Two students announced as winners of the 2024 National Theatre New Views playwriting competition

Two young writers have been announced today as the winners of this year’s New Views programme, the National Theatre’s annual playwriting competition for young people.

House on Fire by Luke Fields, 17, from Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School in Belfast and Teulu by Emyr Strudwick, 19, from Merthyr College in South Wales, will be presented as staged readings, followed by a post-performance discussion with the writers and directors in the Gorvy Rehearsal Room at the National Theatre on 4-5 July, as part of the free New Views Festival. Luke and Emyr will have the opportunity to develop their plays from page to stage alongside Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris (Nye), who will direct Teulu, and theatre director Emily Burns (Dear Octopus), who will direct House on Fire.

New Views is the National Theatre’s nationwide playwriting programme for students aged 14-19. Participating schools work with a professional playwright to mentor students in writing their own original 30-minute play. 500 plays were submitted for New Views 2024 from 90 schools across the UK.

Luke’s play, House on Fire, follows recently elected Head Boy and Girl, Stephen and Caitlin, as they are called to the headteacher’s office. Following their contentious rise to power, the school has broken into a riot in this comedy which also comments on the politics of today.

Emyr’s play, Teulu, explores the world of Owen, a teenage boy dealing with the grief of losing his mother, as he reconnects with his father Wyn. Set in Wales, this play is a portrayal of community, family and leaning on those who love you.

Luke Fields, one of this year’s winning playwrights, said “I found it an incredible experience. Getting to advance my own skills whilst interacting with likeminded students and having the chance to read and see their work and what inspires everyone else was really special and exciting. I am overwhelmed with shock and surprise.”

Emyr Strudwick, one of this year’s winning playwrights, said “I was genuinely shocked: although I believe in the message of this play, I did not believe that my writing would be appreciated by other people. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and excited to see how this play will develop.”

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, said “I am so excited to be supporting this year’s winning writers as one of the directors in my final year at the National Theatre. New Views is a wonderful platform for young people across the UK to be empowered to share their perspective on topical issues as well as develop their creativity and writing skills, helping to nurture the next generation of theatre makers and writers while encouraging creative self-expression in whatever they choose to do in life.” 

Keira Grierson, New Views 2023 Winner and New Views 2024 panel member, said “Winning New Views last year was an emotional and rewarding time that I feel so fortunate to have experienced. Returning this year as a judge, and watching several young writers be presented with the same opportunities that validated and inspired my passion for writing and theatre further, is another privileged experience at the National Theatre I won’t forget.”

House on Fire and Teulu  were selected by a panel of judges from across the industry including director Lyndsey Turner (The Witches), 2023 New Views winner Keira Grierson (3.2.1), actor Kel Matsena (Dear England), playwright Dipo Baruwa-Etti (The Clinic) and was chaired by director Sasha Milavic Davies (Infinite Life). They were selected from a shortlist of nine plays, with the other seven shortlisted plays also featuring at the New Views Festival as rehearsed readings.

The seven shortlisted plays are open to the public to watch for free and include themes of LGBTQIA+ relationships, AI, community, war, mental health and online safety. Schools are invited to watch the staged readings and attend National Theatre Archive tours and workshops organised by the National Theatre’s 2024 Young Producers for free.

Tickets to watch the winning plays and attend the post-performance discussion from 2pm-4pm on Thursday 4 July and Friday 5 July at the New Views Festival are free and now available to book on the NT Website.

The seven shortlisted plays being presented as rehearsed readings in the Duffield Studio are:

  • Broken Frames by Adanna Paradise Isiodu (16) from The Henrietta Barnett School in Barnet, London
  • Here to Help by Isobel Guyer (15) from King’s Ely in Ely, Cambridgeshire
  • Invitation to Pantalone’s by Adeniola Adesanya (14) from St Paul’s Academy in Greenwich, London
  • Sweetness by Mirabel Yeboah (17) from Wanstead High School in Redbridge, London
  • The Journey by Phoebe Land (14) from Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School in Sidcup, Kent
  • The Kids are Smoking, Again by Clay Colman (16) from Exeter College in Exeter, Devon
  • Tonight’s Interview with Claire Harvey by Emma Levin (18) from Highgate School in Haringey, London
Written by Theatrefullstop