This year's NT Connections Festival promises to be the best yet! With 10 amazing plays to choose from (including the one Cast's Stagelight's group will be performing, Chris Bush's Changing Room) there's something for every young performer.

So if you're a drama teacher, or parent or young actor - check out the plays yourself, or come along to the NT Connection's Festival to see them performed live. 

Alice Birch (a co-commission with Clean Break)

A play about adults and children impacted by the criminal justice system. It's a series of 50 scenes - some of which may feel connected, others less so. It's about what life is like when adults feel absent from it. But it can be about whatever you like - you can choose as many or as few scenes in order to construct your own narratives.

Cast size: 1050

Alice Birch Why I Wrote this Play:
‘I was interested in writing a piece of theatre that gives as much control over to companies as possible, whilst still remaining a robust piece of theatrical writing. I'm interested in the often cyclical nature of violence, of incarceration and particularly around women in prison, and children who are inevitably left behind - the unacknowledged victims of crime.’


When people at school start forgetting things, Scott wonders if he’s the only one who’s noticed. He and some of the school’s misfits seem to be the only ones who can see what’s happening.

Is it the weather? Is it a virus? They must join forces to try and work out what is causing everyone in town to lose all sense of who they are.

The Blue Electric Wind is about why we remember what we do; it’s about bravery and about growing up.

Cast size: 11

Brad Birch Why I Wrote this Play:
‘I wanted to write an ensemble adventure story set in an ordinary school and to create the kind of story I would have enjoyed when I was the age of the characters. I think there's something interesting in questions around the role of our memory in society, and how young people's relationships with their memories change over time.’

THE CHANGING ROOM Chris Bush (this is the play that Doncaster young people will perform!)

A lyrical piece about existing on the cusp of growing up.

Are we teenagers? Are we children? What are we? It's about bodies in flux and perspectives shifting; knowing change is coming but not what that change will look like.

Set in and around a swimming pool, The Changing Room follows a group of teens full of excitement, impatience and uncertainty, each with their own secret worries and desires for what comes next.

Cast size: 1050

Chris Bush Why I Wrote this Play:
‘In writing this piece I'm trying to capture something of the hormonal rush and sensory overload of adolescence in all its messy and magical glory. While no two teenagers are the same, ultimately I wanted to show that this is an experience no-one goes through alone.’

THE FREE9 In-Sook Chappell

Nine teenagers flee North Korea, dreaming of a new life in the South. But the danger is far from over. With threats around every corner, perhaps the mysterious figure of The Big Brother can help them? Or is he the very person they’re running from? As their lives hang in the balance, could the teenagers’ fate ultimately come down to a garish South Korean game show?

Based on a true story, this is the story of hope, escape and cultural difference.

Cast size: 10 + ensemble

In-Sook Chappell Why I Wrote this Play:
‘This play was inspired by the Laos 9 – the North Korean orphans who were detained in Laos and then told, ‘Pack your bags you’re going to South Korea’. Unfortunately it was a lie and they were sent back to North Korea. Their story broke my heart and filled me with anger, so it was something I had to write. The Free Nine is dedicated to them and all the forgotten inside North Korea.’


How do we form our allegiances and beliefs? Do we make our own decisions, or do we inherit them? Can a cycle of ideology and disagreement be broken? And who can take the first step?

The annual bonfire preparations are underway; Mikey’s coming home from the Centre and his sister Jamie cannot wait. But there is change in the air and not everyone’s ready for it. Jamie wants to reignite her father and uncle’s old conflicts, but Mikey and their friends must decide whether to take hold of their own destinies, or allow the ghosts of the past to dictate their futures.

Cast size: 16

Fiona Doyle Why I Wrote this Play:

‘I’m interested in the nature of transgenerational trauma – how one generation passes trauma to another, causing unhealthy cycles of conflict and violence to continue. How is trauma inherited in the post-conflict countries where peace is often fragile and tensions continue to lurk just beneath the surface, waiting for the opportunity to reignite?’

