National Youth Theatre
National Youth Theatre is a youth arts charity that engages thousands of young people aged 11- 30 around the UK every year.
Established in 1956 as the world’s first youth theatre, they offer young people training and opportunities in a variety of theatre related disciplines, both on the stage and behind it and produce ambitious theatrical productions in local communities and on global stages. Their alumni include internationally recognised talent such as Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kate Winslet, amongst many, many others.
National Youth Theatre came to us with a problem: Their site was outdated and no longer fit for the needs of the organisation. It was difficult to navigate for their young, digitally native audience, and the content on the site was hard to find. This presented problems during the annual auditions process when a lot of resources were needed to field questions from applicants.
The requirements on the website had expanded since the inception of the original site: What has once been a simple notice board now needed to fill a plethora of functions; sell tickets and courses, provide members with private opportunities, allow young people to audition, promote merchandise, solicit donations and hire out the premises. While the National Youth Theatre is a primarily UK based organisation, they also sought to reach an increasingly international audience for their online courses and masterclasses.
In short, they were looking for a site that better reflected the prestige of the institution, while serving their young audience’s needs better.
Safeguarding the data of NYT's members was a critical aspect of this project. It was also imperative that existing Hub subscriptions and Company memberships were also seamlessly transferred from the old site to the new one. In working with GoodCRM we found a partner that understood these challenges and collaborated with us to develop a solution that worked for all the parties involved.
Channeling Youthful Passion and Energy
We put our expertise to work in creating an accessible, mobile-first design to serve a young demographic. The work began with a full redesign that included visual branding and brand guidelines masterminded by our Head of Design. Taking inspiration from the angles of the organisation’s triangular logo and the kinetic energy of theatre, along with the architecture of the NYT’s newly redesigned main building, he created a fresh digital identity for the brand, bursting with energy and colour, while retaining readability and accessibility.
We helped the client source a new CRM provider, integrating GoodCRM to allow users to sign up for memberships, courses and make donations. Hidden behind the login, we created subscription-only members portals that would allow users to submit video auditions, access bulletins with opportunities and information, and manage their personal details.
As the site’s main users, young people were involved and included at every stage of the journey, from discovery and user research through to testing the finished product. Accessibility was another key consideration, and making sure users could apply to become members, and sign up for courses with minimal parental aid was of utmost importance to continue attracting and admitting as wide a range of youth as possible
The redesign was a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, the website had to be fully accessible and inclusive - simple, clear and considered. On the other hand, it also needed to be dynamic and exciting, reflecting an organisation that is youthful and brave. Our job was to ensure that our choices, while bold and exciting, would always consider the site’s users.
Made helped us transform our digital front door. The team really spent time listening to our young people like Access Acquired, our collective of young disabled members, and our youth trustees. Putting the users first has driven greater uptake to our courses and memberships programmes and given us a digital presence we can be proud of.
The end product is a site that reflects the National Youth Theatre’s users and members.
Since the site went live at the end of September 2023, early data shows that engagement on site has increased by 12%, and the time spent on site has increased by an average of 17%.
The number of users that visit more than one page has also increased by 9%.