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National Youth Theatre announces autumn/winter shows including Ada Lovelace play

National Youth Theatre (NYT) have announced four productions in their Workshop Theatre for Autumn/Winter 2023.

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Ada (30 November – 9 December) is the world premiere of a new play for young audiences by Rebecca Manley about the world’s first computer programmer Ada Lovelace, directed by NYT alumnus Andrew Whyment, developed with dramaturg Sarah Frankcom.

Created especially for primary and lower secondary school ages and featuring members of NYT, Ada follows one young girl’s surprise encounter with Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer who died more than 150 years ago. Leaping through time and space to meet a host of larger-than-life characters – from Queen Victoria herself, to a rather useless prime minister and Ada’s father Lord Byron.

Refilwe (6 – 23 December) is a new production inspired by Zukiswa Wanner’s southern African retelling of the classic fairy-tale Rapunzel, a family adventure about home, hair and connecting with your roots, for audiences aged seven and older, with all performances presented in a relaxed environment. The production is co-produced by National Youth Theatre, Bernie Grant Arts Centre and Talawa Theatre Company, written by Bisola Alabi and directed by the Artistic Director of Bernie Grant Arts Centre Azieb Pool featuring young talent from the National Youth Theatre.

Also in the Workshop Theatre, NYT Associate Company, BLINK Dance Theatre will present ELVIS DIED OF BURGERS (13 Nov) for local audiences, including NYT’s partner non-mainstream schools. All performances are relaxed and will have integrated BSL, interpreted by Greg Colquhoun. BLINK Dance Theatre are a neurodiverse-led inclusive arts company and have been one of 10 NYT Associate Companies since 2022. Alongside the performance they will be sharing their inclusive practice with NYT members.

Sancho & Me – For One Night Only (28 Oct – 4 Nov), by and starring Paterson Joseph, is a solo performance delivered directly to the audience, part-improvised each night and built around Joseph’s recent novel The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho. Alongside the production he will deliver a workshop for NYT members.

Paul Roseby OBE – CEO and Artistic Director said: “As the desperate decline of drama in our schools continues, we’ve investing in the broken talent pipeline from the ground up, with new shows to excite young audiences, many of whom may never have been to the theatre before. From a new play about Ada Lovelace, the original woman in tech, to Refilwe a story about home, hair and history, we hope audiences young and old will be inspired by the power of live theatre and fresh young talent on our award-winning new stage. We’re also really pleased to welcome Associate Company BLINK Dance Theatre and REP Mentor Paterson Joseph to our Workshop Theatre and hope many more visiting companies will follow.”

For more information and tickets visit nyt.org.uk.

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About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.