Matt Smith has been made patron of the National Youth Theatre, it was announced today.
He joined the NYT in 2002 and during his time there was lauded for his portrayal of Archbishop Thomas Becket in T S Eliot’s Murder In The Cathedral, as well as that of Fagotto (Bassoon) in an adaptation by David Rudkin of The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov.
Visiting the NYT while a 140-strong cast rehearsed their Olympics and Paralympics team welcome ceremonies,Smith told how being part of the NYT had transformed his life:
I think from my experience the thing about the NYT is that you learn through practice. You’re out there on a stage, you’re doing a play, you’re being directed, you’re turning up for rehearsals every day and working as you would work in a professional rehearsal room. It completely transformed my life. No understatement. I’m proud to be part of it still and proud to be the organisation’s newest patron, as I care very deeply about it.
He also spoke of his own Olympics involvement, having carried the flame in Cardiff in May:
It was an honour to be a torchbearer and carry the Olympic flame in Cardiff, and it’s a wonderful thing that the National Youth Theatre will be representing Great Britain and welcoming the world to London with the team welcome ceremonies. I’ve just met the NYT cast and the levels of enthusiasm and commitment was nothing short of inspiring. I think it’s a great day for the National Youth Theatre and I know that they’ll deliver something of the highest and most professional quality, because that’s what they do.
Paul Roseby, the NYT’s artistic director and chief executive, who knew Smith when he was at the NYT, said:
We’re all thrilled at the National Youth Theatre to announce that Matt Smith is the latest recruit to our illustrious list of patrons, as we get ready for our Olympic and Paralympic performances. Matt is a perfect role model for the latest generation of brave new talent. Raw, fearless, and a passion for theatre is something that doesn’t just sum up our company but also the wonderful Matt Smith. As we continue to operate in challenging economic times, like everyone in the arts, it’s always good to have a Doctor in the house.
Smith is no stranger to patronages. Earlier this year, he was made patron of the Young Writers’ Festival at the Royal Court Theatre in London.