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Ilkley Players Greenroom selected to perform at National Theatre Festival


Ilkley Players Greenroom has been selected to perform a new play on the Dorfman Theatre stage at the National Theatre as part of the 2023 Connections Festival from 20-24 June.


They will perform (Circle Dreams Around) The Terrible, Terrible Past, a new play by Simon Longman on Tuesday 20 June as one of ten companies representing the talent of young people across the UK at the 2023 Connections Festival. Ilkley Players Greenroom first performed the play at Connections partner theatre York Theatre Royal.


Ilkley Players have been running Saturday morning Drama classes for young people for more than 50 years, teaching students aged 8-18 utilising games, exercises, improvisation and script work, to instil both knowledge and love of the Arts.


The annual nationwide youth theatre festival, now in its 28th year, celebrates young talent with 5,600 young people aged 13-19 performing one of ten new plays from established and emerging playwrights including Shamser Sinha (Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree) and Lisa McGee (Derry Girls). 264 groups have had the opportunity to perform their selected play at one of our 36 leading partner venues, including York Theatre Royal.


These ten plays, commissioned by Connections for young people to perform, explore themes of justice, grief, love, teamwork, friendship, rural life, the end of the world and the climate emergency. Participants are involved in all aspects of the theatre making process both on and off stage and off. This includes getting involved with costume, lighting and set design.


Group leaders at Ilkley Players Greenroom, Andrew Leggott and Lisa Debney said, “We are delighted that our team has been selected to perform in the National Theatre Connections Festival this year. It will give our young people a stimulating and formative experience which they will remember and benefit from for the rest of their lives.”


Lizzie Meredith, a young participant aged 16, said, “In such a nonsensical play as Circle Dreams, it was definitely difficult to get to grips with some ideas and recurring themes in early rehearsals. However, in later rehearsals (when all lines were learnt, all movement created and all scenes blocked) there was time for us to truly understand the core of the play and learn our characters inside and out.”


Rufus Norris, Director of the National theatre said, “Watching talented young people from across the nation bring to life these new plays through the Connections Festival is a highlight of the National Theatre calendar. We hope all those who have participated this year have been inspired by what they have created and how they have created it. I can’t wait to see the Dorfman Theatre bursting with the talent from the selected ten groups as they represent the passion and imagination of young people today.”


To represent the vast range of young talent across the UK, Ilkley Players Greenroom and nine other companies have been invited to bring their performance to the Dorfman stage at the National Theatre.

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