Luton student’s original play to be read at the National Theatre

Cerys Wrigley
Cerys Wrigley

A Luton student’s original play will be read at the National Theatre as part of this year’s New View Festival.

Cerys Wrigley, 16, from Stopsley High School, was shortlisted for the National Theatre’s annual playwriting competition for 14 to 19-year-olds, her play will be read by professional actors as part of the festival in July.

Cerys Wrigley’s original play Background Noise was one of nine plays shortlisted from 350 entries across the UK by a panel of judges including playwright Chris Bush (Pericles at the NT, The Assassination of Katie Hopkins), NT Associate Director Lyndsey Turner, NT Senior Dramaturg Nina Steiger, and NT Connections Dramaturg Ola Animashawun.

Background Noise is about what happens when you can’t afford for your dreams to come true. A family in Luton find themselves facing problems they didn’t cause and don’t know how to solve.

Cerys Wrigley said: “Through participating in New Views, I think I have found a way of saying what I think needs to be heard and having it listened to.

“I’ve been acting since I was seven but I had never really considered script writing until my Drama GCSE, which is how the opportunity to do this arose.”

Reflecting the huge talent across the UK, this year’s shortlisted plays introduce fresh perspectives on a wide range of contemporary issues including mental health, Brexit, fake news and relationships.

Hundreds of students from over 70 schools took part in New Views, learning about playwriting from writers in the industry and writing their own 30-minute plays. On Monday, July 2, Background Noise by Cerys will be read at 6.15pm, in the Dorfman Theatre.

Chris Bush, playwright and member of the judging panel, said: “New Views is without doubt one of the most important things the National Theatre does. It targets young people at a crucial age where they’re just starting to give serious thought to where their working lives might take them.

“I can think of no better introduction to the theatre, or the arts in general, than to have your debut play performed at the National, and year-in year-out these writers prove they are unquestionably up to this challenge.”

The winning play for this year’s New Views programme is If Not Now, When? by Isabel Hague from CAPA College in Wakefield. Her play will be staged at the National Theatre in a full production, alongside rehearsed readings of eight shortlisted plays performed by professional actors.

Performances of If Not Now, When? will take place on Monday, July 1, 4.30pm and 7.30pm, and on Tuesday, July 2, in the Dorfman Theatre.