The Garage Norwich welcomes hundreds of youngsters from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire as part of NT Connections.
The Garage are one of just twenty-nine regional theatres in the UK taking part in the National Theatre’s annual youth theatre festival and the only venue in this area to be hosting groups.
Young theatre-makers will be developing, producing and performing one of ten new plays by some of the country’s most exciting contemporary writers from Monday 25 April to Sunday 1 May.
Participants from The Garage and our sister venue The Workshop in King’s Lynn each worked on a play. Another dozen youth groups will spend time at The Garage developing and performing their pieces.
Kirsten Adam, National Theatre Connections Producer, has been inspired by the resilience and creativity of participating students and youth theatres. She’s excited to see the brilliant performances by more than five thousand young people taking place across the UK.
She said: “Despite the challenges and disruption young people and theatres have faced due to the pandemic, these productions demonstrate the collective innovation and imagination of this year’s participants, and we hope to inspire more young people in the art of theatre-making.”
The Garage is staging Find A Partner by Miriam Battye, which is set in the closing rounds of a gameshow about coupledom. It’s been directed by performing arts tutor and front of house assistant Georgia Hardcastle.
She said: “I’ve been blown away by the cast’s commitment. The script has cutting, topical humour which they’ve taken totally in their stride. It’s a questioning, bold, energetic piece with all of the cast onstage throughout the show.
“Having performed it to a home crowd in February, we can’t wait for our festival performance. We’ve learnt a lot since then and have been hard at work in rehearsals to make our show bigger and better than ever. And we’re looking forward to seeing what some of the other companies in the region have created as well.”
Earlier this month, members from our sister venue The Workshop in King’s Lynn performed a radio play version of Hunt by Fionnuala Kennedy. Ten kids old enough to know better, revive an old childhood game that sees long-standing secrets dug up.
It was directed by Freddie Main, who said: “It was a grounded and relatable story. The characters were an authentic mix of young people that feel as though they are facing real issues. They talked about current things – gender, politics, class, wokeness, etc. All things I hear participants talk about often.
“It was great to have our first NT Connections project in King’s Lynn off the ground. It was exciting to work with participants on such an ambitious project.”
Danielle Gardner, The Garage’s assistant producer and performing arts tutor, added: “We’re really excited to have so many youngsters from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire coming to present work here, especially after the challenges of the past two years. We can’t wait to see the great pieces they have been working on at their home venues.
“Performing in a theatre space is an invaluable experience for youngsters interested in theatre and Connections really challenges participants in that way by giving them a new platform to perform on. The day will be jam-packed, including a tech rehearsal and workshop, followed by their performance and a chance to watch other’s work.”