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Setup by a team of volunteers in 1973, Burnley Youth Theatre’s story is its legacy and continues to inspire its entire community to express their ideas about the world around them and think towards the future.

Over the years our theatre has embraced and celebrated its unique history, whilst continuing to change, develop and innovate, remaining relevant and authentic for our community locally, regionally and nationally.

BYT was set up in 1973 and for many years was run by volunteers. In 1978, the organisation moved onto our current site, a former Quarry, and was housed in a blue wooden building known as the Quarry Theatre. We became a charity in 1996 and got our first paid Artistic Director in 1997. In 2005, after 10 years of fundraising, the current Burnley Youth Theatre building was opened. It was the first purpose built youth theatre in the UK. In 2013, the original Quarry Theatre was demolished and a new 2 studio building was built. The Moira Preston building, named after a dedicated and long standing volunteer, was opened in March 2014.

Alumni and Patrons

Burnley Youth Theatre has many alumni who have gone on to have successful careers in the creative and cultural industries including Julia Howarth (Coronation Street) and Thomas Pickles (Royal Shakespeare Company). We are proud that Burnley Youth Theatre was the foundation that they build their careers on. We also have a number of honorary patrons including theatre and television writer Joy Wilkinson and Hollywood film star Sir Ian McKellen

50th Anniversary

We are very excited to have received funding from the The National Lottery Heritage Fund to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2023 with a year-long programme of activities. Reflections and Revelations: Our People – Our Place – Our Future, Our Future, 50th Anniversary Programme will capture and tell the story of our organisation and our unique site.

We hope you can join us for the celebration!


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    Established 1973. Creatively inspiring children, young people and families to taker their next steps.