Plays

Advice for the Young at Heart

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

It’s 2011 and 1958 and London is rioting. Candice is ordered by her gang-leading boyfriend to lure Clint into a honeytrap. Haunted by her grandfather’s mistakes, she stands at a crossroads. Will she do as she’s told, or will she learn to be true to herself before history repeats itself?

A modern tale for riotous times, commissioned and developed by Theatre Centre, Advice for the Young at Heart examines 2011’s unrest against the background of the 1958 race riots, exploring themes of race, family and misguided loyalty. A new play for young people aged 14+.

Advice for the Young at Heart was first performed at Redbridge Drama Centre, London, on 12 September 2013.

At the Inland Sea

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

At The Inland Sea is a strange, searing, dream-like play, showing a child coming face to face with humanity, and all its horror and neglect.

As a boy prepares for the first day of his exams, fussed over by his mother, he meets a woman from the past, and her baby, and the soldiers with rifles who are coming to take them away. The woman tells him about the hardness of her life, and demands a story from him, which will stop the soldiers, but the boy can’t find one that will work. Following his desperate search for a story to save them, the play is a struggle of imagination and compassion, the crux of humanity.

At The Inland Sea is subtitled a play for young people; it was written for the Big Brum Theatre-in-Education company, and was toured to schools and colleges in the West Midlands in 1995.

Banana Boys

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Evan Placey's Banana Boys is a play about the challenges of being on the school football team – and secretly gay. It was commissioned by Hampstead Theatre’s youth theatre company, heat&light, and first performed at Hampstead Theatre, London, on 9 December 2011.

The play revolves around the friendship between two sixteen-year-old boys, Calum and Cameron, who become obsessed with American girl-group, The Banana Girls.

In an introduction to the published script in Girls Like That and other plays for teenagers (Nick Hern Books, 2016), Placey writes: 'Growing up queer there weren’t many young gay role models to look up to. So instead I looked up to music divas. I’m not sure what it was, but there was something about their power, their confidence, and their absolutely being at ease in their own skin that left me in awe. And so the opportunity to create my very own group of divas, The Banana Girls, was irresistible. My favourite films as a teen were the romcoms, except the queer characters didn’t exist in them, never mind being forefront. So it was my chance to rectify the past.'

The Hampstead Theatre premiere was directed by Debra Glazer and designed by Robbie Sinnott. It was performed by members of heat&light youth theatre.

The Bedbug

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Ivan Varlet is making a class change. As he prepares to marry his bourgeois bride, the former mechanic casts off his socialist acquaintances and re-invents himself as ‘Ivor Violet’. Before he can embark on his new life, however, a fire at the wedding kills all the guests, and sees Ivan trapped in the ice cellar, frozen into a state of cryogenesis. Fifty years later, after the creation of a global socialist state following a world war, Ivan is unfrozen into an unrecognizable Russia. He swears, drinks, smokes and feels in a state that eschews pleasure and emotion. He causes women to lose their senses at the plucking of his guitar, and hospitalises men with his introduction of beer. Before this ‘early mammal’ can cause more social unrest, he is brought to the civic zoo and displayed as a specimen of society’s primitive past, where school children can feed him with cigarettes and alcohol.

A satire on the distrust of authority and the threat of the independent voice to the socialist system, Vladimir Mayakovsky’s 1929 original was written at a time of growing disillusion with the Soviet Union. The Bedbug, adapted by Snoo Wilson, was commissioned by the National Theatre as one of six new plays, adaptations or translations for the 1995 BT National Connections, a collection of contemporary plays for young people.

Birdboy

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

On an ancient fortress, two boys swear a pact of friendship. Eddie and Tim create their own den up on the Knoll, a secret place for heroes. The only problem is, winter is setting in and Eddie won't come down. As the snow falls, Tim must decide whether to take food to Eddie or betray him by telling the grown ups where he is. It is a play about transitions from childhood to adolescence, from loner to friend.

Blackbirds

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Blackbirds is the play that emerged from the London Bubble Theatre's research and interviews of South Londoners who lived through the Blitz between 1940 and 1941. Using personal testimony, physical theatre and the combined skills of a cast of contemporary Londoners ranging in age from 7 to 78, the play explores the experiences and events that made London the city that we know today. For use in schools, colleges, community groups and youth theatres.

Brainstorm

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Brainstorm is an ensemble community play exploring how teenagers’ brains work, and why they’re designed by evolution to be the way they are. It was created by Ned Glasier and Emily Lim with Company Three (formerly Islington Community Theatre), in collaboration with neuroscientists Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Dr Kate Mills. The play was designed to be adapted and performed by a company of teenagers, drawing directly on their personal experiences.

A scratch version of Brainstorm was performed at Platform Islington in March 2013. The version of the show published by Nick Hern Books was first performed at Park Theatre, London, in January 2015, then at the National Theatre, London, in July 2015 and April 2016.

Originally formed as Islington Community Theatre in 2008, Company Three is a theatre company working with young people aged 11–19, all referred or nominated by teachers and youth workers.

