Two of Peterborough’s top youth theatre groups are celebrating success after winning the ultimate accolade of performing in the National Theatre Connections 2015 Festival.
Budding actors from both Key Youth Theatre (KYT) and UROCK have been invited to perform at the prestigious National Theatre at the heart of the capital city in July.
Connections is the National Theatre’s new writing programme, specifically for young people and more than 270 youth theatres and schools from across the UK took part in producing one of the 10 specially commissioned works from established writers.
Both KYT and UROCK have been specially invited to perform two of the 10 new plays by both established and emerging playwrights, at the festival which runs from July 1 to July 6.
For the award winning KYT this is not the first time the group has had a presence at the National Theatre, with KYT alumni Robert Gilbert appearing in two productions as part of the National Theatre Company. He will be attending their performance on July 2.
The group will perform their piece ‘The Crazy, Sexy, Cool Girls Fan Club’ by writer Sarah Solemani, an up and coming actress who has appeared on TV in ‘Him and Her’ and ‘Bad Education’.
We are so proud of what the young people of KYT have achieved. This is the reward that they all deserve for their dedication and talent.KYT director, Paul Collings
The group faced very stiff competition with their piece, but a fantastic performance at The Garage in Norwich helped to secure their trip to the National Theatre.
KYT director, Paul Collings said: “We are so proud of what the young people of KYT have achieved. This is the reward that they all deserve for their dedication and talent. And it’s not just about the 10 that feature in this particular play, it’s about all of our members and we hope that as many of them as possible travel to London to support us.”
‘The Crazy, Sexy, Cool Girls Fan Club’ tells the story of a group of fan girls who are obsessed with the latest boy band on the block ‘The Band’ and explores the manipulative nature of the music industry. Paul said: “One of the biggest challenges was the song that features all the way through the play, as all the writer gave us was one line. So the group wrote and recorded their own pop song and even produced their own music video to accompany it!”
The group are extremely excited about their performance which will take place at the National Theatre on July 2, starting at 8.30pm.
The innovative and experimental youth theatre company UROCK will join KYT at the National Theatre, for their performance of Remote by writer Steph Smith on July 4.
This is the second time that the group, made up of young people from across Peterborough, has won the opportunity to perform at the festival of new writing.
Artistic director, Diane Goldsmith said: “This is a massive endorsement of the way the company allows every individual to flourish. My colleague Tom Fox is a highly talented director with a special future. I hope everyone associated with creative output in Peterborough will recognise this achievement and follow our journey through to the performance in London.”
Their performance of ‘Remote’ tells the story of seven teenagers whose lives all intertwine over the course of a single evening as they make their way through a park on a seemingly normal autumn night. ‘Remote’ is a play about protest, power and protecting yourself.
Writer Stef Smith is currently best known for supplying text for ‘Roadkill’ at The Edinburgh Festival 2010 and 2011, which won a Laurence Oliver Award in 2012. Other plays include ‘Cured’, ‘Grey Matter’ and ‘The Silence of Bees’.
Director at UROCK, Tom Fox said: “This is a testament to the company’s hard work. From picking the play in early September last year, to performing it in London in July, everyone has really immersed themselves into every part of the process.
“This strength is key to UROCK and its ethos. We are all ecstatic at the prospect of performing at the National Theatre again, especially with a play that we have loved exploring. But the hard work starts here. Lets make it even better for London!”
UROCK will be performing ‘Remote’ at the National Theatre on July 4 at 7pm.
The programme for this year’s 2015 Connections Festival will include performances on July 1 from St Ives Youth Theatre in Cambridgeshire who will perform ‘Follow, Follow’ by Katie Douglas and Theatre Royal Stratford East Youth Theatre who will perform ‘Hactivists’ by Ben Ockrent.
Joining KYT with their performance of ‘The Crazy, Sexy, Cool Girls Fan Club’ by Sarah Solemani, will be Best Theatre Arts from St Albans who will be performing ‘The Boy Preference’ by Elinor Cook.
Followed by on July 3, Kildcare Youth Theatre who will take to the stage to perform ‘Hospital Food’ by Eugene O’Hare and Found in the Forest Youth Theatre from Gloucestershire who will perform ‘Hood’ by Katherine Chandler.
On July 4 will be UROCK’s big performance of ‘Remote’ by Steff Smith, followed by a performance of ‘Drama, Baby’ by Jamie Brittain, performed by Bishops High School, from Chester.
Finally, rounding off the festival will be a performance of Aub Khan Din’s, ‘The Eldelweiss Pirates’ to be performed by Gulbenkian Youth Theatre from Canterbury and ‘The Accordion Shop’ by Cush Jumbo, performed by LSC Expressive Arts in Leyton.
Alice King-Farlow, director of learning for the festival 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.”
Connections will celebrate its 21st anniversary in 2016 by doubling the number of companies taking part.
To book tickets for this year’s festival to see KYT and UROCK take to the stage, visit the National Theatre’s website for all of the details.