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National Theatre Blog

An interview with the producer of Connections

Holly - Connections Producer
We caught up with Holly Aston, Producer, to learn a little bit more about Connections
Over to you, Holly...
1.       What is Connections?
Connections is the National Theatre’s amazing, nationwide, annual youth theatre programme. We offer the unique opportunity for youth and school theatre groups to stage one of ten brand new plays written for young people by some of the most exciting playwrights writing today and perform in a professional theatre venue.
2.       What is your role on Connections?
My role on Connections is that of the Producer, so I lead on managing all aspects of scheduling and organising Connections – from workshops for developing new plays, to the directors weekend, to home performances, to all the festivals. It’s a huge task and there are thousands of people involved, but luckily I have a fantastic team who work with me.
3.       Explain a bit about the UK wide part – how does this work?
Every year we partner with theatres across the UK who host Connections festivals regionally and support each company along the way. This means that every young person taking part in Connections 2018 will have the opportunity to perform their production on a professional stage near their home. This year we’ve worked with 28 partner theatres – you can see them all on our map here:
4.       What is your favourite part of Connections?
Definitely visiting the festivals and having the chance to see companies perform their plays – their work is just amazing. I took part in youth theatre when I was a teenager too and remember what a brilliant experience it was for me to be part of a theatre company at that point in my life. I don’t think I’d be working in theatre today if I hadn’t been lucky enough to have experienced performing as a young person.
5.       What are the biggest challenges of Connections?
It’s sooooooo busy – especially during festival season! You need to be super organised and keep a lot of plates spinning at once. But that’s ok, I love my job so I don’t mind.
6.       Why should people come and see the festival at the NT?
Because you’ll get to watch fantastic plays by some of the most exciting playwrights writing today and performed by incredibly talented young people. It’s the chance to see stars of tomorrow performing on the National Theatre stage today.
7.       What advice would you give for aspiring producers?
Be determined, ambitious and driven and create your own opportunities wherever you can. If there’s someone you admire or whose job you think you’d want in the future email to ask them for their career advice or ask if they’d be willing to speak to you about how they came to do that job. In my experience, people in the theatre industry are very generous with their time and supportive of aspiring producers.
8.       How would you describe Connections in 3 words?
Dynamic, exciting and really really cool! (that’s more than 3 words – I cheated)
Learn more about Connections Festival.
Tickets on sale from 25 May.