WHERE IT ALL STARTED
EYT was founded in 1999 by Lynne Vaughan and Mike Cockburn as TIE, which stood for "Theatre In English / Theatre In Education". It initially had eight students, and classes took place in the Espace Théâtral Scarabaeus in Schaerbeek, Brussels. Now, more than 20 years later, EYT has over 200 students spread over five teaching locations, teaches theatre in multiple international schools, and caters to hundreds of children and teenagers every year as Belgium's biggest LAMDA exam centre.
EYT (then called TIE) at the Warehouse Theatre, c. 2000
WHY TAKE PART IN YOUTH THEATRE?
Youth theatre gives you more than just performance skills. Anyone who has ever had to speak at a conference, address a crowded room of their coworkers, face an important job interview or even just learn to adapt to a new environment will attest to that!
Taking part in youth theatre helps young people build their confidence, learn to express themselves, make new friends and come out of their shells!
THE ORIGINAL ENGLISH YOUTH THEATRE GROUP
When EYT arrived in Brussels back in 1999, there was no such thing as English-speaking youth theatre in Belgium. Young people's only options were to join French- or Dutch-language youth theatre groups or audition for the few parts available to them in the English amateur-dramatics groups. For more than 20 years, EYT has made youth theatre available all over Belgium, and influenced a radical change in Brussels' English theatre landscape.
RECOGNIZED AND RESPECTED
EYT is a member of the National Association of Youth Theatres, and is the first and only youth theatre in Brussels to be recognised by the international association. EYT is also the only youth theatre group to be regularly invited to take part in FEATS, a Europe-wide amateur theatre festival, and has won several awards at the competition while competing with adult groups.
EXPERIENCED AND QUALIFIED
All of our teachers are trained and qualified in the field of drama, and all have professional credits in the worlds of theatre, TV or film. Our founder, Lynne Vaughan, has run several professional theatres in the UK, and the teachers' credits include working on professional shows in the West End, professional film sets and TV companies. The teachers' training includes accreditation from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), and we constantly seek to update our skills with contemporary practice and training. Other specialist areas include costume and prop design, creative writing, film-making, editing and direction.
THE EYT TIMELINE
English Youth Theatre opens as Theatre In English / Theatre In Education (TIE) at Espace Théâtral Scarabeus in Schaerbeek. It initially has 8 students, but soon grows to have a Junior and Senior group.
TIE moves its premises to the Warehouse Theatre in Schaerbeek, and continues to grow, now adding an Intermediate group.
It's here that TIE introduces LAMDA exams as part of its curriculum.
TIE enters a play into the "Festival of European Amateur Theatre Societies" (FEATS). This is an adult festival, with TIE being the only youth theatre group.
In the lift of the theatre, Lynne overhears two women chatting, saying: "Well, we don't know what to expect from the next group, but they're only children."
The performance goes on to win 2 awards at the festival, including Best Original Script and the Adjudicator's Discretionary Award.
TIE moves again, this time for a much longer stay at the Nekkersdal Theatre in Laeken, where it remains until 2016.
With the Laeken group full to bursting, TIE opens a second group in Waterloo. Though it's slow at first, after a couple of years this group reaches 40 students and rivals the main group in Laeken.
This group is still operating today, although it has now moved to Bascule.
TIE changes its name to English Youth Theatre (EYT). At this point, it has over 100 students spread across two centres.
After a brief stay in Wemmel, EYT moves its Brussels group to GC Op-Weule in Woluwe, where it remains to this day with currently more than 90 students.
EYT opens a new Saturday group in the European Quarter, and now has 3 groups running.
During the Covid-19 crisis, we continue to operate online for Inters and Seniors (and in-person for Juniors) through a combination of Zoom classes, webinars, and extra discussions and activities.
The EYT Festival, an annual festival of youth theatre in which all of EYT's Senior groups perform, is launched. The first festival has 7 plays and over 90 Senior students performing. It's still running, with the 3rd edition in 2024 featuring 8 plays and 9 groups.
EYT's production of "Chaos" by Laura Lomas places 3rd at FEATS, becoming our joint-highest finish at the adult festival. It also racks up 4 nominations, including one for Best Actress, and gets invited to take part in the UK's All-Winners Festival.