Young people from Plympton Academy in Plymouth selected to perform at National Theatre 2024 Connections Festival

Daisy Hall
Authored by Daisy Hall
Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2024 - 20:31

Students from Plympton Academy from Plymouth have been selected to perform The Periodicals by Siân Owen on the Dorfman stage at the National Theatre on Thursday 27 June. 

Plympton Academy is one of ten groups selected to represent the vast range of talent from across the UK at the National Theatre Connections Festival from 25 – 29 June. Students from Plympton Academy will perform The Periodicals on Thursday 27 June, having first performed the play at Connections partner theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Plympton Academy is a secondary school in Plymouth that aims to create inclusive, imaginative, ambitious and meaningful theatre and challenge its students by allowing them creative input.

Now in its 29th year, the Connections Festival is an annual nationwide youth theatre festival that champions the talent of young people aged 13-19 from across the UK. Over 7,500 young people from 250 companies from Plymouth to Pitlochry have taken part this year, performing ten specially commissioned plays at one of 33 leading partner theatres this Spring.

Developed in consultation with young people, the festival showcases new plays performed by youth groups nationwide, exploring a range of themes including neurodiversity, cancel culture and mental health. 

Writers of this year’s plays include Mojisola Adebayo (Stars), and Charlie Josephine (Cowbois) as well as Elgan Rhys (Llais / Voice) who, in collaboration with Leo Drayton, has written Connections’ first play offered in both English and Welsh language scripts. Their play Dy Enw Marw (Your Name is Dead) will be performed by youth group Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, from Swansea, this summer in Welsh, making it the first full non-English play to be staged at the National Theatre.

Plympton Academy students have been invited to not only perform The Periodicals on the Dorfman stage, but also work backstage as stage crew and on the lighting and sound design for their production. Engaging in all levels of the theatre making process, these young people have the chance to develop new creative skills and learn more about backstage and offstage roles in the creative industry.

Jo Crook, Director of Performing Arts at Plympton Academy, said “Wow, what an experience it has been! The students have thrived creatively, socially and professionally because of the opportunity that Connections has given them. We are so grateful for every aspect of this experience and can't wait to perform on the Dorfman stage!”

Josh, a young participant aged 18, said “This production has been a gateway in creating a stronger community within the performing arts at our school, and has been a common interest which has sparked friendships all across year 10 to year 13. Taking part in the programme has personally allowed me to become more self aware with why and how I react the way I do to certain situations, as this play consists of many taboo and touchy subjects for young people, but we students and staff have used this play as a way of comfort, bonding, and spreading awareness.  I still can't believe we get to perform our play at the National Theatre!”

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said “It is one of my favourite times of year when the National Theatre is buzzing with excitement as these ten youth groups flood the building for Connections Festival. Connections is such a brilliant opportunity for young people from every corner of the UK to stage new plays and develop skills through the world of theatre-making both on stage and off, firing imagination and creativity that lasts a lifetime. To have our first ever full non-English play just spotlights the talent and creativity of the young theatre-makers nationwide. I can't wait to welcome them all to the National Theatre in June.”

To represent the vast range of young talent that has been on display through this year’s festival, ten companies will perform on the Dorfman stage at the National Theatre. The full festival schedule is:

Date and Time



Tuesday 25 June, 7pm

Back in the Day by Yasmeen Khan

The Folkestone School for Girls, Folkestone, Kent

Tuesday 25 June, 8:30pm

Orchestra by Charlie Josephine

Porthcawl Comprehensive School, Porthcawl, Wales

Wednesday 26 June, 7pm

Kiss / Marry / Push Off Cliff by Josh Azouz

Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Wednesday 26 June, 8:30pm

Shout by Alexis Zegerman

Stockton Riverside College, Stockton-on-Tees, Durham

Thursday 27 June, 7pm

Age is Revolting by Abi Zakarian

Queen’s Park High School, Chester, Cheshire

Thursday 27 June, 8:30pm

The Periodicals by Siân Owen

Plympton Academy, Plymouth, Devon

Friday 28 June, 7pm

Replica by Titas Halder

Sir Robert Pattinson Academy, Lincoln, Lincolnshire

Friday 28 June, 8:30pm

Dy Enw Marw (performed in Welsh) by Elgan Rhys in Collaboration with Leo Drayton

Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, Swansea, Wales

Saturday 29 June, 7pm

The Sad Club by Luke Barnes with music by Adam Pleeth

Spotlights Community Youth Theatre, Forfar, Scotland

Saturday 29 June, 8:30pm

Wind/Rush Generation(s) by Mojisola Adebayo

Make Sense Theatre Company (Villiers High School), Ealing, London

All performances will be captioned. Dy Enw Marw will be performed in Welsh with Welsh and English captions.

Tickets are £5 per performance, or £8 for two performances in an evening, and go on sale on Thursday 23 May. To book tickets visit the National Theatre Website.  

Applications for Connections 2025 are now open. To take part in the National Theatre's annual nationwide youth theatre festival’s 30th anniversary, visit the National Theatre website. Applications close on 8 July at midday.