Theatre set to give athletes warm welcome

ATHLETES taking part in this year's Commonwealth Games will be greeted by a cast of 60 performers when they arrive in Glasgow.

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Performers will greet athletes when they arrive for the Games
Performers will greet athletes when they arrive for the Games

Members of the National Youth Theatre, who are all aged between 15 and 25, will give competitors their first taste of what to expect during their stay in the city.

They will responsible for performing at the opening of the Athletes' Village and at ceremonies to bid the sportsmen and women farewell.

A number of members of the National Youth Theatre are part of Now Your Turn which is an outreach ­programme based in Easterhouse

It offers free weekly workshops and intensive holiday courses to local, disadvantaged young talent.

Paul Roseby, artistic ­director of the youth theatre, said the opening and farewell ceremonies will be inspired by a modern Glasgow with its inspirational culture.

He added: "It is fitting that the best of young British talent has been chosen to welcome athletes from around the world as they step off the plane and get their first impression of the Games.

"We will be staging youthful and inventive ceremonies full of spectacle and style that capture the spirt of Glasgow and we'll get the party started."

The National Youth Theatre also created the welcome ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

They were described by Tony Hall, the BBC's director general and chairman of the Cultural Olympiad, as the highlight of his Games.The NYT performances were also billed as "Shakespeare meets Glastonbury meets the best of British Art."

Members of the organisation also sang the National Anthem at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the Bird's Nest Stadium.

Jim Miller, head of Glasgow 2014 cultural programme, said: "The National Youth Theatre is working with young people from Easterhouse to deliver innovative and exciting ceremonies which will not only represent the spirt of Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games but will be an unforgettable experience for all those who take part."

The NYT was founded in 1956 as the first youth theatre in the world and works with thousands of young people each year staging work in London's West End, across the UK and around the world.

Stars who started their ­careers at the NYT include Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig and Scottish actress Ashley Jensen, who starred in Extras with Ricky Gervais.

Laurie Sampson, the ­artistic director of the ­National Theatre of Scotland, also trained with the National Youth Theatre.

vivienne.nicoll@eveningtimes.co.uk

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