The Ashford Youth Theatre (AYT) is a semi-professional theatre company based in Ashford, Kent. It was founded in spring ’83 by Daryl Brown and Stella Critchley, whose tireless commitment was recognized by the award of the MBE in 2006. Over the last 30 years, AYT has built a reputation in London and the South East.
We are passionate about the work we do and proud of the work we have done in the past. We choose plays because they are challenging, and we present them to a professional standard. Authors whose work we have performed include Shakespeare, John Ford, Moliere, Wilde, Rattigan, Anouilh, Stoppard, Pinter and most recently Patrick Marber, as well as devised pieces and plays written by AYT members.
AYT’s membership profile is unique. We started as a youth theatre and that remains our core mission, but over the years many members have been unwilling to relinquish their involvement and have remained enthusiastically involved into their 30s and 40s. This gives us a very rich pool of talent and experience which feeds through into the nature of our productions.
Many of the Youth Theatre’s alumni have gone on to achieve careers as professional actors, both on stage and on screen, with former members now working all around the world. Members of the backstage crew have also gone on to work professionally in their respective fields.
AYT’s physical home is a former coach works in the centre of Ashford; a large, flexible space providing scope for imaginative design and interesting technical opportunities.
Part of the Youth Theatre’s funding comes from providing technical support to productions by other community, theatrical and musical groups. In recent years we have developed a close working partnership with ShivaNova, a world music company which brings together musicians from Europe, Asia and Africa, and provides performance platforms for them in Kent and London.