National Theatre Connections

National Theatre Connections


This year we were delighted to host the National Theatre’s Connections Festival here at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Nine Youth companies from across East London and Essex will present some of the best plays for young audiences.

The National Theatre Connections festival is a celebration of young people, theatre-making and the importance of access to the arts. Each year, ten new plays are commissioned for young people to perform, bringing together some of the most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow.

Below is the schedule for this year's NT Connections festival at Theatre Royal Stratford East.


Wed 9 May 2018

The Sweetness of a Sting (performed by Haggerston School)

Want (performed by Cardinal Pole School)
These Bridges (performed by Clapton Girls Academy)

Thu 10 May 2018 - 7pm

Want (performned by Stratford School Academy)
The Sweetness of a Sting (performed by Bow School)

Fri 11 May 2018 - 7pm

Ceasefire Babies (performed by Epping Forest College) 
When They Go Low (performed by Theatre Royal Stratford East Youth Theatre Plus)

Sat 12 May 2018 - 7pm

The Blue Electric Wind (performed by Interact Youth Theatre)
The Changing Room (performed by BDC Company)




When people at school start forgetting things, Scott wonders if he’s the only one who’s noticed. He and some of the school’s misfits seem to be the only ones who can see what’s happening. Is it the weather? Is it a 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 Blue Electric Wind is about why we remember what we do; it’s about bravery and about growing up. 


A lyrical piece about existing on the cusp of growing up. Are we teenagers? Are we children? What are we? 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, The Changing Room follows a group of teens full of excitement, impatience and uncertainty, each with their own secret worries and desires for what comes next.


How do we form our allegiances and beliefs? Do we make our own decisions, or do we inherit them? Can a cycle of ideology and disagreement be broken? And who can take the first step? The annual bonfire preparations are underway; Mikey’s coming home from the Centre and his sister Jamie cannot wait. But there is change in the air and not everyone’s ready for it. Jamie wants to reignite her father and uncle’s old conflicts, but Mikey and their friends must decide whether to take hold of their own destinies, or allow the ghosts of the past to dictate their futures. 


When his parents decide they want to return to their home country, Badger is confronted with the possibility of leaving everything he knows in the UK and becoming a visitor in a strange and unknown world. Attempting to run away and escape his parent’s plans, Badger finds himself in a world full of insects, stories and Thunder – a land beneath our feet that he cannot escape from. Inspired by the fables of West African storytelling this fantastical story looks at what it means to be young, disconnected from nature, and from your identity.

THESE BRIDGES by Phoebe Éclair Powell 

When the Thames bursts its banks and submerges London, the north and the south of the city become 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. 

WHEN THEY GO LOW by Natalie Mitchell 

Social media is in 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 aren’t made accountable too. 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. When They Go Low is about everyday feminism and the changing face of teenage sexuality in an online world. When they go low, we go high. 

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 university 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. 


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