This film is part of Rentals

National Youth Theatre

Inside a youth production of Coriolanus in the run-up to its West End debut

1966 29 mins

Director: John Bloom


This remarkable film takes us inside a youth production of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, from early rehearsals to opening night. By 1965, the National Youth Theatre was nearly a decade old, with a reputation to earn itself Chalk Farm's Roundhouse as a rehearsal space ("like rehearsing in a coal mine") and a West End run. This was no mere play-acting: the lucky chosen could expect months of hard work and all the pressures of any West End production, from set crises to potentially merciless critics.

Still going strong well into its second half-century, the NYT has had some illustrious alumni including, by this time, two thespian knights and a dame: Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Ben Kingsley and Dame Helen Mirren. As far as we can tell, none of them are in this company, but we did spot Elisabeth Sladen (Doctor Who's Sarah Jane Smith) and future Bond Timothy Dalton. Can you see any other future stars?