The 2015 premiere of Brainstorm was directed by Ned Glasier and Emily Lim, and designed by Charlie Damigos. It was performed by Michael Adewale, Doyin Ajiboye, Sama Aunallah, Yaamin Chowdhury, Jack Hughes, Noah Landoni, Dylan Lubo, Gracia Kayindo, Romeo Mika, Kassius Nelson, Tyrel Phan, Serafina Willow and Segen Yosife.

Broken Biscuits

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tom Wells's play Broken Biscuits is a coming-of-age story about three teenagers who decide to solve their personal problems by forming a band. It was first performed at Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, on 5 October 2016, at the start of a UK tour, in a co-production by Paines Plough and Live Theatre.

The play takes place in Megan's shed. Megan and her friends Holly and Ben are sixteen-year-old school leavers who by their own admission are 'total losers'. Determined to reinvent themselves for the start of the college term, Megan co-opts Holly and Ben into forming a band, armed with a drum kit and a tin of broken biscuits.

The premiere production was directed by James Grieve and designed by Lily Arnold, with songs by Matthew Robins. It was performed by Faye Christall as Megan, Grace Hogg-Robinson as Holly and Andrew Reed as Ben.

BU21

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Stuart Slade's play BU21 is about six young people caught in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in the heart of London.

It was first performed at Theatre503, London, in association with Kuleshov, on 15 March 2016, and transferred to the Trafalgar Studios, London, on 11 January 2017 (previews from 4 January).

The play is structured as a series of interlocking monologues, with occasional sequences of dialogue between the characters. The monologues are presented in 'verbatim' style, as six members of a survivors’ group relive their reaction to an attack in which a passenger plane has been brought down over Fulham, southwest London, by a surface-to-air missile. As they relate their individual experiences, links begin to emerge between the characters. Alex, an arrogant banker whose girlfriend has died in the disaster, hooks up with Izzy, who has lost her mother. Floss, a posh student, is linked by unusual circumstances to Clive, a devout Muslim whose cardiologist dad died in the crash. Roxana, a Romanian with severe burns, secretly despises Graham, a bigoted van driver who profits from his eyewitness account of the event. The play explores the different and often surprising ways they try to cope with their traumatic experiences.

The character names in the published script are those of the actors who played them in the first production. An author's note alongside the list of characters states that, 'In performance, actors’ real names should replace these character names wherever possible'.

The first production of BU21 was directed by Dan Pick and designed by Alex Doidge-Green. It was performed by Alex Forsyth, Roxana Lupu, Clive Keene, Florence Roberts, Graham O’Mara and Isabella Laughland.

Burying Your Brother in the Pavement

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jack Thorne's Burying Your Brother in the Pavement is a play that tackles the story of a teenage boy grieving for his dead brother with emotional honesty and imaginative flair. Written specifically for young people, it was commissioned as part of the 2008 National Theatre Connections Festival and premiered by youth theatres across the UK, including a performance at the National Theatre in July 2008.

The play revolves around Tom, 'an ordinary-looking teenager in his early teens'. He is first encountered hiding in the attic to escape the traumatic funeral wake for his brother, Luke, which is taking place in the house below. Luke died on the streets of the dingy, crime-ridden Tunstall Estate, his neck slashed by a broken bottle. The world outside, reflected through Tom's vivid imagination, is colourful and surreal: he is the second coming of Christ; his teacher, Mr Wilkins, has sex with a blow-up doll; people break out unexpectedly into music-hall routines. Tom hatches a plan to bury his brother under the pavement where he died, and camps out there, meeting a succession of characters: planning officials, tramps, undertakers, police officers, sisters, mothers, estate agents, ghosts, pavement elephants, sky dragons and a boy called Tight who wants to sell him a Travelcard. It transpires that Luke had sneaked off to the Tunstall Estate because he was secretly gay and had a crush on a poor boy there. In a further twist, Tom discovers that his brother's death wasn’t in fact a street crime but suicide born of shame. As the ghost of his dead brother says, “I felt crushed, so I crushed myself.”

In a production note accompanying the text, Thorne states: 'The most important thing is that this play is kept scruffy – nothing is beautiful – everything is quick and swiftly accomplished. This should look like a piece of theatre achieved on the bounce and stuffed full of life.'

Care Takers

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Ms Lawson, a new teacher at Newall South High School, believes Jamie Harrow is being bullied because he's gay. She wants to help but Mrs Rutter, the Deputy Head, thinks it will sort itself out. Is Mrs Rutter speaking from experience or is there something more unsavoury about her uncaring attitude? A battle royale occurs between youthful idealism and the system that evolves to choke it.

Most plays that deal with homophobia in schools look at the children in the playground, but what happens when the people in charge of our children are homophobic? Care Takers is an intense two-hander that follows a new teacher who tries to do something about one of her pupils who is being bullied for being gay.

Homophobia remains a fault-line in our society and especially in our multicultural, inner-city schools where original research undertaken by writer Billy Cowan showed these tensions are still very real. The play shows how complicated things have become for teachers in these schools when it comes to dealing with homophobic bullying, and how vulnerable young gay people still are in these environments – especially if the system gets in the way of their safety.

Includes Teachers' Resources to aid structured discussion and exploration of the themes raised in schools, colleges and beyond. Care Takers is part of an Edge Hill University (Birmingham, UK) research project on homophobia; and can be used as a source text for all those interested in the impact of creative practices in health, psychological well-being and enhancing social inclusion of people (hospitals, social and community centres, mental health centres, schools, and museums).

