Next Generation: talent development programme

Next Generation gives talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to explore a career in acting, directing or working backstage.

A student learns how set and prop designers work
Photo by Lucy Barriball © RSC Browse and license our images

From actors and make-up artists, to technicians and props makers, the world you see on stage at the RSC is created by a huge pool of talented people.

We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers, but recognise that young people from low-income backgrounds remain under-represented across the industry.

From the first ever RSC young company of actors, to discovering the next generation of directors, stage managers and theatre specialists, RSC Next Generation, is a unique talent development programme. It gives gifted young people from financially disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to gain experience and explore whether a career in the theatre is for them.

Programme Structure

Next Generation is made up of three strands:   

  • ACT: Up to 24 talented youngsters aged 13-18 join Next Generation to hone and develop their skills as actors.
  • DIRECT: For young people aged 18+ who demonstrate the obvious creative leadership and directing skills needed to take a play from page to stage.
  • BACKSTAGE: Continuing our successful current 'Backstage Pass' programme, each year 40-50 students aged 13-18 get the chance to discover what goes on behind the scenes to bring each production to life.

How do you apply? 

Participants in the programme are recruited from the thousands of young people who attend (or have attended) our 500+ associate and partner schools nationwide, in communities that are under-represented in the cultural industries.

FAQ Next Generation

  • Can anyone apply to be part of it?

  • What does the recruitment process involve?

  • How will you select the final participants?

  • Is it open to the whole of the UK?

  • Will they be guaranteed jobs with you at the end of it?


In 1353 Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio wrote ‘The Decameron’, a story in which a group of young people isolate themselves to escape the plague.

In 2020 members of the RSC Next Generation ACT company recorded their creative responses to the enforced ‘lockdown’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, which you can see here. 


Watch Video

Find out more about Backstage Careers

RSC Backstage Pass Google Expedition

In collaboration with Google Expeditions, we have created a virtual tour of some of the backstage areas at the RSC, which will take you on a journey behind the scenes to learn about our history, discover what’s involved in staging a full-scale production and explore some of the many careers backstage.

The RSC Backstage Pass Google Expedition enables students to step into the shoes of some of our staff RSC to find out what we do to help bring productions to life. To access the app, download Google Expeditions from Google Play and select the RSC Backstage Pass Expedition. 

Get Into Theatre

Get Into Theatre helps young people find the information and opportunities they need to pursue a successful career in theatre in the UK. From backstage to performing, training to apprenticeships, they will find up-to-date theatre careers information and advice. 

Visit Get Into Theatre to find out more.

Get into Theatre


Training the Next Generation

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