A play written by 17 year old Beattie Green from St Marylebone School in London has won the National Theatre’s annual playwriting competition for 15–19 year olds, New Views. Beattie’s play Dead Don’t Floss was chosen out of over 300 entries for a performance by professional actors at the National Theatre in July. Entries came from sixty-three schools across the UK, as well as a partner theatre programme at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
The winning play was selected from a shortlist of ten by a panel of judges including NT Senior Dramaturg Nina Steiger, playwrights Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and Anupama Chandrasekhar (NT writer in residence), and actor Tamara Lawrance. The play will be performed in the NT’s Dorfman Theatre on 4 July.
Dead Don’t Floss opens with a teenage girl practising her stand-up routine alone in her bedroom. She has lots of great material, but as the play progresses we realise that her story isn’t just full of dead funny jokes, it is also full of death – and that really isn’t very funny.
Beattie Green said: “New Views didn’t feel like a competition for most of the process and I think that’s one of the great things about it. The emphasis is on trying something new, finding your voice and hearing other people’s stories. I wouldn’t have started writing if it wasn’t for this competition so I’m very grateful that the National Theatre run programmes like this for young people. There is a lot of emphasis on “core” subjects in school and creativity can sometimes be overlooked, so for me projects like this are more important than ever.”
Playwright and judge on this year’s panel, Simon Stephens, said: “The calibre of writing on this year’s New Views shortlist was thrilling. Each piece was distinctive and clear, alert and bracing. The writers wrote with real imagination and inspiring compassion. Reading the shortlist was an experience that charged me with great enthusiasm at a time when our country needs its young voices to sing more clearly the ever before. Dead Don’t Floss captivated all of us with its wit and sadness, its wisdom and its bravery. It is a singularly beautiful piece of writing.”
New Views encourages young people to write plays about issues which are important to them, exploring key contemporary questions and dilemmas. Students in the programme follow an online playwriting course written by Jemma Kennedy, with additional contributions from celebrated playwrights including Roy Williams, Alecky Blythe and James Graham, and are mentored in school by a team of 17 professional writers.
New Views is supported by Old Possum’s Practical Trust, Chapman Charitable Trust, Golsoncott Foundation and The Steel Charitable Trust.
Booking opens on 12 June. For more information visit: nationaltheatre.org.uk/newviews