National Youth Theatre vows show must go on as debts threaten its future
Institution that trained Helen Mirren and Daniel Craig in trouble after 'overstretching itself'
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Monday 23 April 2012
Management at the National Youth Theatre (NYT), which helped kick-start the careers of stars including Daniel Craig and Dame Helen Mirren, is drawing up a rescue plan after mounting debts left the company facing the threat of closure.
The NYT will unveil an overhaul of its operations this week, potentially including job cuts and the closure of several productions. This comes after the Arts Council had to step in with an emergency £200,000 grant to allow the organisation to meet its financial obligations.
While the charitable body did not hit fundraising targets for the past financial year, the core issue was an accounting error that emerged internally several months ago. An independent auditor was brought in to examine the books and found that human error, rather than any wrongdoing, was the cause. One source close to the situation said the organisation "overstretched itself" but that it remained "an extraordinarily important organisation".
It is understood that the worst is over, and the future of the NYT is no longer under threat, but the group has been told to get its house in order. A spokeswoman for the Arts Council said the extraordinary grant was made "in recognition of the excellence of the work and the importance of the NYT both to young people and the theatre sector as a whole".
But it added that the grant "is conditional on changes to its operation to make it more financially sustainable".
Staff face an anxious wait to see which services and jobs come under threat. The NYT plans to release a statement on Friday updating its plans and it is understood that so far no decision has been made on jobs.
The error in the accounts led the organisation to overspend during the year, according to reports, and along with the general economic climate and the funding shortfall, left it with debts of £650,000.
A spokesman for the NYT declined to comment on the accounting error, or the specific state of the finances. He said only that the group "is operating in a challenging economic climate and is currently experiencing some financial constraints. The board and management are working closely with NYT's major funders, including Arts Council England, to resolve these issues." He added: "The board and management hope to quickly find solutions which will ensure the long-term sustainability of the organisation."
This is an early test for Dawn Airey, the former head of Channel 5 who replaced Bill Kallaway as chair of the NYT in January.
The NYT was set up in 1956 by Michael Croft and Kenneth Spring. Alumni include Orlando Bloom, Daniel Day-Lewis, Rosamund Pike and Romola Garai.
National Youth Theatre: The star pupils
The James Bond star started out at the National Youth Theatre when he was 16. He says it was a step in the right direction and "got me more serious" about acting.
The Oscar and Bafta winning Day-Lewis joined the NYT in 1973, and was cast in a production of The Children's Crusade, but left shortly after.
The Oscar-winning actress began her career playing Cleopatra in the NYT's production in 1965 when she was 20.
The most recent incarnation of Doctor Who joined the NYT after an injury curtailed a career in football. At the NYT he played Thomas Becket in Murder in the Cathedral.
While she would later become famous as a broadcaster reporting from conflict zones, Adie was at the NYT in the same season as Helen Mirren.
Labour's MP for Rhondda performed at the NYT regularly as a teenager and said it was one of the things that changed him. He remains an associate of the organisation.
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Seinfeld is laughing all the way to the bank: TV show generates $3.1bn in repeat fees since final episode
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Justin Kelly interview: On James Franco playing a gay man who renounces his homosexuality
Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East