Glasgow Evening Times - Dec. 2001

Scottish Youth Theatre 

For 25 glittering years, Scottish Youth Theatre has been the launch pad for Scotland's stars of the future. Our national arts company for young people has also, more importantly, helped tens of thousands of children and teenagers develop their skills and talents, build up confidence and self-esteem, and have fun in the process. 

As it gets ready to kick off a year of silver anniversary celebrations in December, SYT is looking back to the famous names who came through its doors - Taggart actress Blythe Duff, Coronation Street star Jacqueline Pirie, and presenters Kaye Adams and Kirsty Young - with a reunion ceilidh on Saturday, December 1. Former pupils Harry Potter star Sean Biggerstaff and Bond villian Alan Cumming are hoping to attend also. All proceeds will go to the Ian Bannen Bursary Fund, which has been established in memory of SYT's late patron to enable young, financially disadvantages Scots to participate in the company's annual flagship event, the Summer Festival. 

Biggerstaff, who got his big break with the role of Quidditch team captain Oliver Wood in this year's biggest and most talked about movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, says he owes his current success to the theatre. The youngster said: "I started going to a local drama group in Maryhill when I was about seven and I joined SYT when I was 11. "It's like chaos theory, if I hadn't gone to that first SYT class my life now would be unrecognisable." "What I got out of SYT was seven years of working in the theatre pretty much non-stop. So now, I have ten years of acting experience. That in itself is priceless in terms of a learning." 

Through SYT Sean was introduced to important industry figures, which was crucial to him landing a part in the film adaptation of JK Rowling's hit novel. He said: "If I hadn't met Alan Rickman, I wouldn't have got the part in The Winter Guest, and if it wasn't for that I wouldn't be doing Harry Potter - God knows where I would be!" Sean would recommend joining the theatre to any young person determined to pursue a career on stage or screen. "Absolutely," he said. "Of course, you can't guarantee that everyone is going to be as lucky as I have been. There are thousands of kids going through SYT and I'm the only one in Harry Potter. But it's a fantastic place to go."