I am pleased and honoured to be making an appearance in MIND THE GAP, a new play by 16 year-old Zeyana Yussuf who co-won the National Theatre’s annual playwriting programme and competition for 15-19-year-olds, New Views*.
*New Views is the National Theatre’s annual playwriting programme and competition for 15-19-year-olds.
Over the course of the academic year, NT Learning works with over 60 schools nationally – from Southampton all the way to Scotland. The programme starts in September when teachers visit NT for a weekend of professional development workshops to prepare them to be able to deliver an online writing course in their school. A team of 17 professional playwrights (including Dawn King, Matt Hartley, Sabrina Mahfouz, Deborah Bruce and Evan Placey) go into schools to deliver workshops in the autumn term and students and teachers visit the NT to see productions (or their local cinema to see NT Live productions if they are based outside of London). At the end of February, students submit the first draft of a 30 minute play and the writers then go into school again and give one-to-one feedback to each student. Final drafts of scripts are submitted by students in April – this year there were over 300 submissions. The scripts are read by the professional writers who create a longlist of about 80 , which is then read by a team of people from across the NT and whittled down to a shortlist of 9. The final 9 scripts go off to a panel (this year made up of Ben Power, Lyndsey Turner and April de Angelis) who select a winning play which is given a full performance with a professional cast in the Temporary Theatre in July.
This year, for the first time, two plays jointly won the competition. The winning plays are Dissonant by 17-year-old Phoebe Duckmanton from Kesteven and Sleaford High School in Lincolnshire and Mind the Gap by 16-year-old Zeyana Yussuf from Eastbury Comprehensive School in London.