National Theatre Connections
The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth
Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 April
The Theatre Royal Plymouth will be presenting seven plays by nine different schools and young theatre groups as part of Connections, the National Theatre’s annual festival of new plays for youth theatre and schools from Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 April.
Every year brand new plays are written exclusively for Connections by established and talented young playwrights, giving 5000 young people aged 13 – 19 all over the country access to the best new writing for theatre. They also experience professional theatre-making: creating marketing campaigns, designing sets and costumes, operating lighting and sound boards, and stage-managing their performances.
This year, for the 21st Anniversary of Connections, the National Theatre is working with 500 youth theatres and schools to stage 9 fantastic plays, picked from the 150 plus they have commissioned for young people since 1995. They will transfer their production to one of Connections 40 Partner Theatres across the UK.
Connections is produced by the National Theatre and supported by a number of individuals, trusts and foundations.
Connections plays are commissioned for and about young people from some of the best contemporary playwrights, for performance by schools and youth theatres all over the UK and Ireland, making Connections one of the world’s largest celebrations of youth theatre.
The plays which will be performed in The Drum are:
Want by Barney Norris
Ross wants Jenny, but Jenny wants adventure. Heather wants Claire to get better and Claire wants a normal life. Gabby wants to go to uni but worries about her brother. Mark and Chris just want something to do.
Want tells the stories of a constellation of young people through a series of charged, longing exchanges. A cycle of characters try to decide what kind of life is waiting for them.
When They Go Low by Natalie Mitchell
Social media goes into a frenzy over pictures of Sarah at a party on the weekend – no one knows quite what she got up to. When Miss Reef lectures the girls on taking more responsibility for their actions, Louise becomes enraged that the boys who took the pictures have nothing to answer for. She wages war on the misogyny but when she threatens school stalwart Scott and his claim to the School Captain title, things get very nasty. A website appears, rating the girls on their appearance and shaming them for their actions.
The Blue Electric Wind by Brad Birch
When people at school start forgetting things, Scott wonders if he’s the only one who’s noticed. It seems it’s only him and some of the school misfits who can see what is happening. Is it the weather? Is it a strange virus? They must join forces to try and work out what is causing everyone in town to lose all sense of who they are.
The Free Nine by In-Sook Chappell
Nine teenagers have fled North Korea and dream of their escape and a new life in the South. Their journey is far from over and with threats around every corner, perhaps the mysterious figure of The Big Brother can help them or is he the very person they’re running from. Their lives hang in the balance and could it all ultimately come down to a garish South Korean gameshow?
The Changing Room by Chris Bush
Are we teenagers? Are we children? Do our parents embarrass us? It's about bodies in flux and perspectives shifting; knowing change is coming but not what that change will look like.
Set in and around a swimming pool, it follows a group of teens full of excitement, impatience and uncertainty, each with their own secret worries and desires for what comes next.
These Bridges by Phoebe Éclair Powell
Proud Londoner, Phoebe imagines a community divided by politics and water.
When the Thames burst its banks, the North and the South became separated. Myths abound about ‘the other side’ - is it really better? Four sets of teenagers ignore the risks of the treacherous crossing to find out whether the other side is all it’s cracked up to be. The drowned commuters of the Circle Line conjure memories of the past. These Bridges looks at a fearful future and seeks to show that if we stick together, we may just survive it all.
Tickets are priced at £6 and can be booked online at www.theatreroyal.com or by calling the Theatre Royal Plymouth Box Office on 01752 267222.