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National Theatre Connections Festival 2013

Theatre preview

THE NATIONAL Theatre Connections Festival, the annual festival where new plays are written for young performers, will see ten plays performed by schools and youth groups from all over the UK performing at the National Theatre from July 3 to July 8.

Over the past three months the ten plays have been premiered across the UK by 220 school and youth theatre companies in 23 leading regional theatres. Now ten companies are bringing their productions to the National’s Olivier Theatre and new venue, The Shed.


Forty-Five Minutes by Anya Reiss – July 3 at 7pm.

The deadline was wrong so now there’s forty-five minutes till the bell goes and the UCAS forms must be sent and futures secured.

Anya Reiss’ debut play Spur of the Moment, written when she was just 17, was staged at the Royal Court Theatre, where her most recent play, The Acid Test, also played.

Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy by Jonathan Harvey – July 3 at 8.30pm.

When a stranger comes to a crumbling seaside town looking for his friend Darren, he discovers that he was killed in a homophobic hate crime. As the secrets of the past come spilling out, we learn that for Darren’s group of friends, all is not quite as it first seems.

Jonathan Harvey’s stage plays include Beautiful Thing (Bush Theatre/Donmar Warehouse/Duke of York’s Theatre) and Hushabye Mountain (ETT/Hampstead). His television and film work includes Beautiful Thing, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Coronation Street, Rev and Shameless.

Ailie and the Alien by Morna Pearson – July 4 at 7pm.

When space alien Finn takes a shine to human being Ailie, things suddenly start going right in Ailie’s life. But when Finn is summoned to return home, everything begins to unravel.

Morna Pearson’s first play, Distracted at the Traverse Theatre, won the Meyer-Whitworth Award 2007. Her other works include The Artist Man and the Mother Woman, also at the Traverse.

Don’t Feed the Animals by Jemma Kennedy – July 4 at 8.30pm.

When a local gang of bored youths volunteers to help a family circus from going under, acrobatic twins Zack and Missy are faced with the task of training an un-trainable mob in circus skills.

Jemma Kennedy is a playwright, novelist and screenwriter; her adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper played at the Unicorn Theatre last Christmas.

We Lost Elijah by Ryan Craig – July 5 at 7pm.

Elijah’s older brother and two friends were charged with getting him home safely while the riots were raging. Did Elijah get caught up in the events or was there another reason for his disappearance?

Ryan received a ‘Most Promising Playwright’ nomination at the Evening Standard Awards for his play What We Did to Weinstein for the Menier Chocolate Factory. His other plays include The Holy Rosenbergs for the National Theatre; and his television work includes episodes of Robin Hood, Hustle and Waterloo Road.

The Guffin by Howard Brenton – July 5 at 8.30pm.

Four young people hanging out in a derelict house find a strange object; it’s the Guffin. Touch it and your life is changed forever.

Howard Brenton’s many stage plays include Pravda (co written with David Hare), The Romans in Britain and Paul (nominated for an Olivier Award) for the National Theatre; and Anne Boleyn for Shakespeare’s Globe. For television he has written many episodes of Spooks.

I’m Spilling My Heart Out Here by Stacey Gregg – July 6 at 7pm.

It’s the daily scramble across no-man’s-land: you flinch as you pass those even more clueless than you strewn from the barbed wire of exams, first dates, evil former best mates… but hell’s ok if you stick together.

Stacey Gregg’s plays include Perve, Lagan and Huzzies. She also contributed to 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover at the Bush Theatre.

Soundclash by Lenny Henry – July 6 at 8.30pm.

A bunch of mates have been challenged to put together a reggae sound system to perform at a ‘Sound Clash’ a recreation of a legendary music competition between DJs and MCs. None of them has the money or the equipment. But they do know a little kid whose dad used to be a DJ. Deep in the cellar of Lil Kid’s house, they find out more about music than they could possibly have imagined.

Lenny Henry’s work in theatre includes The Comedy of Errors (National Theatre) and the title role in Othello (West End and on tour). He has toured worldwide with his comedy shows and won the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award at the British Comedy Awards and Black Entertainment Comedy Awards. He is co-founder of Comic Relief.

What are they Like? by Lucinda Coxon – July 8 at 7pm.

Adolescence is a rough ride. You’ve got existential angst, mood swings, never enough money… And that’s just the parents! How well do you know yours?

Lucinda Coxon’s plays include Herding Cats for Theatre Royal Bath and Hampstead Theatre (Theatre Award UK nominee) and Happy Now? for the National Theatre. Her four-part version of Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White was televised in 2011.

Mobile Phone Show by Jim Cartwright – July 8 at 8.30pm.

A communication cacophony, a fully charged-up chorus line of chaos in a rhapsody of rap, text, tweet and gabble.

Jim Cartwright is a multi award-winning playwright, whose plays include Road, Bed, Eight Miles High and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Many of his works are set texts for A level and university courses.

All ten plays are published in an anthology published by Methuen, which is widely available in bookshops across the UK including the National Theatre Bookshop.

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