With immense pride, huge excitement and sheer delight, Best’s production of The Boy Preference appeared on the stage of the National Theatre on 2 July 2015.

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Nearly 300 groups across the UK took part in the programme and we were one of 10 companies asked to transfer to the National Theatre. This was a huge honour for our youth theatre group, TheBYTE, and followed successful assessed performances at The Maltings and at the Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton.

For those of you  who came to see the show at The Maltings, this might have come as no surprise – the show was stunning.

We couldn’t be more proud of our amazing, talented bunch of young people. They worked so hard to create this eerie piece and it’s been a real team effort throughout. They deserved this opportunity of a lifetime to perform on the UK’s premier stage. And they knocked the audience’s socks off!

The majority of the cast have been with Best for many years, most of them now attending Best School of Acting. The quality of their work validates entirely the nurturing process that we strongly believe in at Best – stick with us and you can do wonderful things!

We are recruiting a new group for TheBYTE to start in September – these will be from school years 7, 8 and 9 (ages 11-14) and it gives further stretch and performance opportunities for Best students (and it’s half price too!) – do let us know if your child would like to come along and give it a go. Numbers are strictly limited and the current group has proven that once the group is together, it very rarely loses people so this new small group will carry a lot of Best’s performance ambition in the next few years.


July 2014

  • Best’s application to take part in the National Theatre Connections programme is accepted

August 2014

  • We choose The Boy Preference by Elinor Cook from 10 plays on offer through the programme

October 2014

  • David attends workshop at the NT with playwright Elinor Cook and the other directors of the play.
  • Rehearsals begin at the Maltings
  • David also attends an exhibition by artist Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy – this will have a major influence on the show
  • Emily agrees to co-direct
  • Alex agrees to write and perform the soundscape live
  • Jack comes on board as lighting director

November 2014

  • David has a sneaking suspicion that this play is going to be something special…
  • A huge bag of dried sunflowers is rescued from the wilds of Lincolnshire

January 2015

  • Rehearsals accelerate.

March 2015

  • Our home performance at The Maltings Arts Theatre are greeted with huge enthusiasm and praise
  • The notes from the National Theatre assessor include words like ‘brilliant’, ‘inspired’, ‘huge impact’

May 2015

  • The play transfers to the Underground Studio at the Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton
  • The cast enjoy a day of workshops
  • The performance has a brilliant reception
  • At the curtain, David speaks to someone he eventually finds out is a ‘VIP’ from the National. The first thoughts that the play might actually get selected start to surface…
  • After a horrendous two-week wait for the phone to ring… it does! The news it greeted with huge celebration by the cast.
  • David, Jack and Annette go to the National to meet the production team – around 30 of them!

June 2015

  • Associate Director Dan Bird arrives to help the play ‘upscale’ for the National
  • Preview runs booked for the Malitngs on 30th June, and the High School for 24th June
  • Play sells out the Dorfman Theatre!

2 July 2015

  • The Boy Preference appears on the Dorfman Theatre stage to a sell-out audience

From 3 months to 5 years,
a fabulous introduction to performance

Acting, singing, dancing, fun and friendship
for ages 6 to adult

Technique, stagecraft, confidence & performance
for ages 8 to adult

Skills in front and behind the lens
for ages 11 upwards