What the members really think about YAT

Tom Wright

"I first joined YAT back in 2001 as a shy and awkward teenager. Over the years, my involvement with the group transformed me. It helped me to develop skills and qualities whose utility goes far beyond the performing arts – se..." [read more]

Sally Cadle

"On Monday 6th September 1971 at the age of 17 I stood in the playground of the old Collis School alongside other similar teenagers, male and female, one or two I know but most I didn't. I can't say I was shy and lacking in..." [read more]

Eileen Baker

"When my 16-year old daughter joined Youth Action Theatre in 1983, she not only embarked on the very interesting experiences of 'theatre' and entertainment, which developed into her making the 'media' her ..." [read more]

Rob Henderson

"Today as a person with a learning disability, YAT has turned my life around for the better. When I entered through the doors at YAT nearly three ago everyone is very welcoming they have become my second family. All members..." [read more]

Mariah Gale

"Sometimes one day can change the trajectory of your whole life. I was a shy child, and one day, when I was sixteen, my father drove me to Youth Action Theatre. There were no fees and no auditions to get in and hence no elitism ..." [read more]

Joanna Leppink

"I joined YAT at 16; I was in the middle of my GCSEs at a school I hated, my parents had just told me they getting a divorce, my brother had left for university and I was trying to hold everything together a bit whilst simultaneous..." [read more]

Emma McCarthy (Hitching)

"In September 1976 when a friend suggested we go along to try out a drama workshop at YAT I was wary. Drama at my school was in pitifully short supply - it certainly wasn’t an exam option - yet it was all I really wanted..." [read more]

Divyesh Thakerar

"I joined YAT in 2003 because I saw a friend in a show and thought it was great...basically I decided that I wanted to be in something "that good"...eventually I drew in friends from university and made other life long fr..." [read more]

John Battersby

"The year - 1997. The month - a dark and damp November evening. I can still recall the moment I first walked through the doors at Collis School to be warmly welcomed into YAT. Little did I know that evening would have a h..." [read more]

Annabel Giles

"I was 16.  I'd just left boarding school and, for the first time since age 8, I was a day girl.  I didn't know anyone, and they didn't know me.  They all had enough friends, and I was seen as too posh to..." [read more]

Sam Clunas

"I haven't been part of YAT for very long, but I already feel fully involved because of the very warm welcome everyone has shown to me. As soon as we started work on 'into the woods', which was my first show with YAT..." [read more]

Mima Davey

"I joined YAT in January 2011 and I can honestly say that it changed my life! I've never found anywhere else like it; somewhere where you be yourself and feel totally accepted, where you can have fun and work on projects that w..." [read more]

Nick Butterworth

"My YAT story. I would like to add my story of my involvement in YAT along side all the others. I joined in 1988 when I was 18 and my 1st production was Our Town. I spent about 4ish years in the group and enjoyed all the time I ..." [read more]

Matthew Hilliard

"I joined YAT in the early 90s and it has been one of the most pivotal experiences in my life. It provided an incredible immersion in theatre, music, art and a broad community. Honestly, I can't bear to think of my life without..." [read more]

George Richmond-Scott

"YAT was an extremely important part of my youth and formative years. I first acted with YAT when I was 12 and they wanted someone younger than the normal age for the Roses of Eyam and the last thing I did I think was A Midsumme..." [read more]

Sarah Dowd

"I became involved with YAT in 2007 working backstage on a show and I was immediately inspired and intrigued by the group's attitude and enthusiasm. When the opportunity to co-direct came about I was nervous but excited to be w..." [read more]

Michael Bishop

"YAT has given me so much more than the opportunity to be involved in performing arts. I have found my best friends through YAT, gained experience in a number of disciplines which can be transferred to other areas of my life and gr..." [read more]

Tia Ferguson

"I joined YAT in 2010. Having just moved to the area YAT took me under their wing and made my new residence a home. The sheer confidence and passion that was instilled in me has resulted in me to excel in my social, academic a..." [read more]

Alexander Farley

"During the time of writing my UCAS statement, I decided that it would be important to join a youth theatre. My lecturer at college went to see YAT's production of Doctor Faustus and raved about how professional the show w..." [read more]

Mark Williams

"I joined YAT in 2007, and it was the most important decision I ever made. If I had not made that decision I would not have the job I have today. What could my job be? Am I an Actor in the West End? Am I a Production Mana..." [read more]

Will Franden

"YAT is an amazing organisation that has helped 100's upon thousands of young people realise their passions and dreams in the world of theatre. This organisation has positively helped grow and push forward the art of theatre in..." [read more]

Carole Sayers

"I was in a very unhappy place just before I joined YAT. I was depressed, unhappy I did not want to socialise, life was generally not good. After hearing about YAT, and going to see one of their productions, I forced myself..." [read more]

Martin Freeman

"The five years I spent at YAT prepared me for my life as a professional actor, as well as being some of the best times in my growing up. I always say that, great as my drama school was, I basically learned how to act at YAT. Th..." [read more]

Dennis Baker

"This was written in 1994. Eric Yardley embarked, some 24 years ago, on what became a consuming interest following a request from a group of youngsters (with whom he had become involved as Youth Drama Advisor to Richmond Council..." [read more]

Mary Cox

"I always knew I wanted to act, but getting the funding for a fee paying drama group was out of the question. After hearing about YAT through a friend of my mother's, the idea that it was free to attend seemed too good to ..." [read more]

Laurie Coombs

"I have so much admiration for what Eric Yardley started in the 70s for the young people of this borough, and which the current leadership of YAT is continuing. So many youngsters have benefitted from YAT that it is impossible to c..." [read more]

Annie Brett (Adam)

"Spent the best part of seven years with this group and the hardest thing that i had to do was say goodbye when i went to Uni but i will be back! YAT has been the best thing to happen in my life, great friends,great times many grea..." [read more]

Lucy Hanneghan

"I've recently joined YAT and after being involved with various drama societies and groups around the area I can honestly say that I've never felt more welcome anywhere else. YAT are like a big family and I was really ma..." [read more]

Elanor Lewis-Holmes

"I was a member of YAT from when I was just sixteen to nineteen. It literally turned my life around. I was able to develop my talents and express myself in a safe way which was not possible through any other youth activity. It stop..." [read more]

Pandora Forsyth

"I have always been involved in drama groups since I was young; drama has been my passion and I've gained so many fellow friends from it. However I wanted to go somewhere which had a professional 'feel' to it. J..." [read more]

Lynn Howes

"YAT gave me a grounding in theatre production and a hands on experience of performing to an audience - both of which were a great advantage during my training as an actor and my subsequent career. The personal support and encourag..." [read more]

Jessica Hunt

"I joined YAT in 2014 for Into The Woods. I had heard from various friends of mine to join YAT ASAP so when I turned 16, I was there! It was amazing to be part of such an incredible show and all the people are so lovely and alwa..." [read more]

Peter Gardiner

"I first attended a YAT show in 1990 when I was 19 & saw an incredibly good production of 'Our Country's Good'. It was so excellent that I wanted to investigate how I could do something as creative, imaginative &..." [read more]

Kerry-Ann Gill

"I moved to the UK from South Africa in January 2014 and very shortly after became an au pair. I had just turned 19 and had no idea what I was getting myself into... I stumbled across a flyer for YAT one day in April buried..." [read more]

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