in the performing arts,' he said. 'I’m equally delighted that on the same day there will be auditions for Paperboy on Falls Road. I believe the arts can break down barriers and build peace and I’d love to see young people from the Shankill and Falls performing together in Paperboy.'

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Renowned director Steven Dexter and Northern Ireland choreographer Jennifer Rooney will be joined by Belfast-born, platinum-selling singer songwriter Duke Special and Derry-born stand-up comedian Andrew Doyle to bring Macaualy’s much- loved memoir to life.

Following YMT’s hugely successful 2017 musical adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels, this rich creative team will come back together again at Lyric Theatre, continuing the successful partnership of the two organisations.

Youth Music Theatre UK’s Executive Producer, Jon Bromwich, said: 'Paperboy is a flagship show of Youth Music Theatre UK’s 2018 summer season, and it’s also our 15th anniversary season, so a very special one. We are looking for strong singers, actors, dancers and musicians from Ireland who will work alongside some of the best in the industry, for the première production of this extraordinary production.'

Auditions in Ireland for all YMT shows in UK-wide season

  • 21st January 2018, 11am-4pm, Dance Ireland, Dublin

  • 3rd February 2018, 11am-4pm, The Playhouse Theatre, Derry/Londonderry

  • 4th February 2018, 10am-1pm & 2pm-5pm, Lyric Theatre Belfast

Auditions for Paperboy only

∙ 16th February 2018, 10am-2pm, The Spectrum Centre, Shankill Road, Belfast

∙ 16th February 2018, 3pm-7pm, Falls Leisure Centre (Dance Studio), Falls Road, Belfast

Performer Auditions can be booked online: www.youthmusictheatreuk.org/auditions or over the phone 020 8563 7725. Musician Auditions can be booked over the phone 020 8563 7725 or by emailing hannahkipling@ymtuk.org.