John Thaw Trainee and Young Company member performs in FlexN Manchester as part of Manchester International Festival.

The John Thaw Trainees scheme is designed to support young people who we feel have the potential to be the theatre-makers of the future, who have shown themselves to be both talented and reliable, and who may face barriers to taking part in some aspects of our programme. The young people selected as John Thaw Trainees will receive financial, pastoral and professional support from the Theatre in order to fully achieve their potential

Here's what our current cohort are up to...

Yandass Ndlovu – is currently performing in FlexN Manchester as part of the Manchester International Festival. This is a unique transatlantic collaboration between dancers from New York and Manchester, fusing street dance with pausing, gliding, hat tricks, connecting, bone breaking and get low.

"I love being part of the festival! It's such a good experience! It feels so good having an artist pass for the festival! The show is so raw and rehearsals have been so exciting. Everyone works so differently with differently personalities and different cultures but we've been finding strong links to boost each other up and support each other.
If I hadn't been at the Royal Exchange I wouldn't have found out about this opportunity and being part of the Young Company has helped in massive ways. Also having experience as an actor and a dancer, it helps me to perform and connect to the story I am performing in the show. It's boosted my confidence to work alongside these other dancers and it's made me feel like a professional so I can appreciate everybody who is involved in making the show."


Jake Mainwaring – has just finished touring with Flicker and the Flying Books – a collaboration between the Young Company and Elders' Company as part of Manchester Children's Book Festival. The show was performed at the Royal Exchange as well as touring to Manchester Central Library and the New Vic Theatre in Stoke.

"Working on Flicker with such a diverse and unique cast made every rehearsal a pleasure and I've learnt something from every cast member, and audience! Exploring Benji's environment made me think about how my physicality could be used in new, different and exaggerated ways to embody a younger character and react to the world around him"

Justina Carmen Aina – is currently performing in The Skriker as a member of the choir.

Oscar Jones – is starting a Performing Arts course at Shena Simon at Manchester College in September.

"I really enjoyed being part of Young Company. I started off with no confidence and was very shy at first, but as time went on I felt better and better. It was good to be part of something so fun and creative. I've learnt new skills and feel more willing to have a go at new things. It feels like the Young Company has opened up another world to me".

Shaban Dar – was part of BRINK by Jackie Kay and is beginning a three year acting course at ALRA North in September.

Lizzie Lomas – is currently working on her first full length play with mentoring and support from the theatre.


Our partnership with the John Thaw Foundation enables us to offer individual training and mentoring to 6 young people from our Young Company. Since September 2012 The John Thaw Foundation has enabled us to offer creative bursaries to 18 young people.