Drawing together the work of ten leading playwrights - a mixture of established and emerging writers - this National Theatre Connections anthology is published to coincide with the 2014 festival, which takes place across the UK and finishes up at the National Theatre in London. It offers young performers between the ages of thirteen and nineteen everywhere an engaging selection of plays to perform, read or study.
Each play is specifically commissioned by the National Theatre's literary department with the young performer in mind. The plays are performed by approximately 200 schools and youth theatre companies across the UK and Ireland, in partnership with multiple professional regional theatres where the works are showcased.
As with previous anthologies, the volume will feature an introduction by Anthony Banks, Associate Director of the National Theatre Discover Programme, and each play includes notes from the writer and director addressing the themes and ideas behind the play, as well as production notes and exercises.
The National Theatre Connections series has been running for nineteen years and the anthology that accompanies it, published for the last three years by Methuen Drama, is gaining a greater profile by the year. Some iconic plays have grown out of the Connections programme including Citizenship by Mark Ravenhill, Burn by Deborah Gearing, Chatroom by Enda Walsh, Baby Girl by Roy Williams, DNA by Dennis Kelly, and The Miracle by Lin Coghlan. The series has a recognisable brand and the anthologies continue to be an extremely useful resource, their value extending well beyond their year of publication.
This year's anthology includes plays by Sabrina Mahfouz, Simon Vinnicombe, Catherine Johnson, Pauline McLynn, Dafydd James, Luke Norris and Sam Holcroft.
About the Author
Anthony Banks (editor) is Associate Director for the National Theatre Discover Programme, where he commissions scripts for the Connections seasons, the Primary Theatre programme and Shakespeare Schools Festival, and curates a variety of projects and events for lifelong learning. Deborah Bruce, a theatre director for over twenty years, has in more recent years embarked on a writing career. Her first stage play, Godchild, was written in 2010, while her 2012 play, The Distance, earned her a place as a finalist in the 2012/13 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is currently under commission to the National Theatre and the Royal Court Theatre, London. Matt Hartley won the inaugural Bruntwood Award for his play Sixty Five Miles (2007), which was produced by Paines Plough and Hull Truck. He was also a member of the Paines Plough/Channel 4 Future Perfect Scheme, before going on in 2012 to become writer on attachment at the Royal Court, London. Currently under commission by the RSC, his previous theatre includes Punch, The Bee, Microcosm, Burning Cars and Sentenced.Sam Holcroft is currently Writer-in-Residence at the National Theatre Studio, London, having been Pearson Playwright in Residence at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in 2009-10. She also won the 2009 Tom Erhardt Award for new writers. Theatre plays include Edgar and Annabel, Dancing Bears, While You Lie, Pink, Vanya, and Cockroach. Dafydd James is an award-winning writer, composer and performer. His works include Driving Home for Christmas, Peter Pan, Llwyth, The Village Social and My Name is Sue. Catherine Johnson's work for stage and television includes the script for the musical Mamma Mia! and screenplay for the film, Rag Doll (Bristol Old Vic - winner BOV/HTV Playwriting Award, 1988), Dead Sheep (Bush), Little Baby Nothing (Bush Theatre), among many others. In 2007, she instituted The Catherine Johnson Award for Best Play. Sabrina Mahfouz is a poet, prose writer and playwright. Her play That Boy was performed at the Soho Theatre in 2010 and won a Westminster Prize for New Playwrights. Since then, she has won a UK Young Artists Award (2011) for poetry; an IdeasTap Innovator Award for theatre and one for poetry; and she won a place on the Old Vic's TS Eliot Exchange 2011 to New York. She is currently Creative in Residence for Theatre & Poetry at The Hospital Club and she will be the 2012 Leverhulme Trust Associate Playwright at the Bush Theatre. Her recent solo show about a young stripper, Dry Ice, won widespread critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe 2011. Sabrina Mahfouz has been part of the writers programmes at the Royal Opera House and the Royal Court, as well a playwright-on-attachment with Tamasha. Pauline McLynn is an actor and author. Perhaps best-known for her role as Mrs Doyle in the sitcom Father Ted and Libby Croker in Shameless, she is also a prolific writer. Her novels include Something for the Weekend; Better Than a Rest; Right on Time; The Woman on the Bus and Summer in the City. Luke Norris is a playwright an actor. His work has been performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Royal Court. His play Goodbye to All That premiered at the Royal Court Young Writer's Festival in 2012. Evan Placey is an award-winning playwright. His play Girls Like That premiered in summer 2013 at Birmingham Rep, Theatre Royal Plymouth, and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Mother of Him, his debut full-length play, won the King's Cross Award for New Writing, Canada's RBC National Playwriting Competition, and the Samuel French Canadian Play Contest, and was shortlisted for the Meyer Whitworth Award and the Rod Hall Memorial Award. It was produced at the Courtyard Theatre in London. Other plays include Banana Boys, Suicide(s) in Vegas, Holloway Jones, Scarberia, and How Was it for You? Simon Vinnicombe was a Pearson Playwright in Residence at the Finborough Theatre. Previous plays produced at the Finborough Theatre include Cradle Me and Year 10. He won a Peggy Ramsay Pearson Award in 2010 and was a member of the BBC Continuing Drama Writers Academy. Theatre includes Untitled (Brit School commission), Wisdom (Manhattan Theatre Club), Turf (Bush Theatre), The Old Vic 24 Hour Plays (The Old Vic), A Night with the Apathists (Union Theatre) and Wilde Tales (Southwark Playhouse). Radio includes Mary Cherry and Hard Road (both for BBC Radio 4).
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