More than 100 past and present members of the National Youth Music Theatre – including Amy Nuttall, Jonny Lee Miller and Richard Stilgoe – will unite for a royal charity gala in aid of the company this Sunday 9 October 2005 at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre.

Two more famous alumni will feature in one of the evening’s highlights: Little Britain’s Matt Lucas, in the guise of his character Marjorie Dawes from the popular BBC comedy programme, will announce the winner of an ebay auction of the coat worn by a 16-year-old Jude Law (pictured in costume) when he took the title role in the company’s 1989 Edinburgh Festival production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The aim of the gala, performed in the presence of HRH the Earl of Wessex, is to raise funds to secure the future of the NYMT, which has had a rocky few years financially and, at one point, looked as if it might close for good. Amongst the other stars due to take part on Sunday are Nigel Harman, Charlotte Bellamy, Sheridan Smith, Hannah Spearitt, Rae Baker, David Oyelwolo and Tom Chambers.

Extracts from NYMT shows including Pendragon, The Ragged Child, The Dreaming and Then Kissing Dance will be presented, as well as two new pieces specially commissioned for the gala and songs from Oklahoma, Guys and Dolls and Chicago. The evening will be directed by the NYMT’s founder Jeremy James Taylor, with musical direction by John Pearson and Anthony Castro.

The NYMT, which performs all over the UK and abroad, exists to give young people the opportunity to participate in all aspects of musical theatre to the highest international standard. The company started life in August 1976 in a tent pitched outside St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, where Jeremy James Taylor’s Fringe First Award-winning production The Ballad of Solomon Pavey, starring a cast of 11- to 14-year-olds, was appearing as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. Following rave reviews, the show played at the Young Vic as part of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations, and was subsequently published and televised. In 1987 HRH the Earl of Wessex became the company's president and from 1993 to 1999 Andrew Lloyd Webber was its principal supporter. New sponsorship is now being sought.

- by Caroline Ansdell