Youth-theatre groups invited by Company Three to create and perform new play for COP26

Hattie Fisk
Monday, July 26, 2021

Acclaimed youth-theatre organisation Company Three and leading theatre publishers and performing rights agents Nick Hern Books (NHB) are inviting youth theatres, schools and community groups to perform unique adaptations of new play, When This Is Over.

Company Three

Each performance group will get to create their unique adaptation of When This Is Over, and will perform it between September 2021 and February 2022. The productions will run alongside the International Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021, where world leaders will gather in Glasgow to discuss the climate emergency.

When This Is Over is a play where young people can tell the stories of their past, present and future. It is not a play that directly tackles the climate crisis or COVID, but the characters negotiate the impacts of both.

Participating groups already include Caerphilly Youth Theatre, Camden Youth Theatre, Firefly Arts, Make/Sense Theatre, Manchester Royal Exchange, Mortal Fools, Turrets Youth Theatre, and Company Three themselves.

To help youth-groups create their own version of the play, each group will receive extensive resources and support from Company Three. This includes a ‘blueprint’ of ideas, activities and exercises, as well as access to a new community of practice which will connect all the participants together. 

Through doing workshops together and discussing discoveries, it is hoped that these links will sustain beyond the project. There is also the opportunity for young people's stories to be recorded in an interactive online archive. 

Ned Glasier, artistic director of Company Three, said: ‘When This Is Over is a play and a campaign, all wrapped into one. It’s a play that we hope will create space for young people to be heard in their local communities. And it’s a campaign that will gather all their stories together so anyone can read, listen to and watch them.

‘Company Three have never worked like this before - sharing methodology before we’ve finished a project. But the last 16 months have demonstrated that global challenges demand that we are more responsive and more collaborative, so we’re laying open our process and practice. We hope this is the future of youth theatre: working together to amplify young people’s voices in a way that really makes adults think and act.’

Matt Applewhite, managing director at Nick Hern Books, said: ‘The work of Company Three is always invigorating and inspiring, so it’s an honour to collaborate with the company once again in making its work available for other companies around the world to perform. When This Is Over promises to be an exciting and important project, harnessing the creativity of young people, and amplifying the voices of a generation, at this pivotal time for our planet and the lives of all of us who share it. I hope many schools, colleges and youth theatres everywhere take part.’

A spokesperson for participating company Caerphilly Youth Theatre said: ‘Working on When This Is Over has encouraged our young people to share stories of what has shaped them and what matters to them, both now and moving forward. It has made them feel valued and empowered, tapped into rich, unexplored seams of creativity and most importantly of all, allowed them to develop their own voice, individually and as a collective.’

To find out more or to sign up your youth-group, visit NHB’s website.