THESE BRIDGES Phoebe Éclair Powell

When the Thames bursts its banks and submerges London, the north and the south of the city become separated. Myths abound about ‘the other side’ – is it really better? Four sets of teenagers ignore the risks of the treacherous crossing, to find out whether the other side is all it’s cracked up to be.
The drowned commuters of the Circle Line conjure memories of the past. These Bridges looks at a fearful future and seeks to show that if we stick together, we may just survive it all.

Cast size: 9 + ensemble

Phoebe Éclair Powell Why I Wrote this Play:
‘Every time I cross Waterloo Bridge I look out onto the big, bold Thames and make a wish. The river slithers across the city I call home, and love with all my heart. But pre – and now post – the Brexit referendum, I could tell we stood divided. I wanted to write about fear and hope; about the myths of the city and the teenagers who will hopefully save us all from a terrifying future by reminding us of how to work together.’

WHEN THEY GO LOW Natalie Mitchell

Social media is in a frenzy over pictures of Sarah at a party on the weekend no one knows quite what she got up to. When Miss Reef lectures the girls on taking more responsibility for their actions, Louise becomes enraged that the boys who took the pictures aren’t made accountable too. She wages war on the misogyny but when she threatens school stalwart Scott and his claim to the School Captain title, things get very nasty. A website appears, rating the girls on their appearance and shaming them for their actions.

When They Go Low is about everyday feminism and the changing face of teenage sexuality in an online world. When they go low, we go high.

Cast size: 8 + ensemble

Natalie Mitchell Why I Wrote this Play:
‘When They Go Low was inspired by the true story of a group of teenage girls in Manchester who attempted to set up a feminist society at their school, and the backlash they experienced. The play asks questions about why the ‘F’ word is so inflammatory, how misogyny has become normalised, and why equality might feel emasculating to some people, without necessarily finding the answers.’

WANT Barney Norris

Ross wants Jenny, but Jenny wants adventure. Heather wants Claire to get better and Claire wants a normal life. Gabby wants to go to university but worries about her brother. Mark and Chris just want something to do.

WANT tells the stories of a constellation of young people through a series of charged, longing exchanges. A cycle of characters try to decide what kind of life is waiting for them.

Cast size: 7

Barney Norris Why I Wrote this Play:
‘I wrote this play to give voice to the landscape of life among young people where I come from, in semi-rural Wiltshire, where possibility is caged by the bus timetable and the work available, and time passes in the search for something to put at the centre of your life.’


When his parents decide they want to return to their home country, Badger is confronted with the possibility of leaving everything he knows in the UK and becoming a visitor in a strange and unknown world. Attempting to run away and escape his parent’s plans, Badger finds himself in a world full of insects, stories and Thunder a land beneath our feet that he cannot escape from. Inspired by the fables of West African storytelling this fantastical story looks at what it means to be young, disconnected from nature, and from your identity.

Cast size: 32 (can be done with a minimum of 14)

Chino Odimba Why I Wrote this Play:
‘I wanted to write a play for this audience, which would use the power of storytelling, to talk about what is becoming a necessary conversation for the younger generations, about identity and heritage. Growing up I was always aware of stories from my West African roots that did not always put humans at the centre of the action, but always spoke of very human dilemmas.”

DUNGENESS Chris Thompson

In a remote part of the UK, where nothing ever happens, a group of teenagers share a safe house for LGBT+ young people.

While their shared home welcomes difference, it can be tricky for self-appointed group leader Birdie to keep the peace. The group must decide how they want to commemorate an attack that happened to LGBT+ people, in a country far away. How do you take to the streets and protest if you’re not ready to tell the world who you are? If you’re invisible, does your voice still count? A play about love, commemoration and protest.

Cast size: 9 (plus a choir)

Chris Thompson Why I Wrote this Play:
‘I wrote this play because, like countless others, I was bullied for being gay when I was younger and grew up in a vacuum of LGBT+ visibility. Like countless others, I campaigned for equal age of consent, the abolition of Section 28, the right to marry – to overturn a slew of legislation that was based on disgust, at every turn, I have had to ask permission from straight people to be myself. There are still places in this country where it is not safe for me to hold my lover’s hand; we’re part of something bigger, a global effort to free LGBT+ people from oppression. And we have so much further to go – at home and elsewhere. But most of all, I wrote this because I absolutely love love, and I love being gay.’