The Children (Bond)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A disturbed mother sends her son, Joe, to burn down a house in an adjacent estate. Manipulating him until he agrees, she abandons him to his fate once he has completed this task. Worse still, the house was not as empty as he thought when he set it alight.

Fleeing from the law, his friends join him on a journey though an increasingly barren and often violent landscape. Despite the difficulty of their situation and the continuing fragmentation of their community, they nonetheless find the spirit and energy to be compassionate to others – particularly a tramp who cannot walk. But the question remains; how will this compassion be rewarded?

The Children was first presented by Classworks Theatre on 11 February 2000 at Manor Community College, Cambridge. The parts of the children were played by pupils from the college. It went on to tour to seventeen venues; in each new venue a different cast of young people played, with only the actors playing Mum and Man remaining constant throughout the tour.

Christmas is Miles Away  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Chloë Moss's play Christmas Is Miles Away is a coming-of-age drama set in Manchester at the end of the 1980s. It was first performed at The Studio, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, on 2 November 2005, transferring to the Bush Theatre, London, in February 2006.

The play's action takes place in Manchester between February 1989 and October 1991. The play opens as best friends Christie and Luke, both sixteen, are camping out in a field not far from their homes. Christie is consumed with anxiety about whether he can pluck up the courage to ask Julie Bridges out on a date. Luke, brasher and more confident, offers to step in on his behalf and, in so doing, starts off a chain of events that will force a wedge between the two boys.

The premiere production was directed by Sarah Frankcom and designed by Jamie Todd. It was performed by David Judge (as Christie), Paul Stocker (as Luke) and Georgia Taylor (as Julie).

Cinderella

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Cinderella is a play about a journey from darkness to light, from sickness to health. Everyone in the play is under the influence of some kind of loss, and the play explores these feelings and the sometimes painful route one must take to accomodate them and move on in life. 'This adaptation of the world’s best-loved fairytale is not to be missed. A Christmas treat for all the family, whether one is five or 95.’ Morning Star

Citizenship

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Citizenship is a bittersweet one-act comedy about growing up, following a boy's frank and messy search to discover his sexual identity.

Tom dreams of being kissed, but he’s not sure whether by a man or by a woman, and he feels he should choose pretty quickly. His friends’ homophobic teasing and interrogations about what he did with his friend Amy the other night leave Tom no space to make up his mind, and he’s got no one to ask for advice, except maybe people on the internet.

Citizenship captures adolescent confusion with a witty and sensitive charm, crackling with humorous and authentic dialogue.

Ravenhill’s play was developed as part of the National Theatre Connections 2005 Programme and premiered in the Cottesloe at the National Theatre, London.

Close To Home

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Jay's little sister is pregnant and he's livid – who's he going to punish?

Cockroach

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Sam Holcroft's play Cockroach depicts a world infected by violence, exploring Darwin's theory of evolution and the apparent male propensity for war. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 23 October 2008, in a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland.

The play is set in a classroom in a seemingly normal modern-day comprehensive school. While Beth, the teacher, instructs the unruly pupils in the principles of natural selection, the boys are being called up to fight in some unspecified conflict that rages on in the world outside. Beth believes that only education will set her pupils free, but, despite her best efforts, the tide of conflict is soon lapping at the school gates. One by one, pupils and teacher are pulled under as their hopes and dreams float away from them. In a central recurring image, the girls clean the torn and bloodied uniforms of dead soldiers.

The premiere production was directed by Vicky Featherstone and designed by Naomi Wilkinson. It was performed by Frances Ashman, Ryan Fletcher, Meg Fraser (as Beth), Laura McMonagle, Helen Mallon and Owen Whitelaw.

Consensual

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Evan Placey's Consensual is a play about a pupil-teacher relationship that has overstepped the mark. It was first performed by the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain at Ambassadors Theatre, London, on 18 September 2015.

The play's action revolves around a British secondary school, with an ensemble group of students maintaining an insistent presence throughout the first half. Diane is a teacher and Head of Year 11, charged with implementing the new ‘Healthy Relationships’ curriculum. Seven years ago, as a 22-year-old teaching assistant, she made a mistake: she got too close to one of her unhappy 15-year-old pupils, Freddie. Now she is a fully-qualified teacher and heavily pregnant, and Freddie has turned up. Lost and unhappy, he's intent on pressing charges. Though we see both of their stories, in the first half we're never sure the truth of what happened. While Diane tries to teach a bunch of teenagers SRE – the new educational buzzword for Sex and Relationships Education – her world unravels in the background. Freddie, meanwhile, is undermined and ridiculed by his brother for going to the police. At the time, he crowed about his conquest. Unsettlingly, who is right and who is wrong is not clear cut.

The National Youth Theatre production was directed by Pia Furtado and designed by Cecilia Carey. The cast was Lauren Lyle, Oscar Porter-Brentford, Grace Surey, Megan Parkinson, Conor Neaves, Cole Edwards, Oliver West, Luke Pierre, Gavi Singh Chera, Jason Imlach, Oliver West, Andrew Hanratty, Francene Turner, Melissa Taylor, Alice Feetham, Paris Iris Campbell and Ellise Chappell.

