National Youth Theatre (NYT) have today announced four productions in their Workshop Theatre for Autumn/Winter 2023
- ADA - A WORLD PREMIERE OF A NEW PLAY ABOUT ADA LOVELACE
- REFILWE - A SOUTHERN AFRICAN RETELLING OF RAPUNZEL CO-PRODUCED BY NATIONAL YOUTH THEATRE, BERNIE GRANT ARTS CENTRE & TALAWA THEATRE COMPANY
- NYT ASSOCIATE COMPANY, BLINK DANCE THEATRE PRESENT ELVIS DIED OF BURGERS
- SANCHO & ME - FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY - A SOLO PERFORMANCE BY PATERSON JOSEPH, NYT REP COMPANY MENTOR
- NEW SHOWS FORM PART OF EXPANDING PROGRAMME AT NYT’S NEW RIBA AWARD-WINNING WORKSHOP THEATRE FEATURING WORK BY ASSOCIATE AND VISITING COMPANIES
Ada (30 Nov-9 Dec) is the world premiere of a new play for young audiences by Rebecca Manley about the world’s first computer programmer Ada Lovelace, directed by NYT alumnus Andrew Whyment, developed with dramaturg Sarah Frankcom. Created especially for primary and lower secondary school ages and featuring members of NYT, Ada follows one young girl's surprise encounter with Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer who died more than 150 years ago. Leaping through time and space to meet a host of larger-than-life characters - from Queen Victoria herself, to a rather useless prime minister and Ada’s father Lord Byron.
Refilwe (6-23 Dec) is a new production inspired by Zukiswa Wanner’s southern African retelling of the classic fairy-tale Rapunzel, a family adventure about home, hair and connecting with your roots, for audiences aged seven and older, with all performances presented in a relaxed environment. The production is co-produced by National Youth Theatre, Bernie Grant Arts Centre and Talawa Theatre Company, written by Bisola Alabi and directed by the Artistic Director of Bernie Grant Arts Centre Azieb Pool featuring young talent from the National Youth Theatre.
Also in the Workshop Theatre, NYT Associate Company, BLINK Dance Theatre will present ELVIS DIED OF BURGERS (13 Nov) for local audiences, including NYT’s partner non-mainstream schools. Take a seat at the table as the cast spill the tea on their food stories and deep dive into the King of Rock‘n’Roll at the end of his life. Complete with the company’s signature sensory and bizarre tangents, ELVIS DIED OF BURGERS has a non-linear narrative and uses semi-improvised dance, theatre and spoken word to create an exciting edge of your seat experience for audience and cast alike. All performances are relaxed and will have integrated BSL, interpreted by Greg Colquhoun. BLINK Dance Theatre are a neurodiverse-led inclusive arts company and have been one of 10 NYT Associate Companies since 2022. Alongside the performance they will be sharing their inclusive practice with NYT members.
Sancho & Me - For One Night Only (28 Oct - 4 Nov), by and starring Paterson Joseph, is a solo performance delivered directly to the audience, part-improvised each night and built around Joseph’s recent novel The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho. The performance explores ideas of belonging, language, education, slavery, commerce, violence, threat, politics, music and love – and where these themes intersect with Paterson’s own story of being Black and British. Paterson Joseph has previously supported the NYT as a volunteer mentor for the charity’s award-winning REP Company, a free alternative to formal training. Alongside the production he will deliver a workshop for NYT members.
ELVIS DIED OF BURGERS and Sancho & Me - For One Night Only are part of the expanding programme at NYT’s Workshop Theatre, including work produced by Associate and visiting companies. The theatre was created as part of the charity’s headquarters redevelopment in 2021, which has recently been shortlisted for Most Welcome Venue at the UK Theatre Awards and recognised on the Sustainability longlist of the 2023 Dezeen Awards.
Paul Roseby OBE - CEO and Artistic Director said; “As the desperate decline of drama in our schools continues, we've investing in the broken talent pipeline from the ground up, with new shows to excite young audiences, many of whom may never have been to the theatre before. From a new play about Ada Lovelace, the original woman in tech, to Refilwe a story about home, hair and history, we hope audiences young and old will be inspired by the power of live theatre and fresh young talent on our award-winning new stage. We’re also really pleased to welcome Associate Company BLINK Dance Theatre and REP Mentor Paterson Joseph to our Workshop Theatre and hope many more visiting companies will follow.”
NYT's 2023 programme includes IGNITE Your Creativity in partnership with Netflix - a free national programme to discover production talent for screen and stage and Assemble - addressing the issue of isolation amongst young disabled people in non-mainstream schools. Alongside these productions National Youth Theatre are delivering regular workshops and courses around the UK and developing new productions with young people and partners including National Youth Arts Wales, Trybe House Theatre, Netflix and English Heritage.
National Youth Theatre would like to thank Arts Council England for their support.