NSDF '11

NSDF '11

Tara, Jack and I have just returned from a working weekend at the National Student Drama Festival in sunny Scarborough, where we were a few weeks ago with Love, Love, Love.

Each year, student companies from all over the UK enter productions for consideration, from which around ten are selected to feature as part of the week-long festival. In addition to the shows, NSDF Director Holly Kendrick curates an array of workshops, talks, master-classes, discussions and events hosted by professional practitioners.

Alongside theatre luminaries such as Joe Penhall, Donna Munday and Tamara Harvey, Holly asked us to come and talk about how Paines Plough strives to put the playwright at the heart of the creative process, the practicalities of running a touring company and the principles of the director/playwright relationship we espouse.

Scarborough sparkling in the sun

Scarborough sparkling in the sun

In our short time at the festival we saw some great work and met some fantastic young practitioners. Discussion was rife and constructive, with much talk of new developments in devised work, site-specific performance, the belief or otherwise in staying true to a writers’ vision and the increased need for collaboration within the industry. A blog James and I wrote for the Guardian on the latter of these topics has fired up some interesting debate this week (see the comments section).

Playwright, theatre-maker and NSDF selector Chris Thorpe hosting said 'rife' discussion

Playwright, theatre-maker and NSDF selector Chris Thorpe hosting said 'rife' discussion

As well as featuring student productions of PP commissions past – Orphans and After The End (both by Dennis Kelly) – our visit enabled us to talk about our future work; in particular our upcoming collaboration with NSDF and Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company on Kate Tempest‘s first play.

After premiering the show at this year’s Latitude Festival, we’re going to take it on the road. As well as touring to theatres, arts centres and festivals, we want to take the show to the heart of student unions and schools. So we spent some time talking to theatre society reps, teachers and student producers about how and where the production might find a home on student campuses in spring 2012.

Next year’s NSDF will reportedly have an international focus but will continue to place the very best student productions from across the UK at the heart of its programme. For information about how to enter or attend the festival, visit their website. Hopefully, this time next year, we’ll see you there.

 

Our Trainee Director Jack with "award winning" Scarborough donkey, Simon

Our Trainee Director Jack with "award winning" Scarborough donkey, Simon

If you’re involved in student drama either at school, college or university and you’d be interesting in working with us to bring our World Premiere production of Kate Tempest’s new play to you and your fellow students, Tara would love to hear from you – tara@painesplough.com.