Decades

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Modern life isn't easy and it never has been.

This explosive play by Leo Butler transports us through time, looking at what happens when the next generation begin to find their feet in an ever-changing world.

Through a kaleidoscope of characters, we see tensions rocket and values crumble, exposing the best and worst of what it means to be human.

This epic roller coaster of a play combines euphoria and despair as different generations of young people ask the same question: where do we go from here?

Decades received its world premiere at Ovalhouse, London, on 7 June 2016, in a production by Brit School for Performing Arts and Technology.

Derek

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Derek is a short farce with the significance of social commentary, telling a story of waste and exploitation.

The aristocratic Biff is the proud possessor of an Eton education, a Sandhurst polishing, and a mental age of a ten-year-old. To his disgust, some people have pointed out that because of the latter he should not be made a Member of Parliament. So Biff needs a genius desperate enough to sell his brain, and finds Derek, a floor-sweeper who has just outsmarted a safe and stolen two million pounds.

The play is a comic but sharp critique of social stratifications which allow those with a privileged background to steal the life and self of those less fortunate, and send them to die in wars they don’t understand.

Derek was first performed in 1982 at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Youth Festival at The Other Place, Stratford Upon Avon.

Devotion

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Do you believe in paradise? Do you believe in family? Do you believe in god? Do you believe in war? Commissioned and toured by the Theatre Centre, Leo Butler exposes war and its aftermath among a group of confused young people in this George Devine Award-winning piece of theatre.

The Domino Effect

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Fin Kennedy’s The Domino Effect is an ensemble play for teenage performers developed by Kennedy with his long-term collaborators, Mulberry School for Girls in Shadwell, East London. Incorporating dance and physical theatre sequences, the play revolves around a central character who is mute, and explores ideas about fate, self-determination and the law of unintended consequences. It was first performed by Mulberry Theatre Company at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe on 4 August 2014.

The play is set in the East End of London. Amina Rahman is fifteen and never speaks – a silent protest against a world in which bad things always seem to happen to good people. Instead, she retreats into fantasy. But when her mother walks out, Amina is left to fend for herself. It takes an ancient set of dominoes, and a mysterious antiques dealer, for Amina to discover her power. The antiques dealer teaches her how small actions lead to big effects, and how to master the law of unintended consequences.

In an introduction accompanying the published text, Fin Kennedy writes: 'The Domino Effect was conceived in summer 2013, while on a short break in France in which I watched again one of my favourite films, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amélie. Hang on, I thought. This is a Mulberry story. Set in the inner city, with a teenage girl at its heart, Amélie is about an introvert with an overactive imagination, which starts to spill out into the real world, until even she isn’t sure what is and isn’t real. I often met young women like this in Mulberry, and it seemed a good opportunity to develop a play looking at the interior worlds of these more introverted students (who are also not always the easiest students to engage in Drama). I started to wonder, what would an East London version of Amélie look like?'

The Mulberry School production was directed by Shona Davidson and designed by Barbara Fuchs.

The Dream Collector

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Fin Kennedy’s The Dream Collector is an ensemble play for teenage performers, the fifth developed by Kennedy with his long-term collaborators, Mulberry School for Girls in Shadwell, East London – but this time also involving students from a second local school, St Paul’s Way Trust School in Bow.

It was first performed by Mulberry Theatre Company, as the inaugural production at the Mulberry and Bigland Green Centre, in November 2013, with a parallel premiere production performed at St Paul’s Way Trust School in December 2013.

The play follows a school group who go on a Media Studies trip to an isolated country house which once belonged to a movie pioneer, Charles Somna. Upon arriving, they discover that Somna was responsible for much more than the creation of mere movies – as the inventor of the Somnagraph he had built the world’s first machine for screening your dreams. Once they step through the movie screen and enter the Dreamworld, each of the young friends meets their dream double, the sinister Neverborn.

In an author's note published with the script, Kennedy writes: 'The play has been written for sixteen young actors aged fourteen to sixteen. One group is a ‘Real World’ twenty-first-century group of school students from East London. These eight all have names and individual identities. The other is an ensemble cast of eight who inhabit the ‘Dream World’. They are known as the Neverborn. Their world is like a black-and-white film, and is stylised and movement-based. They bring to life the other cast’s dreams, and share lines as a chorus. Each Real World cast member has a Neverborn who shadows them, and plays them in their dream sequence. This means there needs to be a minimum of eight Neverborn, but there could be more if a larger cast is available.'

The Mulberry Theatre Company production was directed by Shona Davidson and designed by Barbara Fuchs and Afsana Begum. The St Paul’s Way Trust School production was directed by Kelly Jasor.

Epic Love and Pop Songs

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s play Epic Love and Pop Songs is a two-hander about teenage friendship and the pressures of growing up. It was first performed at Pleasance Dome as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on 6 August 2016, produced by Showroom.

The play's action is narrated, largely in direct address to the audience, by two sixteen-year-old characters, Doll and Ted. Doll has attitude and a pregnancy bump, while Ted – her friend, but not her boyfriend – is shy and vulnerable. It transpires that the pregnancy is Doll's fantasy, aimed partly at getting her mother's attention, partly at proving to her school friends that she's sexually active. Meanwhile, Ted's family is falling apart under the strain of coping with his sister's death, and in Doll he has found someone to love and protect. But as Doll's lie unravels, their friendship is tested to the limit.

