New initiative for NT’s Connections festival

The National Theatre’s 21-year old theatre festival Connections has launched an alumni campaign to celebrate its milestone birthday.

Alumni and previous audiences are being asked to submit their own personal stories, photos, films and anecdotes of their experiences with festival. The submissions will be shared on the initiative’s new website and captured for a new digital Connections archive at the NT.

Since its inception, Connections has acted as a platform for young people interested in theatre and provided first-hand opportunities to learn about all aspects of theatre-making. Many industry professionals have taken part in Connections since it began in 1995 and previous participants include: Keira Knightley, David Oyelowo, John Boyega and Aisling Loftus. Some of the UK’s leading playwrights have written for the festival including Alan Ayckbourn, Moira Buffini, Anthony Horowitz, James Graham and Abi Morgan.

“Twenty-one years ago the National Theatre launched Connections in response to a demand for relevant, new plays for young people to perform,” said Rufus Norris, the National Theatre’s artistic director. “Two decades later, it remains at the heart of the National Theatre’s work for young people and one of the most exciting and important projects we have developed. It’s vital that young people, wherever they are in the country andwhatever their future path, have the chance to be involved in theatre and Connections is one of the ways the National Theatre can help make that happen.”

Alice King-Farlow, director of learning at the National Theatre, said: “Connections has transformed the landscape for youth theatre over 21 years, creating an extraordinary body of work that includes more than 150 specially commissioned scripts for young performers developed by leading dramatists. Teenagers get the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of theatre-making, from set design to script writing and we are thrilled that 60,000 young people have taken part in Connections, with additional audiences of 600,000 from across the UK. We look forward to hearing their stories and learning how theatre craft has helped transform their lives.”