Wearside students had the chance to take to the stage in London.
Youngsters from Barbara Priestman Academy in Sunderland were chosen to take part in the Connections Festival at the National Theatre.
The drama group from the city school, which caters for secondary and sixth form aged students with special needs, mostly autism, were thrilled to be chosen for the event.
Barbara Priestman Academy has taken part in the Connections Festival for the last five years, but this year staff and students were thrilled to be invited, alongside 11 other acting groups, to go to the National Theatre.
They performed ‘What Are They Like?’ written by Lucinda Coxon and directed by Brad McCormick from Cap-a-Pie, based in, Newcastle, which focuses on the relationship between parents and their children and the secrets they might keep from each other.
The cast was made up of eight 6th Form students and two Year 11 students who all love the performing arts and have all chosen it as one of their subject options.
It was such a fantastic privilege to be asked to perform at the National TheatreEmily Landells
Student, Kate Sheers, sai: “I felt very proud to be asked to go to London. It means the whole world to me because it is an extraordinary experience. I never thought in a million years that we would be chosen. I felt nervous and excited at the same time.”
Teacher Emily Landells, said: “It was such a fantastic privilege to be asked to perform at the National Theatre as part of National Theatre Connections. I am so proud of the cast and all they have achieved. To be one of the 12 companies chosen out of a possible 450 nationally is phenomenal.
“Often, people have very set misconceptions about autism and the NT Connections Festival allows our students to challenge those misconceptions and show young people with ASD, thriving through performing arts and the opportunities it brings through increased confidence, self-esteem and team work.”
This year the NT’s Connections Festival celebrated 21 years of new writing for, and performed by young people aged 13–19, by some of the UK’s most exciting playwrights.
Around 10,000 young people from every corner of the UK, working with 45 partner theatres, performed all across the country.