An author's note included in the published playtext explains that 'Ted and Doll are the storytellers and this play is all about how you spin a tale. The set is negotiable, there could be a bed and a chair, a teenage bedroom from which a world is created, or nothing at all.'

The Edinburgh Fringe premiere was directed by Jamie Jackson and directed by Anna Reid, with Norah Lopez Holden as Doll and George Caple as Ted.

Eye of the Storm

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Produced by companies in Britain and Ireland, the play offers a contemporary version of Shakespeare's The Tempest, exploring father/daughter relationships and the need for independence. For 12 years and over.

The Fall

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

James Fritz’s The Fall is a play about ageing and intergenerational differences, written to be performed by young people. It was first performed by the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain at the Finborough Theatre, London, on 9 August 2016.

The play comprises three loosely connected scenes. In 'First', two young people, Boy and Girl, encounter a dead body for the first time. In 'Second', set 'years later', a married couple, One and Two, experience difficulty and frustration while caring for an ageing parent and supporting their child. In 'Third', again set 'years later', four older people, A, B, C and D, try to accommodate themselves to straitened circumstances in an institutional room intended for two, repeatedly tempted by the offer of cash settlements for their families if they agree to be euthanised.

The National Youth Theatre premiere was directed by Matt Harrison and designed by Chris Hone. The cast was Simeon Blake-Hall, Ben Butler, Oliver Clayton, Matilda Doran-Cobham, Hannah Farnhill, James Morley, Katya Morrison and LaTanya Peterkin.

Fast

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Fin Kennedy’s play Fast is an ensemble play for teenage performers commissioned by Y Touring, an established theatre company that produces and tours plays for young people about complex, science-based issues. It explores issues around fasting, diet, food production and food security. The play was workshopped at Regent High School in Camden, London, before being performed as part of a young people’s summer school run by Y Touring on 22 August 2014.

The play is set among a group of Year 11 classmates (fifteen to sixteen years old) of mixed social backgrounds, in an unnamed state secondary school, in a medium-sized British town, near to some countryside. Cara, a sixteen-year-old student, is from a farming family, and we learn that one year previously her father had killed himself. When Cara’s school holds a twenty-four-hour fast in aid of Oxfam, Cara decides she will not eat again until Tesco’s and the other suppliers, whom she holds responsible for driving her father to suicide, are held to account.

The Y Touring premiere was directed by Dominique Poulter and Nathan Bryon and designed by The Company.

Geraniums

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Recreating London's East End in 1936 with historical accuracy, the play contrasts personal and political choices for a group of young Jewish people at the time of the Battle of Cable Street with those of young people today.

ghost-tag

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Rhiannon looks like a small town girl and single mother; but her nightlife as a graffiti artist means her tag (ghost) has become admired around the world. One fateful night she saves a copper's life while out tagging and wildstyling and realises she must now move on.

Girls Like That

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Evan Placey's Girls Like That is an ensemble play exploring the pressures on young people today in the wake of advancing technology. It was specially commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Theatre Royal Plymouth. It was first performed by The Young REP as part of The Young Rep Festival at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham, on 12 July 2013; the West Yorkshire Playhouse Youth Theatre at the Courtyard Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, on 18 July 2013; and by the Theatre Royal Plymouth Young Company at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, on 14 August 2013.

When a naked photograph of schoolgirl Scarlett goes viral, rumours spread across smartphones like wildfire and her reputation becomes toxic, threatening to shatter the fragile unity of the girls she has grown up with. But how long can Scarlett remain silent? And why isn't it the same for boys? Using music and dance sequences, and featuring shifts in time to explore the evolution of feminist consciousness, the play focuses on adolescent female friendship in the present day and its fragility in the face of societal and cultural pressures.

The premiere productions were directed by Daniel Tyler (Birmingham Rep), Gemma Woffinden (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Beth Shouler (Theatre Royal, Plymouth).

In January 2014, members of the West Yorkshire Playhouse Youth Theatre travelled to Westminster to perform an extract from the play in Parliament as part of the launch of YoungMinds Vs, a new children’s mental health campaign.

The play was revived at the Unicorn Theatre, London, on 6 November 2014 in a co-production by the Unicorn and Synergy Theatre, directed by Esther Baker and designed by Katy McPhee.

The play was awarded Best Play for Young Audiences at the 2015 Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards.

The Girl who fell through a hole in her Jumper

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A young girl falls through a hole in her jumper into a fantastical world where nothing is quite what it seems. By confronting tyrants, solving riddles and befriending the downtrodden, she finally gets back home.

