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National Theatre Connections 2021

Our Year 10 Drama students here at GTS have a long tradition in taking part of the National Theatre Connections programme, which usually culminates in us visiting the Theatre Royal in Plymouth to act on one of the stages there.


Unfortunately, this was not possible last year, so this year the National Theatre has been working on ensuring the Connections festival would be able to proceed no matter what. To this end, all the National Theatre Connections productions (including the one featuring our very own GTS Troupe) are all available to view on the National Theatre website by signing up for a free Festival Season Ticket.


GTS's Pike and Musket group are performing the play The IT by Vivienne Franzmann.


After the festival is over, our performance will be made available on the school's YouTube channel.


The National Theatre Connections festival is a celebration of young people, theatre-making, and the importance of access to the arts. Each year the National Theatre commission ten new plays for young people to perform, bringing together some of the most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow.


It’s been a tough old 18 months for everyone, but these creative, talented, resilient young people- taking part in this digital festival- have proven art will always find a way! Connections WILL ALWAYS be made… between performers and an audience, between cast members and friends, but really just between people- every day. Theatre Royal Plymouth are determined to make some of those connections over this 14 day digital festival and they invite you to join them through varying size screens!


With 30 Partner Theatre festivals taking place across the country, Connections 2021 will involve at least 5,000 talented young people from right across the UK, and inspire and entertain audiences with plays for and about young people that are current, challenging, and resonant. Theatre Royal Plymouth is one of those partners.

Dani Hamlin, NT Connections Festival Producer at Theatre Royal Plymouth said: “I am so proud of each and every young person and the journey their production has taken them on this year. From Penzance to Great Torrington to Dawlish and everywhere in between It hasn’t been easy for any of the 9 companies taking part, but they’ve done it, they’ve reached the end of the process and now it’s time to celebrate! These young people are the future. They are putting the arts in the South West on the map and for that I give them a standing ovation (in my living room on my own)!”


This year the National Theatre adapted their programmes for schools, young people and community groups across the country to keep providing opportunities to create and take part in theatre safely. Working with theatres across the country, including Theatre Royal Plymouth, they’ve restarted activity with content delivered digitally, where it wasn’t safe to deliver in person, until live projects can be resumed.


Tickets are FREE. Book your FESTIVAL SEASON TICKET to watch all of the productions by participating schools and youth theatres. Connections is part of the National Theatre’s nationwide Learning programme. Let’s make sure, together, that creativity remains an essential part of young people’s lives. Book your free Festival Season Ticket on the TRP website here:


The Show

The IT by Vivienne Franzmann.

Great Torrington School – Pike and Musket


The IT is a play about a teenage girl who has something growing inside her.

She doesn’t know what it is, but she knows it’s not a baby. It expands in her body. It starts in her stomach, but quickly outgrows that, until eventually it takes over the entirety of her insides. It has claws. She feels them. Does it have teeth, skin, and hair as well, or is that feathers, or spikes she can feel, butting up against her organs? What is it? It makes a noise, like a lizard or a snake.

No one must know about it. She has to keep its presence, its possession of her, concealed. She pulls away from her friends. She refuses to speak in case The It is heard. Then the It tries to escape from her body. She can’t let that happen. She cuts an isolated weird figure at school, trying to live her life ‘normally; but battling to keep The It inside of her. But she can’t contain it forever, sooner or later something’s got to give…

Presented in the style of a direct to camera documentary, this is a darkly comic state of the nation play exploring adolescent mental health and the rage within, written very specifically for today.

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