Paul Roseby has led the world’s leading youth arts charity, the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, for 15 years.


Over this period he has facilitated over 150,000 creative educational opportunities for young people and raised or generated over £33 million of charitable income to support young British talent. He has produced over 200 productions showcasing Britain’s best young talent and commissioned over 170 new plays or adaptations, predominantly by emerging young writers including James Graham (This House) Sarah Solemani (Aphrodite Fry) and Zawe Ashton (Harm's Way). He’s also achieved record box office receipts and successfully fought to establish financial sustainability for the charity, increasing its earned income by 100% in less than five year and building a significant reserve to support future development.



As Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Youth Theatre, Paul has championed the diversity and complexity of Britain’s youth in all its forms, working tirelessly to provide access to creative opportunities for young people from social, cultural and economic backgrounds underrepresented in the arts and wider creative industries. Norfolk born, as someone who didn’t go to University but instead pursued a highly successful career as a broadcaster straight out of college, Roseby has championed alternative routes into the creative industries for those facing financial or cultural barriers preventing them entering higher education.





In 2012 Roseby launched the NYT REP Company, to provide a free alternative route into the industry for those who couldn’t afford expensive formal acting training. The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation recently said “The NYT REP Company couldn’t be a better demonstration of what can be achieved for diversity.” Over 75 young actors have benefited from this free alternative to formal training and a West End platform over the past six years and collectively it would have cost them £693k to train for a year each at a leading drama school. Over 95% of young people who have benefited from this free initiative have gone on to work professionally in the creative industries.

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During Roseby’s tenure 175 young people have graduated from NYT’s free targeted programme for young people at risk who are not in education, employment or training and often recently out of the criminal justice or care systems or struggling with addiction, homelessness or mental health issues. The NYT have also significantly grown its Bursary Fund during this time, awarding over £2million worth of support from the NYT bursaries fund to over 1,500 young people who wouldn’t have been able to engage in these creative opportunities without financial support.



Roseby has been particularly successful in discovering and nurturing young actors of colour. Over a quarter of actors who have been in the REP company over 6 years are actors of colour, including the majority of actors in the 2018 NYT REP and Playing Up companies. Actors of colour  that have come through the NYT during Roseby’s tenure include: Sope Dirisu (the first black actor to play Coriolanus at the Royal Shakespeare Company), Paapa Essiedu (the first black actor to play Hamlet at the RSC) Joan Iyiola (the first black actor to play the Duchess in The Duchess of Malfi at the RSC) Misfits star Karla Crome, Crazyhead star Susan Wokoma and both of the actors (Jamal Westman and Ash Hunter) cast as Alexander Hamilton in the UK production of the multiple Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical. 

Gender diversity is another area in which Roseby has been a pioneer in the arts sector. Over 50% of graduates from the NYT REP company are female and Roseby has commissioned more female writers than male writers and a 50/50 split of male and female directors, bucking an industry-wide trend that has seen women underrepresented. Female writers commissioned by Roseby include Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Sarah Solemani, Stella Duffy, Tanika Gupta, Zawe Ashton, Jamila Gavin, Louise Brealey, Molly Davies, Nessah Muthy and Sophie Ellerby

Also an LGBTQ+ champion, Paul was the first person to pay Britain’s leading contemporary playwright James Graham to write a play. Tory Boyz, which explored homophobic bulling in politics and schools, also went on to be Graham’s first play to be performed in the West End. Roseby has also commissioned and produced work tackling relevant social issues including knife crime prevention, female discrimination, the London riots, the Arab Spring, body image, sexual abuse and grooming.


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Being National Means Being Local

Another way that Roseby has opened up opportunities to more young people at NYT is by drastically expanding the work it does outside of London, quadrupling the number of audition venues it tours each year, to reach further around the country than any other drama school or youth arts organisation. This has been significant in breaking the perception that the organisation is elitist. In 2014 Time Out said: "Paul Roseby has a strong track record of combining newly commissioned works with classical productions, and is working hard to rid the company of any lingering reputation for being a summer camp for posh city kids: auditions and performances now take place all round the country.”

At a time when many in the creative industries are concerned about the disappearance of creativity from education, Roseby has significantly increased the charity engagement with schools, reaching over 600 school groups as audience members in the last five years alone. 



Paul has also received significant critical acclaim for directing over 20 productions on stage and screen at NYT. Credits include Story of our Youth - a Diamond Anniversary Gala, Generation Sext for Sky Arts, Relish by James Graham, When Romeo Met Juliet for BBC2, Silence by Moira Buffini and Tom Stoppard’s abridgement of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at the Royal Opera House and the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing.

He has played an instrumental role in the careers of many successful writers, nurturing their talent and providing them with their first or an early commission. These include Oscar winner Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Olivier Award nominated writer James Fritz, writer of the critically acclaimed political drama ‘This House’ James Graham, Sarah Solemani who received her first ever commission from Paul and is now a successful screen writer (The Secrets BBC, Aphrodite Fry SKY) and Zawe Ashton who received her first commissioned and now runs her own film company alongside her stage and screen success. Paul has also nurtured the talent of some of Britain’s most exciting young acting talents including Fresh Meat star Zawe Ashton, Downton Abbey’s Daisy Lewis,  Bridget Jones’ Diary star Sarah Solemani, Peaky Blinder’s Joe Cole, The Crown’s Yolanda Kettle and Dan Ings, Chewing Gum’s Susan Wokoma, Human's Sope Dirisu and Poldark’s Ellise Chappell.

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“Critics Choice - Roseby has given his big cast a well-organised chance to make the kind of event theatre young audiences relish. And it is the opposite of apathetic.”
— ★★★★ Time Out on Our Days of Rage, Old Vic Tunnels 2011
“Dark age brilliance – Roseby is at the helm for a production that should cause company-wide smiles ”
— ★★★★ Evening Standard
“Paul Roseby’s production is visually ambitious and physically inventive”
— The Telegraph on Relish by James Graham 2010
“Big heart out to National Youth Theatre at 60 – great ensemble effort”
— Dominic Cavendish
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