The Golden Goose

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

A comedy for all the family that blends the Brothers Grimm folk tale with elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Once upon a time there was a boy called Dummling and everyone believed he was stupid just because of his name. He lived in a poor cottage in the woods with his mother and brother. One day he meets an old man in the woods and shares his humble supper with him. The man, is in fact the King of the fairies and a direct descendant of Oberon. He and his Queen, Titania need to get a worthy and humane king on the throne of the blighted land in which they live, a king who will save the forest in which the fairies live from destruction. The Fairy King gives Dummling good luck in the form of a magical golden goose. When he takes it home his mother and brother try to take it from him but once they touch the goose they find they cannot let go and what’s more they find that they cannot stop running. Run they must and run they do all the way to the palace where, as it chances, there resides the very mirror of their own family – but posh. The King Conrad has two daughters, Dajona who won’t laugh and Birgit who won’t stop. The King has sent out a proclamation that whoever makes his daughter laugh can have her hand in marriage, and thus be in line for the throne. When Dajona sees the Golden Goose and the people stuck to it, running for all they are worth she bursts out laughing. The King is thrilled until he discovers that the boy who made her laugh is called Dummling and is a peasant. He sends Dummling on two ridiculous quests but Dummling, with the help of the fairy kingdom succeeds in fulfilling both and thus – eventually becomes King thus completing a bloodless revolution and saving the Fairy Kingdom.

Gorgeous

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Considers Victorian values and how they affect young women today.

Holloway Jones

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Evan Placey's Holloway Jones is a play about a teenage girl in foster care. It was commissioned and produced by Synergy Theatre Project, and was first performed at the Unicorn Theatre, London, on 2 November 2011, following a tour to schools and pupil referral units. It won the 2012 Brian Way Award for Best Play for Young People.

The play is set primarily in London, between 2008 and 2012. Holloway Jones is sixteen, her Mum is in prison and she is in foster care. Despite all this, her life is on track. She has a goal and is training hard for a place in the BMX Olympic Talent Team. But when she falls for charming, generous bad boy Avery, things start to unravel fast. Suddenly she’s in too deep, involved in the kind of joint enterprise that it is very hard to walk away from.

The Synergy production was directed by Esther Baker and designed by Katy McPhee. It was performed by Danielle Vitalis (as Holloway Jones), Doreene Blackstock, Mandeep Dhillon, Holli Dempsey, Femi Wilhelm, Frank Prosper and Karl Smith.

I Caught Crabs in Walberswick  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Joel Horwood's play I Caught Crabs in Walberswick is a drama about teenage hopes, dreams and frustrations in rural East Anglia. It was first performed as part of the HighTide Festival 2008 at The Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk on 2 May 2008, in a co-production with Eastern Angles.

The production transferred to the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, on 1 August 2008, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and then toured from 3 September to 11 October 2008. It transferred to The Bush Theatre, London, on 11 November 2008.

The play is set on a sweltering summer's day in Walberswick, a sleepy Suffolk village known for hosting the British Open Crabbing Championship. Fitz and Wheeler are two sixteen-year-old boys from nearby Reydon who ought to be revising for their last GCSE exams, but instead have gone crabbing. Wheeler is a high-flying comprehensive kid destined for university, while football-mad Fitz is struggling to cope with his dysfunctional father and his schoolwork. They are ambushed by Dani, the most desirable girl on the beach. So begins a crazy twenty-four hours that will change the lives of the three sixteen-year-olds forever.

The premiere production at HighTide was directed by Lucy Kerbel and designed by takis. It was performed by Joseph Arkley (as Fitz), David Hartley (as Wheeler), Matti Houghton (as Dani), Paul Trussell and Judith Scott.

Junkyard  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Jack Thorne's Junkyard is a play, with music by Stephen Warbeck, about the creation of a playground out of junk. It was first performed at Bristol Old Vic Theatre on 2 March 2017 (previews from 24 February), in a co-production between Headlong, Bristol Old Vic, Rose Theatre Kingston and Theatr Clwyd.

The play's action takes place in a playground in Lockleaze, Bristol, in 1979. A group of kids from a Bristol school, seen as misfits and disregarded simply for coming from troubled backgrounds, are invited by a man named Rick to join him in building an adventure playground on a plot the headmaster has earmarked for the new maths block. Initially suspicious of the project, they nonetheless hang about watching Rick at work, feigning lack of interest but making bonds. By the end of the summer, they would die to defend the playground, and one of them almost does.

In an Introduction to the published script, Jack Thorne writes that the play was inspired by his own father and the 'junk playground he built with some kids at Lockleaze School in Bristol... But Junkyard is not about my dad... Rather,

it’s an attempt to walk the high wire he walked – and to tell the truth about the type of kids who built these playgrounds, the places they come from, the lives they lead.'

The premiere production was directed by Jeremy Herrin and designed by Chiara Stephenson. It was performed by Scarlett Brookes, Calum Callaghan (as Rick), Josef Davies, Erin Doherty, Kevin McMonagle, Enyi Okoronkwo, Seyi Omooba, Lisa Palfrey, Jack Riddiford and Ciaran Alexander Stewart

Kindness

Playwrights Canada Press
Type: Text

Heartwarming and humorous, Kindness sensitively captures the reality of children's feelings as they navigate the small and large events in their world. From Hurricane Katrina to everyday encounters in the school hallway, the play offers an unforgettable lesson in compassion.

Layla's Room

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

For Layla, every day is a battleground. The pay gap, the thigh gap, over-sexed pop and selfies that are photoshopped – they’re just part of the world she lives in.

But that world is about to change. While breaking out of her bedroom – and with drama, comedy, poetry and music as her weapons – Layla breaks down and makes sense of the realities, difficulties and absurdities of teenage life in the UK today.

