Young people from local theatre groups will be performing at the Bush Theatre in April and May as part of National Theatre Connections – a nationwide celebration of new plays for young people.
National Theatre Connections is one of the UK’s largest celebrations of youth theatre. Plays are commissioned for and about young people, from some of the best contemporary playwrights, and performed by schools and youth theatres all over the UK and Ireland. Young people have the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of creating and staging the play both on and offstage, from set design to costume, lighting and stage management.
In 2018, National Theatre Connections is working with up to 300 youth theatres and schools to stage ten newly commissioned plays, adding to the 150 + plays the National Theatre have commissioned for young people since 1995. All the companies will transfer their production to one of 28 Connections Partner Theatres across the UK including the Bush Theatre.
On Monday 29 April The Upstarts from Staines will perform Chaos by Laura Lomas. A girl is locked in a room. A boy brings another boy flowers. A girl has tied herself to a railing. A boy doesn’t know who he is. A girl worries about impending catastrophe. A woman jumps in front of a train. A boy’s heart falls out his chest. A butterfly has a broken wing. Chaos is a symphony of dislocated and interconnected scenes. A series of characters search for meaning in a complicated and unstable world. Bouncing through physics, the cosmos, love and violence, they find order in the disorder of each other.
Later that evening CHSG Players from Carshalton, Surrey present Salt by Dawn King. Life is never plain sailing, but when a new government initiative comes into place offering young people the chance to train and learn skills overseas, droves of teens jump at the chance to secure their future. Once on board the transport ship, the promises of the glossy advert seem a far cry from what lies ahead. A play about generations, choices and hope.
On Tuesday 30 April The John Fisher School from Purley, Surrey perform Class by Ben Bailey Smith & Lajaune Lincoln. It’s school election time and while most of the school is busy enjoying theirlunchbreak, a deadlock is taking place amongst the members of the school council. Bitter rivalries, secret alliances and false promises are laid bare. As a ruthless battle ensues, who will win and does anyone really care?
A play about politics, populism and the ‘ping’ of a text message.
Later the same evening Lammas/Norlington School from Leyton, perform Variations by Katie Hims. Thirteen-year-old Alice wishes her life was completely different. She wakes up one morning to find that her life is different. In fact, it’s so different that all she wants to do is get back to normality. But how does she do that? A play about family, string theory and breakfast.
On Wednesday 1 May Reed’s School from Cobham, Surrey present Flesh by Rob Drummond. A group of teenagers wake up in a forest with no clue how they got there. They find themselves separated into two different teams but have no idea what game they are expected to play. With no food, no water and seemingly no chance of escape, it’s only a matter of time before things start to get drastic. But whose side are people on and how far will they go to survive? This is a play about human nature, the tribes we create and cannibalism.
This will be followed by Surbiton High School performing Chaos by Laura Lomas.
To end the week, on Thursday 2 May Wallington County Grammar School perform The Sad Club by Luke Barnes, with music by Adam Pleeth. A musical about depression and anxiety, this collection of monologues, songs and duologues from all over time and space explores what about living in this world stops us from being happy and how we might go about tackling those problems.
Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, said:
‘Connections is at the heart of the National Theatre’s work for young people, built on the belief that young people in every corner of the UK should have the opportunity to experience and take part in theatre. We’re so excited to welcome new and returning youth theatre companies and schools to take part in Connections this year. All participants are invited to get involved with every aspect of theatre-making and have the chance to premiere a brand new play in a leading regional theatre’.
Lynette Linton, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, said:
‘Connections is so close to my heart. Last year I worked as a Connections director, travelling around London and witnessing the wonderful work of so many youth theatre companies. I cannot wait to welcome them to the Bush Theatre. Come through and own our stage! ‘.