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NT Connections – Digital Festival


COVID can’t stop Connections!

A message from the Festival Producer

It’s been a tough old 18 months for everyone, but these creative, talented, resilient young people- taking part in this digital festival- have proven art will always find a way! Connections WILL ALWAYS be made… between performers and an audience, between cast members and friends, but really just between people- every day. We are determined to make some of those connections over this 14 day Digital Festival and we invite you to join us through varying size screens!

I am so proud of each and every young person and the journey their production has taken them on this year. From Penzance to Great Torrington to Dawlish and and everywhere in between It hasn’t been easy for any of the 9 companies taking part, but they’ve done it, they’ve reached the end of the process and now it’s time to celebrate! These young people are the future. They are putting the arts in the South West on the map and for that I give them a standing ovation (in my living room on my own)!

– Dani Hamlin, Festival Producer

The National Theatre Connections festival is a celebration of young people, theatre-making, and the importance of access to the arts. Each year we commission ten new plays for young people to perform, bringing together some of the most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow.

With 30 Partner Theatre festivals taking place across the country, Connections 2021 will involve at least 5,000 talented young people from right across the UK, and inspire and entertain audiences with plays for and about young people that are current, challenging, and resonant.

This year we’ve adapted our programmes for schools, young people and community groups across the country to keep providing opportunities to create and take part in theatre safely. Working with theatres across the country, we’re restarting activity with content delivered digitally until live projects can be resumed.

Check out the Digital Festival Timetable below, click here to see a bigger version. Please note the Launch and Closing events are reserved for participating companies and are not included when booked a Festival Season Ticket.

Book your Festival Season Ticket Here

Tickets are FREE. Book your Festival Season Ticket to watch all of the productions by participating schools and youth theatres.


Connections is part of the National Theatre’s nationwide Learning programme.

Let’s make sure, together, that creativity remains an essential part of young people’s lives.


Digital Festival Trailer


The IT by Vivienne Franzmann

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.

Groups participating:

Young and Unique @ Callington Community College
Shaftesbury Theatre Youth Group
Great Torrington School – Pike and Musket


Tuesday by Alison Carr

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!

Groups participating:

Starmakers Dance and Performing Arts


Witches Can’t Be Burned by Silva Semerciyan

If you keep on doing the same thing, over and over again, you’ll keep on getting the same results, time and time again. St. Paul’s have won the schools Playfest competition, three years in a row, by selecting recognised classics from the canon and producing them at an exceptionally high level, it’s a tried and trusted formula. With straight A’s student and drama freak, Anuka cast as Abigail Williams in The Crucible by Arthur Miller, the school seem to be well on course for another triumph, which would be a record. What could possibly go wrong?

However, as rehearsals gain momentum, Anuka has an epiphany. An experience resulting in her asking searching questions surrounding the text, the depiction and perception of female characters, the meaning of loyalty, and the values and traditions underpinning the very foundations of the school. Thus, the scene is set for a confrontation of epic proportions as Anuka seeks to break with tradition, before tradition breaks her and all young women like her and reality begins to take on the ominous hue of Miller’s fictionalized Salem.

Groups participating:

The Plough Youth Theatre Seniors


The Marxist in Heaven by Hattie Naylor

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?

Groups participating:

Lipson Co-operative Academy


Find a Partner! by Miriam Battye

Hayley needs to find a boyfriend quick! She only has seconds to decide beforeit’s too late. However, this is not real life, it’s more important than that, this is a game – with strict rules. Find A Partner is a play that takes us on a journey through the closing rounds of agameshow about coupledom. Meet the contestants, revere them, live through them, reject them. A show, played by a few watched by many, but everyone’s involved.

Who’s in, who’s out, who likes who, who’s with who, who gets a say and who gets to choose? Everything’s at stake, because, well, EVERYTHING IS AT STAKE. That’s life, everybody wants a partner, don’t they? No partner?….impossible to imagine…isn’t it? Impossible to live like that. Isn’t it?

Groups participating:

Launch Theatre and Performance Training Cornwall
Heles School


Like There’s No Tomorrow by the Belgrade Young Company by Justine Themen, Claire Proctor and Liz Mytton

There are strange cracks appearing in the land on the other side of the world, turning habitats into wastelands and creating a new wave of climate refugees. However, no one’s worrying about that here – where a mayoral candidate is promising more, more, more. It’s what the people want. Apart from Maru that is, who’s asthma is really bad because the air is already thick with pollution, and their mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle, is falling on deaf ears.

However, as plans emerge to build on the park, and Maru’s parents appear to be seduced by the mayoral candidate’s invitation to consume as much as you can – something has to give. So, when a crack appears in Maru’s new state of the art bedroom furniture and then it spreads to the centre of town, and Maru seems to be the culprit, it’s enough to focus everyone’s attention – as they seek to deal with the symptom, whilst remaining oblivious of the cause.

