Erasmus McKenna performs in the Blue RoadThree young people from Dundee Rep’s Youth Theatre have chosen to turn their love for the arts into a career, with two due to begin studying Directing and Costume Design at university and one securing employment with the theatre.

Erasmus Mackenna (17) from Grove Academy is the youngest student to ever be accepted by Amsterdam University of the Arts to study Directing. He will be one of only five students in his class when he starts this month.

Erasmus credits his time in the Youth Theatre for giving him the confidence to progress onto further study.

He said: “The joy of Youth Theatre is that the drama space is safe and free enough to let you experiment - it gives you the security to get things wrong and fix them.

“I've learned so much about process and working collectively through Dundee Rep’s Youth Theatre and I'm sure that will stay with me forever - it is perhaps the greatest tool in theatre."

Former Carnoustie High School student Maisie Paterson (18) will also embark in further education in the arts this month, having secured a place on the Costume Design course at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Maisie developed her interest in costume design during a work placement as part of Dundee Rep’s Enterprise initiative which encourages young people to experience the vast number of jobs available within the theatre.

Maisie Dundee Rep
Maisie Paterson performs in 'The Blue Road'

Maisie participated in an extended placement in the costume department during the run of the Rep’s award-winning production of The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil.

She said: “I developed garments but also got to experience the high-pressure atmosphere of the theatre which I would never have been aware of otherwise. My experiences and support at The Rep have encouraged my decision to follow my passion.”

Nate Lamb Dundee RepHaving studied Technical Theatre at Dundee College, Nate Lamb (22) is now Dundee Rep’s Deputy LX, and is responsible for managing the lighting for the productions he once performed in with the Youth Theatre.

He said: “I remember being amazed that people actually worked in theatre for a living and it wasn’t just something they did as a hobby. My school’s career councillor knew very little about working in the arts so if it wasn’t for the team at Dundee Rep, I wouldn’t have known about the opportunities available.

“Youth Theatre is such an important way of introducing children and young people into the arts and making sure they know careers in the industry are possible.”

The young people’s success has been a huge source of pride for the Rep Creative Learning (RCL) team which is Scotland’s largest theatre based creative learning department, working with an average of 27,000 people each year.

RCL engages with people of all ages and abilities through a diverse, inspiring and accessible range of theatre based participation, performance and learning opportunities within and outwith the theatre.

Dundee Rep’s Participation and Young Artists Associate, Lisa Williamson said: “We are immensely proud of all the participants who engage with our department and it’s wonderful to see so many of them go into higher education to pursue careers in theatre.

“We want Dundee Rep to feel like a welcoming building for young people, somewhere with resources that they can tap into and gain relevant experiences for their future careers.

“It is really exciting to know that Dundee Rep has acted as a springboard for the next generation of Scottish theatre artists. We can’t wait to see how their careers develop.”

This month, Dundee Rep’s 8-10’s Youth Theatre will begin a collaboration with Dundee based independent dance company Joan Clevillé Dance, working to create a production based on The North which visits Dundee Rep on Saturday, September 30.

Friends and family will be given a special performance of the young performers’ take on this bleak yet whimsical story of a young man’s journey in search for meaning in an unpredictable environment at The Rep this winter.