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Theatre Nation Partnerships network extends to every region in England


Photo montage of a participant in a community play, artwork for The Ocean at the End of the Lane, a schools touring prlay and a young student in a classroom

Theatre Nation Partnerships is an innovative network of theatres and community organisations founded by the National Theatre in 2017 to grow nationwide engagement with theatre.

The new programme will reach over 500,000 audiences, artists and participants across England over three years.

New partner organisations joining the Theatre Nation Partnerships (TNP) network today are:

  • Restoke, Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall (Ambassador Theatre Group) in Stoke-on-Trent
  • New Theatre Peterborough & Key Theatre Peterborough with Selladoor Venues
  • Queen’s Theatre Barnstaple
  • The Landmark in Ilfracombe, North Devon with Selladoor Venues
  • Curve in Leicester
  • Trowbridge Town Hall

Together, the 14 partner organisations will engage over half a million people over three years, more than doubling the existing reach of the network.

Three productions will tour directly into schools in TNP areas over the next three years:

Shut Up, I’m Dreaming

A touring production of new play Shut Up, I’m Dreaming visiting 55 secondary schools across the country for 11 weeks from January 2023, reaching over 12,000 students.

Devised and directed by The PappyShow following residencies in three schools in Sunderland, Wolverhampton and
Wakefield to bring young people’s voices into the heart of the creative process, Shut Up, I’m Dreaming explores the ambitions, hopes and feelings of the next generation in an uncertain world.

The touring production will be accompanied by a post-show Q&A, teaching resources and professional development workshops for teachers.

Sucker Punch

A new TNP production of Roy Williams’ award-winning play Sucker Punch, produced by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, will be touring nationally to nine TNP organisations as well as
New Wolsey Theatre from March 2023.

Directed by Nathan Powell, Sucker Punch is a bruising
and funny play, winner of the Alfred Fagon Award, which explores being young and black in the 80s.

Further tours of landmark productions will take place in 2024 and 2025.

Other theatre

Already announced, an epic multi-version production of The Odyssey will be retold in five episodes created and performed by artists and communities in Stoke-on-Trent, Doncaster,
Trowbridge, Sunderland and at the National Theatre to mark the fifth anniversary of Public Acts, our nationwide initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community.

The acclaimed National Theatre production of The Ocean at the End of the Lane will also visit five TNP venues, opening at The Lowry in Salford in December 2022 and visiting Leicester Curve, Sunderland Empire, Regent Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre in 2023.

Speak Up

Speak Up which sees young people working in collaboration with local artists and teachers to lead creative projects will also extend to 55 schools including new areas of Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent and North Devon in January 2023.

This dynamic programme has been developed with Theatre Nation Partners to inspire young people to speak up about the issues that matter to them and will reach 140,000 young people nationwide.


Theatre Nation Partnerships is supported by a £1.25million award from Arts Council England, made possible by National Lottery players. The National Theatre will triple this  investment through further fundraising and commercial activity, and almost 90% of the total will be spent directly in partner areas.

Theatre Nation Partnerships has shown how effectively a network of theatres can work together to inspire new audiences for theatre, deepen roots within communities and create more opportunities for the next generation to engage in the arts. Our nationwide work is a key part of the National Theatre’s activity and we look forward to welcoming our new partners on board, learning from each other and creating an even bigger impact across the country over the next three years.

Rufus Norris, Director of National Theatre

We’re thrilled to be announced as a new partner area for the
Theatre Nation Partnerships network. This is a really exciting time both for our venues and for Stoke-on-Trent as this partnership will bring a range of productions to our stages. It will also allow us to engage with local communities and schools and help to provide a greater selection
of cultural offerings to the city.

Frazer Hoyle, Theatre Director for The Ambassador Theatre Group’s Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent