40 Years ~ Where Did They Go?

In 1975, members of Thornbury Arts Festival Committee came up with the novel idea of including a dramatic performance by youngsters as a regular feature of the annual Arts Festival, so the Northavon School of Drama was established and those aged 6 to 16 years were invited to audition to join the School, where they were given guidance and tuition in Dance, Singing and Acting, culminating in a musical production, under the banner of the Northavon Children’s Theatre Company, funded and staged annually at Easter by TAF.

With Jenny Davies as the first Principal of the School, 1976 saw its inaugural production of The Fantastic Mr Fox, bringing author Roald Dahl to Thornbury!

But when career promotion for Jenny’s husband and a move to Cornwall intervened, her place was filled by Linda Evans, a local Drama teacher and trained actress. Shows such as Beauty and the Beast, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Toad of Toad Hall were very successful, but following the 1982 production of The Wizard of Oz, Linda decided to make the Northavon School of Drama and its productions completely independent of Thornbury Arts Festival, so the community Drama School, one of the very first of its kind in the South-West and even the United Kingdom, began a new chapter, with keen amateur performer and teacher of English & Drama: Lyn Bedford joining Linda as Choreographer and Assistant.

1986 saw another change, with Linda stepping down and Lyn taking on the rôles of Principal and Director, changing the age range to 11 to 18 years and the performance name to the Northavon Youth Theatre Company, offering tuition in all theatrical areas, while endorsing ‘life skills’ such as team building, development of confidence and concentration, plus opportunities to perform in Musicals, Showcases and Concerts in the community. Lyn is proud to offer “Drama Without Discrimination” to young people from many different backgrounds and often to those with physical and emotional problems, but all are welcome, with the emphasis on friendship and fun!

40 years, 47 productions, (such as ‘Carousel’, ‘Miss Saigon’, ‘Anything Goes’ & ‘Les Misérables’), and 12 theatrical awards later, from March 23 to 26, Thornbury’s Armstrong Hall will stage NYTC’s 40th Anniversary show, the 1920s riotous romp: Thoroughly Modern Millie, so why not join us in celebrating one of Thornbury’s proudest achievements?


For a history of NYTC’s productions please visit "Our Shows" section by clicking the menu item at the top of the page.