Young Sleaford playwright’s big break at National Theatre

Molly Fairhead - to read at the National Theatre. EMN-190406-112101001
Molly Fairhead - to read at the National Theatre. EMN-190406-112101001

A Sleaford student’s original play is to be read at the 
National Theatre as part of the 2019 New Views Festival .

Seventeen-year-old Molly Fairhead. from Kesteven and Sleaford High School. was shortlisted for the National Theatre’s annual playwriting competition for 14-19-year olds and will have her play read by professional actors as part of the festival in July.

Molly’s original play, The Wrong People, 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.

The Wrong People is about Ben Harrison, a 17-year-old from a Catholic family whose parents refuse to take him seriously. After an argument with his parents, Ben’s grandmother reveals a family secret and Ben is curious to learn more.

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

Molly said: “I have learnt so much about the process of writing a play and have thoroughly enjoyed exploring different styles of theatre and developing my own writing style. My confidence in my writing has grown tremendously due to the New Views Programme and I am so grateful to have been able to take part in it. Through writing my play I have learnt about a member of my family that had been forgotten. I have created this play as a tribute to him.”

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.”

Hundreds of students took part this year, learning about playwriting from top writers in the industry and penning their own 30-minute plays.

The winning play for this year’s New Views programme is If Not Now, When? By Isabel Hague from Wakefield. Her play will be staged at the National Theatre in a full production, while Molly’s play will have a rehearsed reading by professional actors on July 1 in the Dorfman Theatre. To book tickets, visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk