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A group of young people performing onstage, in 'Cable Street' by Lisa Goldman


Is Connections a competition?  
Connections is not a competition or an assessment of ability. Connections is a showcase of the national spread and the diversity of groups taking part. The companies chosen to perform at the NT Festival are selected by the Connections team, directors and writers. One production of each play will be transferred to the National Theatre festival in London. We do look for clarity and audibility, clear story-telling, conviction and energy in the cast, and pace. We like to see productions that have observed and realised the writer’s intentions for the play, as the NT Festival is also a showcase for the plays themselves. We are also interested in how groups respond to feedback from the Connections Director when transferring their play to the Partner Theatre Festival.  

How much does it cost, and are bursaries available?   
The cost for companies taking part in Connections 2023 will be £500. Bursaries are given on a case-by-case basis, and the bursary application forms a section of the initial application form. You will be expected to write a brief summary indicating why cost may be a barrier to your participation, and how a bursary might be used. You will find out if you have been successful in your bursary application when you are notified of your place on Connections 2023.    

Other than the fee, what other costs are involved?  
The costs incurred will vary from company to company. These could include travel, accommodation, rehearsal and production costs and venue hire. There is advice on fundraising in your Connections Handbook.  

When can I apply for Connections 2023?  
Applications for Connections 2023 are now are now closed.  

Can I enter two or more groups?  
We will accept more than one application from the same company, however we won't necessarily select both applications.   

Which Partner Theatre will I be working with?  
We will let you know by November 2022 which Partner Theatre you will be paired with.  When pairing companies, we look at the nearest Partner Theatre to your company, as this will have an impact on travel time/cost, audience numbers at your Partner Theatre performance and the likelihood of forming a lasting relationship with your local theatre. As a general rule, we aim to ensure companies are within 2 hours travel time from their Partner Theatre, although this is not always possible. For returning companies, we cannot guarantee that you will be paired with the same Partner Theatre as you have been previously.    

What happens if I'm not accepted on to Connections?  
We'll let you know in July 2022 whether your application has been successful. Even if you were unsuccessful in your application for Connections 2023, we would encourage you to apply for Connections 2024. Unless you indicate otherwise, we will also add you to a waiting list should any companies withdraw their application prior to the Directors’ Weekend.   

Can international companies take part?  
International companies will be able to attend the Directors' Weekend, but will not automatically receive a visit from a Connections Director, development notes or the opportunity to perform at a Partner Theatre Festival. If you would like a Connections Director to attend and are able to finance their trip yourself, then we are happy to organise and administrate this. If possible, we will also try to accommodate your company at a Partner Theatre Festival, but priority will go to UK companies. The fee for international companies is still the same as for UK companies.  

What about Covid-19?  
We continue to be mindful of Covid 19 and the way it impacts companies taking part in Connections. We remain optimistic that by 2023, restrictions and implications surrounding the global pandemic will have lifted. However, we are aware that we work across the entirety of the UK, and the situation in various parts of the UK may change with little notice. Therefore, we remain open and flexible to any challenges groups face, and group leaders may contact the Connections team at any time to discuss this.   
Can I make changes to the play text?   
Any changes must be discussed in advance with the Connections team, as the playwright will need to be informed. This includes cuts, edits or additional material such as improvisation, dance sequences, music etc.  
Can my students use Connections as part of a course they are studying?  
Yes. Many companies use the play as part of their BTEC, A-levels or Arts Award. This is something which must be arranged through your school/college. National Theatre Connections is not linked to exam boards. Performances must still fall in the time frame for Connections. For more information you should contact your Arts Award regional coordinator.  
I work with young people with Additional Support Needs and the play may be difficult for them - what are my options?   
We aim to make Connections as accessible as possible and, as such, all of the parts in each play can be played by a D/deaf or disabled performer. If you feel there are aspects of your chosen play that your cast would struggle with, please get in touch and we would be more than happy to discuss this.  
How do I acquire the rights to the plays?  
The NT holds the rights to plays commissioned for Connections for two months after the NT Connections Festival (in July). If the NT produces a professional play then the NT holds exclusive performance rights for the full duration of the run. If the NT does not produce a professional production, the rights are then released back to the writer. Until the option period or run has ceased the NT cannot release the rights for any of the plays.  After either of these periods has expired, if you wish to perform a past Connections script, you must contact the relevant writer’s agent to obtain the rights. Each year new Connections plays are published in an anthology, which also contains details of writers’ agents. When staging a Connections play, the following credit should be used: [TITLE OF PLAY] by [WRITER] was first commissioned and produced by National Theatre Connections in [YEAR OF PRODUCTION]  
How do you recruit Mentor Directors?    
The Connections Mentor Directors we work with are experienced, professional theatre makers. Their role is to offer advice, write Development Notes and to support companies at Partner Theatre festivals. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor Director, please email the Connections team with a copy of your CV, where in the UK you are based and why you would be interested in working on Connections.    


Photograph by Helen Murray 

Contact us

The Connections team is part of the NT Learning Department. 

Kirsten Adam

Jenny Wilkinson
Assistant Producer

Georgia Choudhuri 
Connections Assistant 

Ola Animashawun
NT Associate and Connections Dramaturg 

You can contact the Connections team on [email protected] 



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