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The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain was founded in 1956 by Michael Croft, in London's East End. Croft was its director - charismatic, outspoken, described by one admirer as ``sensitive, creative, generous, erudite, and loyal'' - until his death in 1986. At first it was boys only, and they came mainly from Alleyn's School, where Croft had directed the school plays. Its development into a truly national company, with remarkably high standards, is a tribute to its founder's persuasive energies and vision.

Today's director, Edward Wilson, himself a one-time member of the company, carries on the tradition, while reducing membership to a more manageable 300 instead of 500. He is also expanding the national and international touring of NYTGB plays.

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