NT CONNECTIONS FESTIVAL AT THE NATIONAL THEATRE; Young theatre companies from around the UK come to the National Theatre in celebration of the 21st anniversary of largest youth theatre festival in the world

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 Young theatre companies from around the UK come to the National Theatre in celebration of the 21st anniversary of largest youth theatre festival in the world.


Connections, the largest youth theatre festival in the world celebrates 21 years of brilliant new writing for young people aged 13 – 19 by some of the UK’s most exciting playwrights with performances by 12 companies on the stages of the National Theatre from 28 June – 4 July.


The NT’s Connections festival celebrates the talent and passion of young theatre-makers. This year we mark the 21st anniversary.  450 youth theatre companies and 10,000 young people from every corner of the UK, working with 45 partner theatres, have performed twelve outstanding plays drawn from 150 commissioned by the NT since the festival began.

The result is an unforgettable feast of theatre made by and for young people.


A search for Connections alumni via a letter from NT Director Rufus Norris printed in newspapers has found a host of people from all walks of life, from journalists and teachers to celebrated stars of stage and screen, highlighting the positive impact this flagship festival had on young people and their long-term relationship with the arts. The search continues at http://shareyourconnections.nationaltheatre.org.uk


Actor John Boyega said “I was very lucky our tutor entered us for the Connections competition, which we performed at the National Theatre. That was the breakthrough for me.”


Alice King-Farlow, NT Director of Learning, says: ‘We have been thrilled and inspired by the Connections performances we have seen at festivals right across the country.  Now we look forward to welcoming 12 brilliant productions to the National’s stages, to celebrate not just this year’s programme but 21 years of ground-breaking youth theatre through National Theatre Connections.’


The National Theatre’s 45 partner theatres share the NT’s ambition to support young companies in all aspects of theatre-making and to give them the opportunity to perform on a professional stage. Throughout the year-long programme, Connections provides a wide variety of learning opportunities for young people – not just as performers, but in every aspect of staging a production. Young people can take on a variety of backstage roles, including operating lights and sound, undertaking stage management responsibilities or marketing their production.


The productions invited to appear at the NT in the final week of this year’s Festival are;


Tuesday 28 June the Dorfman Theatre

7pm – What Are They Like? by Lucinda Coxon performed by Barbara Priestman Academy (Sunderland)

8.30pm – Blackout by Davey Anderson performed by Take Part (Rhondda Valley)


Wednesday 29 June the Dorfman Theatre

7pm – Take Away by Jackie Kay performed by ACTS (Wolverhampton)

8.30pm – Musicians by Patrick Marber performed by Hall for Cornwall Youth Theatre (Truro)


Thursday 30 June the Dorfman Theatre

7pm – Bedbug by Snoo Wilson, Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt performed by Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School

8.30pm – Bassett by James Graham performed by Peploe-Williams Academy (Milton Keynes)


Friday 1 July in the Dorfman Theatre

7pm – Eclipse by Simon Armitage performed by Oldham Theatre Workshop (Oldham)

8.30pm – It Snows by Bryony Lavery, Scott Graham & Stephen Hoggett for Frantic Assembly performed by Ilex Theatre, Hollyfield School (Surbiton)


Saturday 2 July in the Dorfman Theatre

7pm – Citizenship by Mark Ravenhill performed by Hove Park School (Brighton)

8.30pm – I’m Spilling My Heart Out Here by Stacey Gregg performed by The Young Pretenders Theatre Company (Exeter)


Monday 4 July in the Olivier Theatre

7pm – Children of Killers by Katori Hall performed by See & Eye Theatre, City and Islington College (London)

8.30pm – Gargantua by Carl Grosse performed by Redbridge Youth Theatre Workshop (Essex)


An exhibition, Making Connections in the Wolfson Gallery at the NT from 13 June tells the story of Connections from its beginnings, celebrating the creation of a new repertoire for young performers and the National Theatre at its most national.


Visitors to Making Connections can read the plays, add their own memories of taking part, and watch interviews with participants, past and present.


Have you taken part in Connections?

We want your Connections stories, photos and anecdotes.

Submit them here http://shareyourconnections.nationaltheatre.org.uk


The National Theatre is dedicated to making the very best theatre and sharing it with as many people as possible. We produce productions on the South Bank in London each year, ranging from re-imagined classics to modern masterpieces and new work by contemporary writers and theatre-makers. The National’s work is seen on tour throughout the UK, in London’s West End, internationally (including on Broadway) and in collaborations and co-productions with regional theatres.

In 2014-15 the NT:

  • Staged 25 productions and gave 3,380 performances in the UK and internationally
  • Reached audiences of 4.1 million worldwide
  • Had a larger audience on tour in the UK than on the South Bank- 46% of the UK audience of 2.9 million were outside of London
  • Broadcast, via the NT Live programme, to over 2,000 cinemas in 50 countries around the world.


Opening the Clore Learning Centre in 2014 saw the NT expand programmes for schools, young people, families, community groups and adult learners. The nationwide youth theatre festival Connections and playwriting competition New Views engage thousands of young people around the country. Further, over 2000 secondary schools have signed up to the free streaming service, On Demand in Schools since its launch in September 2015.





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