2022 Connections Festival at the National Theatre this summer with ten new plays staged by young people

2022 Connections Festival at the National Theatre this summer with ten new plays staged by young people 

Ten youth theatre companies and school groups from across the UK will be staging new plays at the 2022 National Theatre Connections Festival, which takes place in the Dorfman Theatre from 28th June – 2nd July.  

Now in its 27th year, Connections champions the talent of young people across the UK, with ten new plays by established and emerging contemporary playwrights exclusively commissioned for young people to stage and perform. Over 5,400 young people participating from 228 youth groups have had the opportunity to stage their production at one of 28 leading partner theatres nationwide, from Aberystwyth Arts Centre to Theatre Royal Plymouth. Ten companies are selected to perform at the NT to represent the range of exciting work being produced nationwide.  

The portfolio of plays explores topics from climate change to class and relationships, and aims to challenge young people to experience life in someone else’s shoes and tell stories about a wide range of experiences. Participants are involved with every aspect of creating and staging the play and take on a variety of backstage and off-stage roles, from operating lights and sound to set and costume design and stage management. 

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said, “It is fantastic that young people have been performing in theatres right across the UK as part of Connections over the past few months and we are so excited to have the NT building buzzing with their talent in June for the culmination of the nationwide festival. We know how resilient and enthusiastic our participants have been over the past year and we’re thrilled to be able to come together to celebrate these emerging theatre-makers at the NT”.  

The performances at the NT to celebrate the final week of this year’s Connections Festival are:  

Date Time Play  Performed by  
Tuesday 28 June  7pm Cable Street by Lisa Goldman Winstanley College (Wigan)   
Tuesday 28 June  8.30pm  Remote by Stef Smith On Point Theatre Company, Leyton Sixth Form College (Waltham Forest)   
Wednesday 29 June 7pm Like There’s No Tomorrow created by the Belgrade Young Company with Justine Themen, Claire Procter and Liz Mytton Bristol School of Acting (Bristol)  
Wednesday 29 June 8.30pm Chat Back by David Judge LORIC Players from South Wirral High School (Merseyside) 
Thursday 30 June 7pm Variations by Katie Hims Theatreworks (Deal, Kent) 
Thursday 30 June 8.30pm Hunt by Fionnuala Kennedy Kensington Arts (Isle of Man) 
Friday 1 July 7pm Find a Partner! by Miriam Battye Best Theatre Arts (St. Albans) 
Friday 1 July 8.30pm  You Don’t Need to Make a Big Song and Dance out of it by Abbey Wright, Shireen Mula and Matt Regan, in association with Tackroom Theatre Suffolk New College Performing Arts (Ipswich) 
Saturday 2 July 7pm The Ramayana Reset by Ayeesha Menon, with choreography by Hofesh Shechter  Mayflower Youth Theatre (Southampton) 
Saturday 2 July 8.30pm Superglue by Tim Crouch Everyman Youth Theatre (Cardiff) 

All performances will be captioned.  

Tickets are £5 each and are on sale from Friday 20th May. To book tickets visit: www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/connections 

About the Plays  

Cable Street by Lisa Goldman 

Cable Streetis about two girls growing up in London’s Jewish east end in the 1930s. Leah and Kitty are blood sisters, best friends and more… but they get caught up in the political turmoil caused by Oswald Mosley’s fascist Blackshirts. As their passion and the political tensions grow stronger and stronger, pulling each of them every which way, the snare can only get tighter and tighter until something snaps. 

Remote by Stef Smith 

Seven teenagers’ lives all intertwine over the course of a single evening as they make their way through the park on a seemingly normal Autumn’s night. Remote is a play about protest, power and protecting yourself. 

Like There’s No Tomorrowcreated by the Belgrade Young Company with Justine Themen, Claire Procter and Liz Mytton 

Like There’s No Tomorrowis about climate change. Even when the evidence of imminent climate disaster across the globe is staring them in the face, as presented as the world literally cracking up before their very eyes, still no one wants to listen, they just want to carry on consuming, like they have always have and always will, won’t they? 

Chat Backby David Judge 

Chat Back is about the underclass – all those young people who are so ‘bad’, disempowered, alienated, ostracized, and abandoned – that even on the last day of school they still find themselves in detention. We watch a snapshot of the lives of each individual as they negotiate their way around the obstacles en route to discovering their identity, their economic power or lack of, their lyrical dexterity or lack of, and the meaning of in their lives, revealed through their desires, hopes and fears.  

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. 

Huntby Fionnuala Kennedy 

Hunt is about a group of Belfast teenagers playing their version of hide and seek. Their version entails ‘borrowing’ objects from their neighbours back gardens, and ‘dumping’ them at the ‘box’ without being caught, by either the official pursuers or the neighbours who’s gardens they are infringing upon. The more outlandish and extraordinary the object and the more difficult to acquire it is, the more kudos you score. This is a hunt they will never forget. 

Find a Partner! by Miriam Battye 

Find a Partner! is about the sometimes catastrophic methods we use to find that elusive thing, love. This is ‘Love Island’ scrutinised through a ‘Black Mirror’ style lens as a group of young people compete to publicly couple up and fall in love forever, or die…. quite literally. The play asks the questions, what does it really mean to love someone, does it have to be forever and does it have to be only one person? 

You don’t need to make a Big Song and Dance out of it by Abbey Wright, Shireen Mula and Matt Regan, in association with Tackroom Theatre 

You don’t need to make a Big Song and Dance out of it is about young people’s attitudes towards, experiences of, access to, feelings about and opinions on pornography, love and connection. Taken from the actual words drawn from interviews of 10,000 young people from across the UK, this is a verbatim musical, that tries to simply be honest and out in the open about what is often considered to be a taboo subject.  

The Ramayana Reset by Ayeesha Menon, with choreography by Hofesh Shechter 

The Ramayana Reset is about Zara, a young teenage woman who has a decision to make….to like or not to like….the latest Instagram post by her friendship group. This is a piece of dance drama, using movement inspired by award-winning choreographer Hofesh Shechter. This is a BIG story that fills the stage with action –there are fires, battles, trials and weapons powerful enough to end the universe. But most importantly of all there is love….and loyalty? 

Superglue by Tim Crouch 

Supergluetells the story of a group of climate activists gathering at a woodland burial ground to say goodbye to a friend who died during a protest. Parallels are drawn between old age and adolescence in a play that gently invites an intergenerational understanding of the future of our planet. 

Apply to take part in Connections 2023  

Applications are now open to take part in next year’s Connections Festival. The National Theatre is looking for school and youth theatre companies across the UK to take part. For more information and to sign up, please visit nationaltheatre.org.uk/connections 

The Mohn Westlake Foundation supports nationwide Learning programmes for young people. 

The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America.  

Connections is supported by The Mohn Westlake Foundation, Buffini Chao Foundation, The Broughton Family Charitable Trust, The Peter Cundill Foundation, CHK Foundation, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The EBM Charitable Trust, The Golsoncott Foundation, Katie Bradford Arts Trust, Susan Miller and Byron Grote, Mulberry Trust, Henry Oldfield Trust, The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation and The John Thaw Foundation.