Back to blog

From Nepo Babies to Netflix: Our rising stars’ thoughts on the future of the performing arts

Priya Patel
15 September 2023
From Nepo Babies to Netflix: Our rising stars’ thoughts on the future of the performing arts

With schools back in session, and the worrying news that performing arts A-level entries dropped by 19% for the coming year, the future of the sector is on our minds. And who better to give their hot takes on the subject than the young people who will shape the sector in years to come? In our latest podcast we spoke to three early-career performers, rising stars Chloe Wright, Lizzie Austin and Elias Prosser, about what lies ahead for the performing arts: challenges, worries - but also hopes. Here are some of their thoughts: 

👶"Nepo Babies" are a thing

Our rising stars all 100% agreed on the importance of going to drama school to break into the industry and get an agent - and the idea of the “nepo-baby” idea is real and present in the minds of our young performers. Unsurprising, then, that a recent Netflix and National Youth Theatre survey of 3,000 young people across the U.K. found that 79% of young people believed that connections were key to a successful career


👑Netflix is king

According to our Chloe, Lizzie and Elias “everything’s going towards Netflix.” The power of streaming service is evident, if the ongoing actors and writers strikes in the US are anything to go by, but our young people also feel that it is also where careers start. Perhaps not surprising, when you consider the multitude of shows from recent years which have made young actors household names: think Stranger Things, Bridgerton, or Heartstopper- we could go on! 

🤔It’s hard to find roles as a teenager 

Our performers all agree on the challenges of being a young actor when many teen roles are fulfilled by older professionals. In 2020, The Ringer pulled out some pretty interesting stats on teen movie actors, showing that the average age of actors playing teens is 21 or 22. This is also the case with stage roles - our interviewees mention the current 20-something cast of high-school based musical Heathers, for example. Our interviewees feel that there are just less roles out there for teens, and these are difficult to land unless you have experience, have an agent, or are over 18 for contract purposes. 

📱Our attention spans are affecting our theatre attendance 

Our interviewees feel like young people don’t really want to go to the theatre any more - and they might be right, with, only 53.5% of 11-15 year olds participating in theatre and drama activities in 2019/20 compared to 71.55% in 2013/14.  They attribute this to a lack of attention span and “TikTok brain”, with scientists showing that the addictive properties of short-form video is leading to a narrowing of our attention spans

🎭The industry is still as competitive as ever- but drama schools prepare you for this.

Even before they’re auditioning for professional roles, competition is high for shows at college and when seeking a place at drama school - and it can get stressful, especially when going up against your friends. That being said, our rising stars feel that their time at a performing arts college has really allowed them to understand the competitive nature of the industry and build their stamina and self worth, giving them the tools they need to deal with rejection and negative feedback. As Elias concludes: “You just have to try and be the best you can, and not give up”. 

Discover more of our young performers’ thoughts, plus their advice for others hoping to break into the industry, in our latest podcast, which you can catch on your favourite platform.

The Arts & Everything in Between Podcast

Join us every two weeks as we interview arts industry experts getting their take on the biggest issues facing the arts world today. Featuring  ideas to try, practical tips, lots of learning and of course – lots of laughs. If you work in theatres, venues, festivals or the arts and cultural sector this podcast is what you need!

Check out the podcast

Huge thanks to Chloe, Lizzie and Elias for sharing their thoughts!

Back to blog


View More

Sign up for regular updates