Matt Smith surprised members of the National Youth Theatre when he visited rehearsals in London as he was named the latest patron of the world leading youth arts organisation!
The current students were putting the finishing touches to their Olympic and Paralympic welcome ceremonies when Matt, who himself was once a pupil of the NYT, surprised the 140 strong cast.
Matt, who received acclaim for his performances as Thomas Beckett in its production of Murder in the Cathedral at London’s Southwark cathedral and Basoon in The Master and Margarita at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith, told pupils how much he owed to the organisation and the impact it had on his life:
“[The NYT] completely transformed my life. No understatement. I’m proud to be a part of it still. I care very deeply about it”.
Someone who knew Smith while he was training with the theatre was the NYT’s artistic director and chief operating officer, Paul Roseby;
“Matt is a perfect role model for the latest generation of brave new talent. Raw, fearless and a passion for theatre is something that doesn’t just sum up our company but also the wonderful Matt Smith.
As we continue to operate in challenging economic times, like everyone in the arts, it’s always good to have a Doctor in the house.”
Earlier this year the organisation which has been running since 1956 and counts Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig and Sir Derek Jacobi among its many patrons, found itself in financial difficulties.
A statement issued in April said the theatre was; “operating in a challenging economic climate and currently experiencing some financial constraints”.
But thanks to support from Arts Council England and other organisations, the NYT says it is now back on track.
The NYT also announced its to change its age range for budding actors and theatre technicians from 14 – 21 to 16 – 25 in order to help young people not currently in education, employment or training get on its social inclusion programme.