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National Theatre Connections Partner Festival 2024

14 Feb 2024

This year Gulbenkian has been selected to host the National Theatre Connections Partner Festival!

What is Connections?

Connections is the National Theatre’s annual, nationwide youth theatre festival. Every year, Connections commissions new plays for young people to perform. The programme brings together some of the UK’s most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow. In 23/24, the National Theatre are working with nearly 270 youth companies from every corner of the UK.

Our Company

The Gulbenkian Young Company will be taking part in connections, working closely with 30 young people in the cast and tech crew to perform Wind/Rush Generation(s) by Mojisola Adebayo on Sun 10 & Mon 11 March and again at Trinity Theatre Tunbridge Wells on Sat 20 Apr!

A play about the British Isles, its past and its present. However, if you think you know about British history, Empire, slavery, economics, racism and humanity, then this play might get you to think again. Set in a university common room, a group of students are troubled by a noisy ghost. So they do what any self-respecting and intelligent students would do in such a situation – they get out the Ouija Board to try and lay them to rest.

What is the Partner Theatre Festival?

After all groups and companies have performed their play at their home venue, companies will then transfer their show to their local partner theatre. Between Fri 3 – Wed 8 May we will be hosting 8 companies from across Kent and welcome them to perform 7 new plays commissioned by the National Theatre on the Gulbenkian stage. There are 4 nights of the festival with 2 companies performing per night.

The Partner venues themselves are exciting and elevating stages for young companies to perform on, but also the teams within each venue hold a wealth of expertise in operating their theatre spaces that will be shared with the young people. We are delighted and grateful to work with them all as we invite them to our theatre!


This year we are delighted to announce that all performances will be fully captioned to make the festival inclusive and accessible for everyone to enjoy!

Who is the line up?

Night One – Fri 3 May

Back in the Day by Yasmeen Khan  performed by Folkestone School For Girls

Orchestra by Charlie Josephine performed by Towers School and Sixth Form

Night Two – Sat 4 May

Your Name is Dead by Elgan Rhys performed by Trinity Youth Theatre

The Sad Club by Luke Barnes with music by Adam Pleeth performed by TheatreWorks Deal

Night Three – Tue 7 May

Replica by Titas Halder performed by Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys

Age is Revolting by Abi Zakarian performed by Spires Academy

Night Four – Wed 8 May

Kiss/Marry/Push Off Cliff by Josh Azouz  performed by Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School

Age is Revolting by Abi Zakarian performed by Brockhill Park Performing Arts College


ART31 takes its name from Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, which states that ‘Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities’.

ART31 is a vision created with, by, and for young people in Kent, championing the belief that all children and young people have an entitlement to access high quality arts and culture, to empower them to achieve their creative potential, and to genuinely engage young people as equal partners in any decision making that affects them.

The ART31 Youth Board is made up of young people from across Kent aged 13-25 who steer its governance, and influence policy and practice across the county and beyond, challenging the creative sector to examine existing ways of working and integrate young people into the core of their practice.

Our projects with young people

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