17-year-old Alice Schofield from CAPA College in Wakefield, has won the National Theatre’s annual playwriting competition for 14 – 19-year-olds, New Views.
Alice’s play, If We Were Older, was chosen from over 300 entries and will be performed by professional actors at the National Theatre during its New Views Festival in July, alongside rehearsed readings of nine other shortlisted plays in the Dorfman Theatre.
If We Were Older was selected from a shortlist of ten plays by a panel of judges including NT Senior Dramaturg Nina Steiger, playwright James Graham (This House, Quiz), actor Michael Balogun (currently appearing in Rufus Norris’ production of Macbeth at the National Theatre) and NT Connections Dramaturg Ola Animashawun.
This year’s shortlisted plays sensitively explore a broad range of contemporary issues including immigration, sexuality, gender and mental health. Ranging from monologues to multi-media-infused ensemble pieces, each play introduces a fresh, new and exciting voice.
Alice Schofield said, "I have always loved watching and performing in theatre pieces, and New Views has given me the opportunity to appreciate theatre from a completely different angle. Through the process of learning about playwriting, I have been able to explore my own creativity and develop a completely new set of skills. The fact that my play is going to be staged at the National Theatre still feels totally surreal, and although I still feel like I'm dreaming, I couldn't be more thankful to have been given this opportunity of a lifetime."
James Graham, playwright and judge on this year’s panel, said, “There are so many challenges facing young people's access to the arts right now, so thank God something like NT's New Views exists. Its encouragement and mentoring of school age students to have the confidence to write a play is so important. I was taken aback by the talent and imagination, it was such a privilege to read a selection of them. Alice’s winning play is a really inspiring and moving exploration of sexuality and identity across the generations. It will be exciting to watch her, and the other writers, develop into the playwrights of tomorrow.”
Students taking part in New Views have had the opportunity to learn about playwriting from some of the finest writers in the industry and are encouraged to write 30-minute plays about issues that they feel passionate about Students follow an online course written by playwright Jemma Kennedy, with contributions from celebrated playwrights including Simon Stephens, Alecky Blythe and Roy Williams. They participate in in-school workshops with professional writers, as well as seeing NT Live broadcasts or productions at the NT, Continuing Professional Development for teachers and support from the National Theatre Learning Department.
This year the National Theatre has been working with over 65 schools nationwide and with an additional group of young people through a partnership programme with the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Performances of If We Were Older by Alice Schofield will take place on Wednesday 11, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 July at 5.30pm in the Dorfman Theatre.
Rehearsed readings of nine shortlisted plays will take place on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 July at 11.30am and 2pm in the Dorfman Theatre.
The schedule for the rehearsed readings is:
Thursday 12 July, 11.30am
£39 by Rachel Lane (The Beckett School, Nottingham)
It’s More than Okay Levi by Robert Samuel Lazarus (Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, Hertfordshire)
Thursday 12 July, 2pm
Ashes to Ashes by Sol Alberman (Camden School for Girls, London)
Blue is a Boy’s Colour by Star Gaze (Camden School for Girls, London)
Friday 13 July, 11.30am
Cleanse by George Jacques (Whitgift School, London)
See You Space Cowboy by Dara Hughes (The Skinners’ School, Kent
No Sympathy for the Devil by Luke Berridge (Wallington County Grammar School)
Friday 13 July, 2pm
A Broken Usra by Mohamed Elsandel (Woolwich Polytechnic School, London)
Holiday Destination by Miriam Warm (Allerton High School, Leeds)
Tickets are on sale from Monday 11 June 2018. To book tickets, visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk
New Views is supported by The Mohn Westlake Foundation, Old Possum’s Practical Trust, Chapman Charitable Trust, Golsoncott Foundation and The Steel Charitable Trust.
The National Theatre's Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.