Ms Eaton, English Department, and Ms Brown, Head of Drama, launched New Views, the National Theatre’s playwriting competition, here at St Augustine’s Priory for the first time this year. The initiative offers twelve creative writers aged 14-18 years the chance to develop their own 30-minute plays. Our 12 writers: Lucy, Maggie, Marija, Darya, Elodie, Lilah, Ella, Kyra, Naomi, Megan, Aniyah and Iris produced original and inspiring work.
Ms Brown writes, ‘I’m thrilled to announce that Iris’s play, ‘The Fall of the Feather’, reached the long-list – out of 427 scripts submitted this year from schools nationwide, Iris made it into the top 117. Her play was awarded ‘Highly Commended’ and she has won a playwriting workshop with National Theatre practitioners in July. Such an outstanding achievement! Below Iris, who is in Upper IV, writes about her experience of the scheme’:
‘New Views 2022
I had never written a play before. Read them, sure; studied ‘A View From the Bridge’ and Shakespeare. They had felt untouchable – not something I could achieve or even attempt myself, because in my eyes, poetry and playwrights didn’t mix.
That was before I’d become involved with New Views, run by the National Theatre. I’d never had sessions so relaxed, so interesting and unpressured; I could work on my own piece, but still collaborate with others. There were 12 of us in total, me being the youngest; I’d never thought to interact with people in years outside of mine before, and suddenly I was working with them once a week. Each of them talented, interesting – I was surrounded by people with the same interests as me, the same sense of humour as me.
Being able to take my own perceptions of the world around me and turn them into a play that was new and creative – as well as having an umpteen amount of time to work on it – felt like an outlet more than anything. I could take my interests and ideas of things that I’d seen and things that I’d like to see and turn them into something that’s mine. All along the way I had help on how to structure my work, how to build characters, scenes, settings, the mood. And, of course, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I switched between ideas before coming to something I liked, and that stuck with me. After that it felt easy.
I’d had the opportunity to see a play outside of school – an adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – and received personal feedback on my work from a National Theatre playwright, Jasmin Mandi-Ghomi. Hearing someone else talk so animatedly about something that I still felt was so half-formed and raw, little more than an idea at that stage, something that was only mine and yet stolen from the world around me, was like nothing I could have prepared for. There’s no way I would have gotten even as far as being longlisted without her help. Having someone like Jasmin tell me that my work was not, actually, rubbish, did help a lot in the long run.
New Views was an experience that I’ve definitely learnt so much from; it shows in my writing, and in my friendships too.’
Categories: Priory Post Senior Sixth Form Whole School