Horsham theatre to host youth theatre festival

The Capitol, Horsham
The Capitol, Horsham

Horsham’s Capitol Theatre will be the venue next month as West Sussex and Hampshire groups join the largest youth theatre festival in the world as it celebrates its 21st anniversary.

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre (CFYT) will join 10 other youth theatre groups from Hampshire and West Sussex for the 21st anniversary NT Connections Festival at The Capitol, from 24 - 29 May.

On each evening of the festival week, two youth theatre groups will perform their pieces, and on the final evening there will be an additional performance of two original pieces by CFYT.

Each year, Connections offers a unique opportunity for youth theatres and school drama groups to stage plays specially written for young people aged 13-19 by some of the UK’s most exciting playwrights, and to perform them in leading theatres around the country – along with the chance of performing at the National Theatre itself.

Connections 500 sees the festival double in size to mark its 21st anniversary. 500 youth theatre companies involving 10,000 young people from every corner of the UK, working with 40 major regional theatres, will perform twelve outstanding plays drawn from the 150 works written by leading playwrights for young people since the festival began in 1995.

The festival is open to all secondary schools, colleges, youth theatres and voluntary organisations, ranging from experienced young companies to groups who have never staged a production before.

Following a development weekend for the company directors at the NT, each company stages their chosen play in their local venue and then transfers their production to one of the NT’s partner theatres and performs alongside other Connections companies.

Twelve companies will then be invited to perform their productions at the National Theatre in July 2016.

Alice King-Farlow, NT Director of Learning, said: “Connections has revolutionised the landscape for youth theatre over the 21 years of its existence, creating an extraordinary body of over 150 specially commissioned scripts for young performers by leading dramatists.

“Teenagers also get the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of theatre-making, from set design to marketing. Over 60,000 young people have taken part in Connections over the years, with audiences of 600,000 all over the UK. It’s immensely exciting to announce a hugely expanded Connections programme for 2016, which celebrates both past and future by reviving some of the most successful plays from the Connections portfolio and welcoming double the number of participants to perform in their home venues and at our partner theatres across the UK; culminating, as usual, at the National Theatre festival itself.”

Tickets for NT Connections at The Capitol are just £5 per evening and available to book through The Capitol’s website at www.thecapitolhorsham.com

Tuesday 24 May

Panache Theatre, Park Community School, Havant:  What Are They Like? by Lucinda Coxon

The Barn Youth Theatre, Crawley: Eclipse by Simon Armitage

Wednesday 25 May

Blatchington Mill School, Hove: What Are They Like? by Lucinda Coxon

Petersfield School: Gargantua by Carl Grose

Thursday 26 May

Northbrook College, Worthing: It Snows by Bryony Lavery, Steven Hoggett and Scott Graham (age guidance 15+)

SAVVY Theatre Company, Sutton: The Musicians by Patrick Marber

Friday 27 May

Centrestage, Hampshire: What Are They Like? by Lucinda Coxon

Theatre Arts Starlight Youth Theatre, Portsmouth: It Snows by Bryony Lavery, Steven Hoggett and Scott Graham (age guidance 15+)

Saturday 28 May

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre: Citizenship by Mark Ravenhill (age guidance 15+)

Seaford Musical Theatre Juniors: Bassett by James Graham (age guidance 15+)

Sunday 29 May

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre: performing two original short stories

Trapdoor Theatre, Lewes: Take Away by Jackie Kay.

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