Groups participating:

Acorn Young People’s Theatre


We have 6 workshops available across the 2-week festival!

Some workshops have a maximum capacity. In these workshops, in the first instance, a number of places have been allocated for participants from each of the 9 companies taking part in the festival.

You can book workshops by emailing: Please include your name, theatre company, email address and choice of workshops you’d like to book in order of preference.

If you aren’t a student at one of the participating schools or a member of a participating youth theatre, but you’d really like to get involved and take part in any of the workshops, please email us and say why you’d like to come along and we’ll try our best to accommodate you. If workshops become fully booked we’ll look at adding additional workshops on the same day 7:30pm -9:00pm.

Click here to email your workshop request



Led by Jemma Gross

Tuesday 8th June 6:00pm – 7:30pm | Capacity: 30

Wednesday 16th June 6:00pm – 7:30pm | Capacity: 30

What is directing?  Who gets to do it and how? What tools do you need to direct a theatre production? How do you know if you want to be a director?  How can you get started as a director and can you make a career out of it?  – Just some of the questions that this workshop will cover, as well as many others!

Jemma is the Co-Artistic Director of Fly High Stories and is a theatre and film director as well as producer and dramaturge. Jemma is also a Mentor Director for the NT Connections Festival, and an invited member of The Director’s Lab, Lincoln Centre, New York. She is one of the founding board members for Stage Directors UK, and is a Trustee for the Directors Charitable Foundation. And most importantly to her, Jemma is also a Mum and creates work that she can enjoy with her daughter. /



Led by Rob Mennear

Thursday 10th June 6:00pm – 7:30pm | Capacity 25

After introductions you will be led through a structured movement exploration. The main focus will be getting both your mind and body prepared for the later segments of the workshop.

A short class will follow, covering the foundations of a contemporary class, but the delivery along with the encouragement given, will give you a new and alternative way to execute each exercise and taught repertoire.

The workshop will conclude with a number of creative tasks, highlighting the importance of each individual’s interpretation and choreographic choices towards the given topic. Each task will be carried out with a very accessible and clear layering system allowing for engagement at any level.

Camera must be on to participate in this workshop for health and safety reasons. It will also make for a much more valued experience.



Led by Daisy Higman

Saturday 12th June 10am – 11:30am | Capacity 50

Character Voice 101: Have you ever wondered how voice actors create so many different characters?

This playful workshop will explore how the voice works, how to stay vocally safe and how you can use your voice to create distinct characters for animation, puppetry and voice overs. You’ll even get the chance to recreate some of your favourite characters!


Digital Performance

Led by Sally Burne

Monday 14th June 6:00pm – 7:30pm | Capacity: 18

Using scripts and dialogue from previous Connections shows, we will explore how we can adapt for online performance, looking at how they could be delivered to an audience online or filmed/captured by participants.

We will incorporate elements of design and tech, learning loads of great new skills. This workshop will be an opportunity to think about how we can light our own spaces using what we have around us, angles of where to put your webcam/laptop/phone and how that can impact what audience is seeing and working with sound effects that can be created by ourselves and how to record and edit them.



Led by Charlie Rankin

Friday 18th June 6:00pm – 7:30pm | Capacity: 18

The last year and a half has been a rollercoaster for everyone, irrelevant of who you are. Young people have experienced real struggles. Being stuck at home, stuck doing the same activities, stuck home-schooling, stuck on social media, just stuck.

‘Wellbeing and Balance’ is about moving and trying to combat this stuck feeling. Using a range of different methods from doodling, creative writing and movement, the aim is to use the workshop as a springboard to write the next chapter. We have lost what we consider ‘normality’ and sometimes our worlds can feel chaotic and messy. But let’s acknowledge this, process it and find a way to harness a feeling of restoration.

Join Charlie and go on a personal journey that allows you to be as honest and open as you wish, with opportunity to work with different creative mediums and embrace certain techniques you feel work for you. A story written and a story embodied.

How it works

To have free access to all the shows in this Digital Festival, follow these steps:

  • Put a Festival Season Ticket in your basket on our website
  • Click here to add this to your basket
  • Go to Check Out
  • Log in or create a TRP Account
  • Complete the booking process
  • To access each show, go into Account, then Digital Content, and select the show you’d like to watch
  • All shows will be available throughout the festival however we suggested watching at the time scheduled in the timetable to be part of the mass festival “watch parties”
  • You may access the shows as many times as you like during that time frame. Everyone loves a re-run!

If you have any queries or questions just email the Festival Producer, Dani at