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How it works

Young people in school uniform and sunglasses, 4 males looking at a female who is wearing a bold pink jacket

How it works

Connections is the National Theatre’s nationwide youth theatre festival. Each year it offers a unique opportunity for youth theatres and school theatre groups to stage new plays written for young people by some of theatre’s most exciting playwrights, and to perform in leading theatres across the UK.

This year we will work with 300 youth theatres and schools to stage ten fantastic plays especially commissioned by the National Theatre for Connections. We’ll provide all the support you’ll need and you’ll have the chance to stage your play in one of our leading partner theatres across the UK.

Connections 2019 will involve at least 5,000 talented young people from right across the UK, and inspire and entertain audiences with plays for and about young people that are current, challenging and resonant.


APPLY (2 April – 9 July 2018)
Applications will be open from Monday 2 April to Monday 9 July 2018 at 12 noon.

Once we have approved your application we will let you know if you have a place, no later than Friday 13 July 2018.
When you are given a place we will send you details of how to sign up to the Connections Community, which is our online hub to keep in touch with you. This is where you can access the ten play scripts to begin reading them over the summer.
Shortly afterwards you will also be issued with an invoice for your participation in Connections

SCRIPT SELECTION (Early September)
We will ask you to give us your first and second choice of script in early September. We ask for two choices because we need to ensure an even spread of plays at each Partner Theatre Festival.


DIRECTORS' WEEKEND (Friday 12 to Sunday 14 October 2018)
From Friday 12 to Sunday 14 October 2018 we host a weekend of workshops for the 300 directors of each Connections shows. Over the course of the weekend everyone will spend time working with the writer of their play alongside the other directors who are doing that script. You will also have the chance to take part in other workshops and theatre skills sessions.

The Directors' Weekend is a compulsory part of the Connections process, and we ask that everyone attends for the writer's session (Saturday), and at least one other day. You are of course welcome to come for the whole weekend, and can also bring additional directors subject to availably (an additional £100 fee applies).

REHEARSAL PERIOD (October – February)
This is when each director works with their company to rehearse their play ready for their Home Performances. At this time you will have contact with your fellow directors as well as the core Connections team via the Connections Community to ask any questions you have; share stories and problem solve.

HOME PERFORMANCE SEASON (February – April, exact dates to follow)
You can perform in your home venue up to five times. This could be your school, local theatre, church hall, institute etc. and is your chance to debut your Connections performance. We will send your NT Connections Director to watch one of these performances; they will meet you and your company after the show to ask you about your experience and then write detailed development notes for your Partner Theatre transfer.

PARTNER THEATRE SEASON (March – May, exact dates to follow)
All 300 companies will transfer from their home venues to a partner theatre. This is an exciting opportunity for you to showcase your performance on a professional stage as part of a youth theatre festival with fellow Connections companies. You will be supported by the teams at the theatre as well as your NT Connections Director.

NT FESTIVAL (June – July, exact dates to follow)
Ten companies will perform as part of the NT Connections festival to represent each of the 10 plays. This is an exciting celebration of all of the hard work which has taken place throughout the year.


Photograph by Richard Davenport.

Contact us

The Connections team is part of the NT Learning Department. 

Holly Aston

Adele Geddes
Assistant Producer

You can contact the Connections team on or 020 7452 3313

Connections is supported by The Mohn Westlake Foundation, The Buffini Chao Foundation, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Delta Air Lines, Jacqueline and Richard Worswick, The Peter Cundill Foundation, Mactaggart Third Fund, The EBM Charitable Trust, Samantha and Richard Campbell-Breeden, Susan Miller and Byron Grote, The Broughton Family Charitable Trust and The Derrill Allatt Foundation

The National Theatre's Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch

 Buffini Chao Foundation    Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation    Delta Airlines