Collected from a bespoke national survey, the voices of a thousand UK teens are brought to life in Layla. Their ambitions, concerns, role-models and regrets are woven together by award-winning Sabrina Mahfouz and theatre company Theatre Centre, offering a hard-hitting, yet hopeful, story.

The Light Burns Blue

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Silva Semerciyan's The Light Burns Blue is a play inspired by the true story of the Cottingley Fairies: the case of two young cousins, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, who in 1917, having purportedly taken photographs of real fairies near their home in Cottingley, Yorkshire, were invited by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Holmes) to speak at a conference in London about their supernatural encounters.

The play was commissioned by Tonic Theatre in partnership with Nick Hern Books as part of Platform, an initiative comprising a series of big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for performance by school, college and youth-theatre groups, with the aim of addressing gender imbalance and inequality in theatre.

The Light Burns Blue was published on 11 June 2015, along with two other plays inaugurating the Platform series: by This Changes Everything by Joel Horwood and Second Person Narrative by Jemma Kennedy.

The play's action takes place over the summer of 1917 in the village of Cottingley and in London. The scenes flash back and forth between Cottingley around the time when the photographs were taken, and the London hotel where excited supporters have gathered to hear for themselves about the supposed evidence for another world. Winifred, a sceptical reporter from a local newspaper, has disguised herself as an adolescent girl in order to infiltrate the Cottingley coterie, and is now about to expose Elsie and Frances as frauds. But as she looks at the facts, she begins to think there's more to Elsie's story than a simple hoax.

The play was first performed at the Bristol Old Vic on 15 April 2015 in a production directed by Lisa Gregan and designed by Max Johns.

Listen To Your Parents

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Gives us a teenager's view of domestic violence through poetry and football. Winner of the Commission of Racial Equality Race in the Media Award.

Look At Me

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Uses theatricality to explore behaviour in and out of school.

Mehndi Night

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Fin Kennedy's Mehndi Night is a play about resentment and forgiveness on the eve of a wedding, and explores the challenges of a cross-cultural identity in 21st-century Britain. It was the first play to emerge from a groundbreaking collaboration between Kennedy and the Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, East London. It was first performed by students from the school on 2 August 2007 at Venue 45, Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The title of the play refers to the traditional pre-wedding Hindu celebrations. Akin to a ‘hen’ night, it is a time for the female members of a community to gather together to sing, dance and bless the bride-to-be. However, when an uninvited visitor turns up bringing with her painful memories of the past, everyone is forced to confront their own fears, prejudices and longings.

In an author's note in the published edition, Fin Kennedy writes that the play 'marked the first time in British theatre history that a play had been written entirely for and about British Bangladeshi women. This was very much a result of the way in which the play was developed, with ten committed fifteen-year-olds over several months; their desire to create a play for a mainstream adult audience about the women of their community, and the effect of the modern world on their relationships with one another.'

The Edinburgh Fringe premiere was directed by Julia Voce and designed by Kollodi Norton. It was performed by Marjana Rahman, Khadija Sharaz Khanom, Nabarupa Deb, Sabina Aktar, Thania Sultana, Rubena Begum, Farhana Hussain, Aklima Begum, Fahmina Begum and Rebeka Yasmin.

Melody Loses Her Mojo

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Melody is in the care system and is out of control . . . the only thing that is constant in Melody’s life is her toy monster, Mojo. Blessing has come from Nigeria to stay with an ‘Aunty’, but when the relationship breaks down, she is trapped in the care system and longs to be back with her Nana in Lagos. Rizla has just left the care system. He has been taken in by some older guys in the local hostel and has found his new ‘family’.

Melody Loses Her Mojo is a bold, gritty and challenging story aimed at young people. It fuses Hip-hop theatre, dance, puppetry and street art to follow the amazing journeys of three remarkable young people, whose stories intertwine in a world full of magical and surreal moments.

Melody Loses Her Mojo received its world premiere at the Playhouse, Liverpool, on 20 September 2013 in a coproduction between 20 Stories High, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and the Curve, Leicester.

Mia

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Of Roma background, Mia is a refugee who has lost her home, and most of her family. She has odd bits and pieces in her bag, which have stories attached to them. Mia has received a postcard of this town from her sister, Sofia, who has disappeared. She tells them about Sofia, shows them a photograph and reveals her fears.

Moonfleece

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

An abandoned home. A lost brother. A secret love story.

Curtis has arranged a meeting in a flat of a derelict tower block. Years ago, when he was a child, Curtis lived happily here but, then, tragedy struck and his elder brother died. Now Curtis is seeing his brother’s ghost. With the aid of Gavin and Tommy, fellow members of the right wing political party of which he is a leading figure, Curtis aims to find out why this ghost is haunting him. Things, however, do not go as planned. For a start, there are two squatters now occupying the flat. And one of them has a story to tell. A story that will change Curtis’s life forever.

Moonfleece is an intense and thrilling exploration of memory and identity, in a story which includes themes of racism, homophobia, and how those in authority distort both the truth and the past. It was first performed at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road, London, in March 2010.

Morning

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The end of summer. Two friends about to go their separate ways. But they will always share one moment. A moment that changed them forever.

