The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain (NYT) today held the fundraising event ‘An Audience with Helen Mirren’, at the Gielgud Theatre, on the set of her current hit West End show The Audience.
Dame Helen Mirren, who is Vice President of NYT, and a former NYT member, was interviewed on-stage by Paul Roseby, Artistic Director of NYT, and also answered questions from members of the NYT’s current Rep Company in the audience.
One of Helen Mirren’s earliest roles was Cleopatra in an NYT production of Antony and Cleopatra. In her career since, she has won an Academy Award and multiple Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, and most recently, the Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance as The Queen in The Audience.
Paul Roseby said in introducing Helen: “A young Helen Mirren played Cleopatra in the National Youth Theatre's production at the Old Vic in 1965. One of Cleopatra's lines is ‘I will not be triumphed over’ and I think we all agree that since then she has been a complete triumph.”
Speaking about the value of NYT, Helen Mirren said: “The thing about the National Youth Theatre is that it gives people that have no chance of drama school because of financial restrictions a wonderful real opportunity of doing proper theatre in real theatres. Without the National Youth Theatre my trajectory would have been totally different.”
When asked if there was anything she wishes she’d known when she was starting, she replied: “Yes, don't be up your own bum! I don’t know how else to put it.”
Paul Roseby was appointed Artistic Director of the NYT in 2004. He is also a former member of the NYT acting company.