Of the 294 school and youth theatre groups who were taking part in NT Connections this year, the vast majority managed to perform at their home venues. Disappointingly, none of the regional festivals (scheduled for March and April) could take place, but the partner theatres have done a great job of linking up with their companies and acknowledging and celebrating the work that they have created.
Some have used social media to reflect that festival that should have happened, and highlight the work the groups have created – for example, Sheffield Crucible and Chichester Festival Theatre. Others have hosted, and are hosting, digital festivals. They are sharing videos of the groups’ home performances with all the companies who would have been performing at their festivals, and offering online workshops and sessions – for example, the Royal & Derngate in Northampton.
The National Theatre are helping young people participating continue to access the best of arts and culture during the COVID-19 crisis. They have allowed them and their families to access the productions and resources of the NT Collection from their homes. Teachers can sign up for the service for free, and share details with their students – there is more information here. There are lots of other learning resources for pupils and teachers to access for free online including:
- National Theatre Talks – a collection of conversations recorded live from our stages.
- New Views online playwriting course – forming part of the annual New Views playwriting competition for 14-19 year-olds, this freely accessible programme by playwright Jemma Kennedy covers topics including narrative, dialogue and stagecraft with video, audio and excerpts from plays.
- NT YouTube channel which features NT at Home recordings and includes videos related to shows, backstage ‘how we made it’ videos and recordings of NT Talks.
- Digital Exhibitions with Google Arts and Culture exploring Costume, Shakespeare and the Architectural History of the NT.