The National Theatre is touring a new production, Shut Up, I’m Dreaming, created by physical ensemble theatre company The PappyShow to state secondary schools across the country until 31st March 2023.

Directed by Kane Husbands and created in collaboration with secondary school students, the production is visiting a different school every day for 11 weeks across 11 areas in England. School halls across the country will be transformed with a gigantic moveable climbing frame set.

In partnership with local theatres, this widest-reaching schools touring production in NT history will be seen by 12,000 students in Outer East London & South Essex, Greater Manchester (Salford, Wigan and Rochdale), Wakefield, Doncaster, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Stoke, Leicester, Peterborough and North Devon.

In an innovative new collaboration with The PappyShow, residencies have been held with 100 students in three partner schools in Wakefield, Sunderland and Walsall to understand the experience of teenagers over the past few years and incorporate their voices into the piece. Shut Up, I’m Dreaming explores the hopes and dreams of young people in an uncertain world through an eclectic combination of movement, dance, music and audience participation.

The PappyShow is a physical theatre company which aims to platform marginalised identities and create diverse, joyful and collaborative productions rooted in the lived experience of their performers, bringing people together to move, dance, create moments of radical joy and share stories.

Kane Husbands, Director and Founder of The PappyShow said, “This new production, Shut Up, I’m Dreaming is a bright, brave response to our time. The research alone has been an incredible journey and we have been so inspired by how this next generation – our future change makers and leaders – have responded to us. At a time where we feel creativity is being removed from the curriculum, we believe taking performance and theatre directly to young people can inspire and make us dream of more, see things differently and connect us to our feelings. I hope we can inspire young people across the country to walk into and lead BIG Lives and to keep dreaming... their whole life.”

Rufus Norris, Artistic Director of the National Theatre said, “As the National Theatre, it’s imperative that we are working truly nationally and creating opportunities for young people to take part in and watch live theatre across the country. Through our expanding Theatre Nation Partnerships network, we are working in close collaboration with theatres nationwide to develop deep and sustained relationships within their communities and with local schools to create lasting impacts. We are thrilled to work with The PappyShow to create a unique show with young people, directly for young people, and inspire the next generation of leaders and creators”.

The cast includes Joseph Adelakun, Marc Benga, Jake Garvey, Lewis Griffin, Rachel-Leah Hosker, Rianna Kellman, Jeff D’Sangalang, Bianca Stephens, Molly Walker and Seda Yildiz.

The creative team includes set and costume designer Peter Butler, lighting designer Amy Mae, sound designer Roly Botha, composer Naomi Hammerton, songwriter Ty Lowe and assistant director Marc Benga.

The schools’ tour forms part of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnerships network to grow and sustain new audiences for live theatre and create more opportunities to engage in the arts. Our partner theatres include Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, Theatre Royal Wakefield, Cast in Doncaster, Sunderland Culture and Sunderland Empire, The Wolverhampton Grand, Curve in Leicester, Selladoor Venues in North Devon and Peterborough, Restoke, Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall in Stoke, Trowbridge Town Hall and The Lowry in Salford.

For more information about NT Learning and opportunities to take part please visit

Touring schedule

9 – 13 Jan
Outer East London & South Essex

16 – 20 Jan
Greater Manchester

23 – 27 Jan
Greater Manchester

30 Jan – 3 Feb

6 – 10 Feb

13 – 17 Feb

27 Feb – 3 Mar

6 – 10 Mar

13 – 17 Mar

20 - 25 Mar

27 – 31 Mar
North Devon