NT Connections 2020

NT Connections 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: Following the government’s latest advice, we have cancelled the NT CONNECTIONS Festival. Ticket-holders will be contacted over the next few days. Please bear with us at this time. You can read the full statement here.

This year we were delighted to host the National Theatre’s Connections Festival here at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Eight 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.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE, YOUR TICKET ADMITS YOU TO BOTH PERFORMANCES AND SEATING IS UNRESERVED.

Tue 24 Mar - 7PM
Redbridge Youth Theatre Workshop, THE IT by Vivienne Franzmann
The Petchey Academy, Crusaders by Frances Poet

Wed 25 Mar - 7PM
Oaklands School, Tuesday by Alison Carr
Urswick Youth Theatre, A series of public apologies (in response to an unfortunate incident in the school lavatories) by John Donnelly

Thu 26 Mar - 7PM
Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy, The Marxist in Heaven by Hattie Naylor
Brampton Manor, THE IT by Vivienne Franzmann

Fri 27 Mar - 7PM
Barking and Dagenham College Company, A series of public apologies (in response to an unfortunate incident in the school lavatories) by Johnn Donnelly
Stratford East Young Actors Company, Dungeness by Chris Thompson

Access & Events

Please note that some of these productions contain strong language.

Synopses

Tuesday by Alison Carr - suitable for all ages

Tuesday is light, playful and nuanced in tone. And a little bit sci-fi. 

The play centres on an ordinary Tuesday that suddenly turns very weird indeed when a tear rips across the sky over the school yard. Not only that, but it starts sucking up pupils and staff while at the same time raining down a whole new set of people.  But then, that’s what happens when parallel worlds collide! 

Confusion reigns as the ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ try to work out what is going on. How are Ash and Magpie identical? Can Billy cope with having his sister back? Who is Franky?

Eventually, though, cracks appear between the two groups. As the air here starts to disagree with the ‘Them’, the race is on to try to get things back to how they were and safely return everyone to the Universe they came from.

The play touches on themes of friendship, sibling love, family, identity, grief, bullying, loneliness and responsibility. And in the process we might just learn something about ourselves as well as some astronomical theories of the multiverse!


Dungeness by Chris Thompson - suitable for ages 14+

In a remote part of the UK, where nothing ever happens, a group of teenagers share a safe house for LGBT+ young people.

While their shared home welcomes difference, it can be tricky for self-appointed group leader Birdie to keep the peace. The group must decide how they want to commemorate an attack that happened to LGBT+ people, in a country far away. How do you take to the streets and protest if you’re not ready to tell the world who you are? If you’re invisible, does your voice still count? A play about love, commemoration and protest.


Crusaders by Frances Poet - suitable for ages 14+

A group of teens gather to take their French exam but none of them will step into the exam hall. Because Kyle has had a vision and he’ll use anything, even miracles, to ensure his classmates accompany him. Together they have just seven days to save themselves, save the world and be the future.  

And Kyle is not the only one who has had the dream.  All across the globe, from Azerbaijan to Zambia, children are dreaming and urging their peers to follow them to the promised land.  Who will follow?  Who will lead?  Who will make it?


The Marxist in Heaven by Hattie Naylor - suitable for all ages

The Marxist in Heaven is a play that does exactly what its title page says it’s going to do.  The eponymous protagonist ‘wakes up’ in paradise and once they get over the shock of this fundamental contradiction of everything they believe in…..they get straight back to work….and continue their lifelong struggle for equality and fairness for all….even in death.   Funny, playful, provocative, pertinent and jam-packed with discourse, disputes, deities and disco dancing by the bucketful, this upbeat buoyant allegory shines its holy light on globalization and asks the salient questions – who are we and what are we doing to ourselves?.....and what conditioner do you use on your hair?


A series of public apologies (in response to an unfortunate incident in the school lavatories) by John Donnelly - suitable for ages 14+

This satirical play is heightened in its naturalism, in its seriousness, in its parody and piercing in its interrogation of how our attempts to define ourselves in public are shaped by the fear of saying the wrong thing. Presented quite literally as a series of public apologies this play is spacious, flexible and welcoming of inventive and imaginative interpretation as each iteration spirals inevitably to its absurdist core.  This is a play on words, on convention, on manners, on institutions, on order, online and on point.


The IT by Vivienne Franzmann - suitable for all ages

The IT is a play about a teenage girl who has something growing inside her. She doesn't know what it is, but she knows it's not a baby. It expands in her body.  It starts in her stomach, but quickly outgrows that, until eventually it takes over the entirety of her insides.  It has claws.  She feels them.  Does it have teeth, skin, and hair as well, or is that feathers, or spikes she can feel, butting up against her organs?  What is it?  It makes a noise, like a lizard or a snake.  No one must know about it.  She has to keep its presence, its possession of her, concealed.   She pulls away from her friends. She refuses to speak in case The It is heard. Then the It tries to escape from her body. She can't let that happen. She cuts an isolated weird figure at school, trying to live her life 'normally; but battling to keep The It inside of her. But she can't contain it forever, sooner or later something's got to give...

Presented in the style of a direct to camera documentary, this is a darkly comic state of the nation play exploring adolescent mental health and the rage within, written very specifically for today. 

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