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A New Flame

Skipton pupil's play to be performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company

Skipton Academy student Felicity Williamson has had her play ‘Abandoned’ selected to be performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in August as part of its '37 Plays' project.

The play is one of 37 selected from over 2,000 submissions.

Felicity, who's in Year 8, wrote 'Abandoned' which is about a young autistic girl who meets an islander who teaches her to accept herself for who she is. The play explores the themes of acceptance, belonging, and self-discovery.

She said: “Not a lot of people understand me, so I thought if I wrote a play then it would be easier than me trying to explain in person. I was interested in what the play could do to help people understand autism. It would share and spread knowledge and that's where my idea came from. It was also very exciting that it was a competition too!"

Teacher of Performance at Skipton Academy, Vanessa Adams added: “Having worked closely with the RSC on various projects, I was delighted to have the opportunity to involve my students in the 37 Plays Project.

"I decided to make this the Scheme of Work for all Year 8 students for the Autumn Term 2022. I used the 37 Plays information pack and videos from the RSC as well as some of my own ideas and led the students through the whole process from finding their story to writing, adapting, and submitting their plays.

"All 120 students in Year 8 wrote their own play. A number of these were submitted to the RSC, 3 were chosen for the final 71 and Felicity’s play made it to the 37 Plays!”

The 37 Plays project is a national initiative that aims to celebrate the diversity of British playwriting. The 37 plays selected for performance will be staged across the UK and online in August 2023. Each play will receive a staged reading at an RSC associate theatre and in Stratford at The Other Place, with writers receiving dramaturgical support to take their play to the next draft.

Erica Whyman, RSC acting artistic director, said: “Every one of the shortlisted plays deserves attention and a production, so the decision-making was really hard. We chose the 37 to represent the widest range of ideas, voices and stories, deliberately including plays by accomplished writers alongside plays that showed enormous promise by first-time playwrights."

The judging panel was chaired by Erica Whyman and included theatre-maker Rachel Bagshaw, actor Ray Fearon, theatre critic Lyn Gardner, RSC Youth Advisory Board members Harry and Ella, author Sharna Jackson, Ian Charleson Award-winner Bally Gill, playwrights Mark Ravenhill and Juliet Gilkes Romero and actor/writer David Threlfall.

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