In 2014 we applied to take part in the 2015 National Theatre Connections prgoramme in which established playwrights contribute 10 new plays written especially for young people. These are performed by companie acorss the UK whose productions asre asseseds and then move on to a local 'partner' theatre. The NT then select one company per play to perform at the National theatre itself!
We'd entered a few times before with mixed results but we felt we had a strong cohort of young actors that needed a real challenge.
When you apply you have no idea what plays wil be available for you so when they are released you hasitly scan through for a play with a large cast (which narows it down to about 3 or 4) and then a play you actually like.
The Boy Preference by Elinor Cook jumped out at me and immediately I could see potential for a 'quasi-horror' take on the whole thing. It was a small-ish cast but I could also see the possibility of creating a chorus.
Once the play is selected you head to the National for a day's workshop with the author and a director and all the other companies that have chosen the same play. Our director was the rather wonderful Maria Eberg. As the day progressed it became apparent to me that we had a totally different view of the play from everyone else and this started to get quite exciting!
We brought the play to the group and there was general approval, especially when we explained the vision. And thankfully casting was straightforward.
Rehearsals went well - me doing 'big picture' stuff and Lisa Schulberg doing fantastic detalied character development, all helped by one of our students Emily Webster. We were all ready for our 'home' performances at the Maltings Arts Theatre in March 2015! Here is a snippet!
To use click bait, you won't belive what happened next... see part 2 coming soon!