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Sky Arts to film making of National Youth Theatre play for Sex Season

Consensual by Evan Placey Consensual by Evan Placey. Photo: Helen Maybanks
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Sky Arts is to document the making of a new play that forms part of the National Youth Theatre’s 2015 season.

The NYT’s season, which also features three plays in repertoire in the West End, as well as a double bill at the fringe Arcola Theatre in Hackney, will include a play inspired by three teenagers who left a London school to join Islamic State, performed by a cast of 113 young people.

As part of the West End programme, the NYT will stage Consensual by Evan Placey, the making of which will be documented for Sky Arts and broadcast as part of the channel’s Sex Season this summer.

The TV programme will follow the NYT’s repertory company as it develops the show, which will be directed by Pia Furtado and performed at the Ambassadors Theatre in repertory from September 29 to December 4.

Consensual is one of three plays featured in the rep season, which also includes a new adaptation of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights by actor and writer Stephanie Street directed by Emily Lim.

The final production in the rep season will be Tom Stoppard’s abridged version of The Merchant of Venice, directed by Anna Niland. The adaptation was first written for the NYT to perform at the Shakespeare Schools Festival in 2005.

The NYT’s plans for 2015 also include the world premiere of a new play, created by Nadia Latif and Omar El Khairy, which is inspired by three teenagers who left an east London school in February to join Isis.

The piece, called Homegrown, will be performed in a school in Bethnal Green in August with a cast of 113 young people.

Electricity by Miriam Battye and My Beautiful City by Samuel Evans will also be presented at the Arcola Theatre in June and will be performed by participants of the company’s social inclusion course, Playing Up.

NYT artistic director Paul Roseby stated: “Much has been said about the current challenges young people from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds face trying to access our industry. We are the only company in the UK putting brave young talent on the West End stage in front of large audiences in a season of this scale.”

He added that he was worried about a “polarisation” of the debate over social diversity in the industry.

“I’m very worried about this attitude that suddenly we’ve got to hate the posh people. I think if we were to stick a bunch of working class kids in a room and go, ‘Aren’t we really on it in terms of diversity’, it would be missing the point and a little bit old fashioned,” he said.

“The debate has moved on from that and I’m worried about the polarisation of it. I think it’s right that the debate is being had, I just think some of the solutions are a little bit simplistic,” he added.

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