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Photos: Blast from the past, Lucas & friends prepare for NYMT gala

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The National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) will celebrate their 35th anniversary by welcoming back some notable alumni to star alongside the 2012 Company in a special concert at the West End's Vaudeville Theatre on Sunday (22 April 2012) compered by alumni Matt Lucas.

Lucas, who first joined the NYMT in 1987 and has been a long-standing supporter of the charity, recently played Thenardier in the West End production of Les Miserables, reprising his performance from the 25th anniversary production at The O2.

Other alumni expected to join Lucas include Lara Pulver, Amy Nuttall, Gina Beck, Ian Virgo, Stuart Matthew Price and Mike Jibson. Proceeds from the concert will support the NYMT Bursary Scheme.

As this impressive bunch of former NYMT performers come together to toast 35 years of theatrical success, Whatsonstage.com have taken the chance to look back at their humble beginnings, and old family photos!

Then: Matt Lucas in Roman Invasion of Ramsbottom at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1987
Now: At the curtain call for Les Miserables' 25th anniversary at The O2. Photo credit: Dan Wooller

A young Matt Lucas performed in the NYMT’s Roman Invasion of Ramsbottom wearing an attractive fur-and-boots ensemble way back in 1987. The production premiered at the George Square Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe and won a Fringe First. As well as his recent stint in Les Miserables, Lucas has gone on to have a lucrative television and film career with Little Britain, Gavin & Stacey, Alice in Wonderland, Bridesmaids and recently, Come Fly With Me.

Then: Amy Nuttall in NYMT's 1996 production of Aurelius
Now: At the press night party for Noises Off at the Old Vic. Photo credit: Dan Wooller

Then: Nuttall in Whistle Down the Wind at the Adam Smith Centre, Kirkcaldy in 1993
Now: Starring as Sally Bowles in Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre. Photo credit: Dan Wooller

At the tender age of 14, Amy Nuttall starred in Aurelius at the Tyne Opera House in Newcastle and Whistle Down the Wind at the Adam Smith Centre, Kirkcaldy. Since then, she’s achieved the impressive feat of being the youngest actress ever to understudy and play the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera at just 17, as well as starring in My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, Cabaret and, most recently Noises Off at the Old Vic. Nuttall will be familiar to television lovers from long-running soap Emmerdale and period smash hit drama Downton Abbey.

Then: Gina Beck in the NYMT's 1999 production of The Kissing Dance
Now: Attending a media night for Wicked, in which she plays Glinda. Photo credit: Dan Wooller

Current starring as Wicked’s good witch Glinda, Gina Beck, starred in the NYMT’s The Kissing Dance when she was a teenager in the early 90s. The Kissing Dance, which was given to NYMT by Howard Goddall and Charles Hart in 1998, enjoyed success at the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe before having the honour of being the first full-length production to be staged at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio Theatre. Beck has since moved on to perform in such mega-musicals as Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and The Sound of Music.

Then: Sheridan Smith starred alongside Gina Beck in The Kissing Dance back in 1999
Now: Hosting the 2012 Whatsonstage.com Awards alongside Alan Davies & Jenny Eclair. Photo credit: Dan Wooller

Sheridan Smith also snagged a role in The Kissing Dance when she was a member of the NYMT. She has since swopped the massive wig for long blonde locks as the star of the West End’s Legally Blonde, for which she won both a Whatsonstage.com Award and an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Smith has also appeared in television programmes Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Benidorm, Jonathan Creek and Gavin & Stacey. She scooped her second Olivier in as many years for her supporting role in Trevor Nunn's Flare Path and is also the Whatsonstage.com Awards hostess-with-the-mostest.

Then: Dominic Tighe & Georgina White in NYMT's 2002 staging of Oklahoma!
Now: Tighe attends a photo call for the Open Air Theatre's The Importance of Being Earnest. Photo credit: Dan Wooller

Before Dominic Tighe performed in The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night at the Old Vic Theatre and The Importance of Being Earnest with the Open Air Theatre, he sported cowboy attire for the NYMT’s production of Oklahoma!, which premiered at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall in 2002. His co-star Georgina White went on to study at RADA, with recent credits including a capella musical Up on the Roof at the Oldham Coliseum and Forever Young at Nottingham Playhouse and the New Wolsey.

The NYMT was founded in 1976 by Jeremy James Taylor as an organisation for young people in musical theatre, and is known for staging musical classics alongside new music theatre works. Notable alumni include Jude Law, Jonny Lee Miller, Tom Chambers, Lara Pulver, Idris Elba, Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hollander and Michael Jibson.

Tickets for NYMT in Concert with Matt Lucas & Friends are available from Nimax Theatres and the Vaudeville Theatre box office.

- Catherine Noonan


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