Morning is a dark coming-of-age play by acclaimed playwright Simon Stephens, devised through a workshop involving actors from the Young Company at the Lyric Hammersmith and the Junges Theater Basel. It premiered at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in a production by the Lyric Hammersmith on 1 August 2012.

The Mystae

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Nick Whitby's The Mystae, or The Initiates is a coming-of-age drama about three young people enacting an ancient rite of passage inspired by the Eleusinian Mysteries, the most famous of the secret religious rites of ancient Greece. It was first performed at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, London, on 13 February 2014.

The play's action takes place in a sea cave in the west of Cornwall, in the present day. Preparing to leave small-town Cornwall for the bright lights of university and beyond, three best friends – Ina, Holman and Tre, all eighteen or nineteen – arrange one final night together. Inspired by Ina’s Greek heritage, they gather in the cave late at night to perform an ancient ritual that they hope will cement their friendship forever. But as the waves rise to cut them off and the ritual unfolds, hidden betrayals emerge and they begin to fear that the cave may hold other, unimaginably dark secrets.

The Hampstead Theatre premiere was directed by Tim Carroll and designed by Georgia Lowe, with Adam Buchanan as Holman, Alex Griffin-Griffiths as Tre and Beatrice Scirocchi as Ina.

A term used since the Second World War to denote the creative use of young people’s spare time through the medium of theatre and drama. The activity has grown out of schools drama, enlightened amateur theatre and community drama initiatives, but is not now tied to any single institutional allegiance and involves theatrical performances created by many different groupings of young people. In 1999 there were more than 700 youth theatre groups in the United Kingdom. Those aged between 11 and 20 are the most active participants but the age range has extended to cover those from 5 to 30 years and older. Nearly all work with groups is undertaken on a full or part-time basis by leaders from a wide range of professional backgrounds, primarily education, theatre and youth work.

In the summer of 1956 Michael Croft undertook a production of Shakespeare’s Henry V with a group of former pupils from Alleyn’s School, south London, where he had been teaching. Youth theatre’s first major public manifestation in Britain was thus an emancipation of the school play whose tradition had been long but fairly conservative. Croft’s project grew in scope and reputation, despite many struggles for official recognition and funding, and was in 1961 given the title National Youth Theatre. Croft’s initiative inspired a number of developments in youth theatre during the following two decades, including the annual National Festival of Youth Theatre, which lasted from 1977 to 1986. At the National Festival in 1982 the initiative was taken to set up a National Association of Youth Theatres, and this body has continued to act as a support and development agency for youth theatre work since that date. In the 1970s County Youth Theatres were set up by local education authorities in places like Leicestershire and Devon, and a number of regional repertory theatres established their own groups. The momentum of youth theatre development was picked up in the 1980s by local government departments concerned with recreation and in the 1990s by national funding agencies as a medium for youth arts work. Many groups have set up independently, and youth theatre continues to owe its rather ad hoc growth to a number of committed and hardworking individuals. There has always been an awareness, however, that through youth theatre work young people’s performances provide a radical renewal of social perspective both for the participants and for the communities to which they belong.

Youth theatre advances in line with the differing social and cultural emphases of individual countries. Throughout mainland Europe, where there are huge discrepancies in support and development, it enjoys a wide variety of cultural affiliations. In Austria and Finland, for example, it has evolved out of a strong amateur theatre tradition with the help of supportive youth work. Danish youth theatre has also received its greatest encouragement from youth work and the great diversity of the educational system, and plays an important role in social education and theatrical experimentation. In Portugal, a similar tradition has been recovered since the return to civilian government in 1974, which has lent a strong socio-cultural dimension to the work. In France and Malta, by contrast, there are strong links with formal education, particularly drama training, and in the Netherlands much work is centred on professional theatre companies. Whether youth theatre development is sparse, as in Flanders, or strong and well-supported, as in Germany, it is generally felt that the work is given insufficient public support and status.

There are strong developments in the United States and in India and south-east Asia, where subsidized professional theatre is less common, and youth theatre forms part of a strong community drama movement. In Australia an impressive tradition of innovation and social relevance has developed out of the creative coalition of young performers and professional practitioners.

Despite the lack of a worldwide organization, a spirit of internationalism has been greatly advanced by the increasing number of international exchange visits between groups. In 1982 the first European Children’s Theatre Encounter was held in Belgium, and in 1987 young people from 19 European countries attended the first European Youth Theatre Encounter in Stratford-Upon-Avon in Britain. Both events have continued to be hosted by European countries on a regular basis in the 1990s.

Youth theatre in the UK continues to develop, thanks mainly to the work of the National Association. It established the Big Youth Theatre Festival in 1994 as a major focus of growth for the medium, and in 2000 the Festival attracted 800 participants from seven countries to a greenfield site in the south of England. Increasing numbers of groups experiment with the language of performance and across art forms to produce hybrid work which is ‘postmodern’ in spirit. History may characterize youth theatre by such radicalism, see it as one creative element in a leisure-based culture or acknowledge its enduring value as the best of youth work; in any event, thanks to the participation of generations of young people, its effects will be felt for many decades and in many cultures.

from Roger Hill, The Continuum Companion to Twentieth-Century Theatre, ed. Colin Chambers (London, 2011).