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Performing Arts student spends life-changing summer at the National Youth Theatre

Image representing Performing Arts student spends life-changing summer at the National Youth Theatre
Luke Johnson

A talented Gloucestershire College performing arts student spent the summer at the National Youth Theatre, after being selected as one of 200 lucky aspiring actors out of 5,000 that auditioned for its sought-after Intake Acting Course.

18-year-old Luke Johnson, a former Dene Magna Head Boy from Mitcheldean, successfully achieved his Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts at GC’s Gloucester Campus, and described his time at NYT as "the best experience of my life so far; without a doubt life-changing”.

In August Luke ventured to the big smoke for two weeks of vocal and movement training at the world’s first youth theatre, which has built a reputation as a breeding ground for acclaimed British actors such as Daniel Craig, Orlando Bloom Helen Mirren and Colin Firth. The Intake Acting course included a clowning workshop; musical, vocal and instrumental workshop; puppetry; physical theatre; the Suzuki method and viewpoint method; and much more.

Luke said: “My time with the NYT has been the best experience of my life so far; without a doubt life-changing. The friends for life, the talented and experienced leaders, living in London, the talent, the art and creativity. It’s all too much to put into words!”

His passion for performing arts was sparked during secondary school, when it put on a production of Back to the 80s, during which he "realised the magic of performing arts, the power of story and the feeling of being able to make people feel joy”.

He said: “I didn’t have a particular thing I was good at or passionate about but I had a strong desire to create laughter; turning most assignments into presentations and mini-plays intended to make the class laugh. It was my way of fitting in. I was in awe of the feeling of being able to make an audience laugh.”

A former member of the May Hill Players and Drybrook RFC, Luke hopes to achieve a successful acting career and teach his craft in the future, and champions Gloucestershire College’s performing arts course as a great place to start.

He said: “The course at GC is special. It can be an absolute haven for your creative expression and passion for the arts. You don’t have to do A Levels ‘just in case’. If you’re serious, passionate or feel at peace in a creative-driven course, then I would recommend it.

“It’s becoming very well known in England’s acting scene, as I discovered at NYT! Its staff, their artistic philosophy and facilities enable you to truly play and push your understanding and control over your creative process. The lecturers help and encourage you to find work and training opportunities outside of college, for example, I was successful in auditioning for Frightmare last year. They want your branches to reach as far as they can while you’re at GC!

“The Taylor Theatre at Gloucester Campus is a black box of creative magic that’s pretty much been my home for two years! It’s got fantastic facilities that my friends who went to Sixth Form envy.”

Vice Principal Peter White said: “We were absolutely delighted to hear that Luke successfully secured a place at the National Youth Theatre this summer. The College was proud to support him through his audition, which was no mean feat and presented an opportunity for him to showcase the skills and confidence he gained during his time at GC.”

Luke has now completed his course at the College but he will be returning to independently run workshops representing the NYT and encouraging current performing arts students to audition for the same opportunity next year.

For more information about the GC performing arts courses visit or call Student Services on 0345 155 2020.

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