National Theatre Connections
National Theatre Connections is a national festival of new writing and young theatre making. Exciting new one act plays, commissioned by the National Theatre, are performed by youth theatre groups and schools across the UK, with professional support from the NT and its partner theatres. NT Connections aims to inspire 13 to 19 year olds with high-quality new playwriting.
Since 2012 we have taken part in National Theatre Connections and our young cast performed Michael Lesslie’s 'Prince of Denmark' at Square Chapel, Halifax, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds and at the National Theatre on the South Bank in London – more about this on the productions pages.
In 2014 we performed Sam Holcroft’s play 'The Wardrobe', in 2015 'The Boy Preference' by Elinor Cook both in the Orange Box studio theatre and the West Yorkshire Playhouse. In 2016 we took part in National Theatre Connections 500, the 21st anniversary of NT Connections and performed 'The Musicians' by Patrick Marber at Orange Box and at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. This year we performed 'The Blue Electric Wind' by Brad Birch in the new Copper auditorium at Square Chapel and will be performing the play in the Courtyard Theatre at West Yorkshire Playhouse on 27th April.
We regularly take part in local festivals including Halifax Festival. Over the last few years we have performed '1968' a devised play to celebrate our 40th anniversary, 'Ruckus in the Garden' by David Farr rehearsed and staged in 24 hours, 'One Million Tiny Plays About Britain', an evening of Theatre and Music, a site specific piece, 'Minster Mysteries' in 2012 which was about and performed in the atmospheric surroundings of Halifax Minster, 'Private Peaceful' for Halifax Festival 2013 and in 2014, 'Changing Tracks' in the grounds of Eureka.
Arts Festival and Calderdale Young Shorts
For Hebden Bridge Arts Festival we have created Calderdale Young Shorts. In 2015 with generous support from Arts Council England, Calderdale Community Foundation and Square Chapel, we ran playwriting workshops in local schools. A selection of 15 short plays were chosen, rehearsed and performed by a cast of 15 – 21 year olds at Square Chapel and at the Little Theatre, Hebden Bridge as part of the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival.
In 2015, Helen Meller HBAF Director said - ‘Calderdale Young Shorts’ was one of my favourite bits of the programme this year. The plays were fun, fresh and engaging and the staging and acting, imaginative and bold. It was both humbling and remarkable to see what our local young people are capable of writing and performing in a non-educational context.'
It was so successful that we have been able to build on that success by repeating the programme in 2016 and 2017. We are thrilled to announce that we are now planning for Calderdale Young Shorts 2018. The workshops will start in May and the performances will be June 27th. We have been supported over the last few years by Square Chapel Education and Outreach programme, Hebden Bridge Arts Festival, Hebden Royd Town Council, The Bearder Charity and Calderdale Community Foundation. Every year the plays are a delight to perform and we are looking forward to receiving, rehearsing and performing the 2018 plays on 27th June.