Playing Up: New NYT Show, Three
Written by: Sophie Taylor
Playing Up is a social inclusion theatre course working with disadvantaged young people who aren’t in education, employment or training. Run by the National Youth Theatre, recruitment to the course is based on need rather than on talent. Young people on the course have faced homelessness, foster-care, mental health issues, are young mothers or have family members in the criminal justice system.
The course has an 85% success rate of moving young people into higher education, further training or employment. One such graduate of the course, Seraphina Beh, is now starring in Eastenders as the formidable school bully Madison Drake. Another alumni student is Ria Zmitrowicz who recently starred in the hard hitting BBC drama Three Girls.
This year, Playing Up have commissioned a new play by Sophie Ellerby (HighTide First Commissions Writer and NYT REP Company 2013), Three, which will be staged at the Arcola Theatre from 20th to 22nd July.
The urban and domestic drama, directed by NYT Associate Director Anna Niland follows three sisters who fight to keep track of reality as their world is turned upside down.
Anna Niland, National Youth Theatre’s Associate Director and director of Three describes the importance of this show. “I tend to think that young people who have had some sort of disadvantage or problem in their life tend to align themselves more with art and drama; the more expressive forms of education.”
Anna describes how the power of becoming somebody else is very liberating. “These young people have been at risk and faced challenges that made them drop out of education. Some have been in care, some have depression, but working together we create a close knit group, a bit of a family.”
She goes on to explain why it’s fitting that this particular family drama by Sophie Ellerby is performed by this course. “Featuring diverse, funny and authentic young characters, [the show is] inspired by young people on the Playing Up course. Our gifted young writer Sophie Ellerby has done a wonderful job in giving these young people a voice. We can’t wait to share this hotly topical story with an audience.”
Click here for more information on the course.
Tickets are available here through the National Youth website.
Three by Sophie Ellerby
Arcola Theatre, 20 – 22 July
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