Student shortlisted for National Theatre New Views Playwriting Competition


By Aidan Hall, 6.1

From the beginning of the school year until the first day of the summer term, some sixth formers had been writing their own plays to submit to the National Theatre’s New Views Playwriting Competition.

Led by David Anson and Hayley Ager, we honed our skills in dialogue, character development and expressing messages that were personal to us through our writing. We would meet every Monday for an hour and a half, sometimes reading what our peers had written, sometimes doing exercises that gave us a better perspective on how to craft personality and motivation in our characters. Other times, we would spend writing.

At the end of the Easter holidays and after a week-long recluse into the hills of Shropshire with some other Bedalians for the Arvon creative writing course, I submitted my play. It got shortlisted!

This now means that a rehearsed reading of it is going to be performed at the National Theatre later this term and I am ridiculously excited to see something I created manifested into (some form of) reality. It’s confirmation that, as artists, our practiced creation bears fruit. I believe that, so often, creators fall into the fallacy of thinking “I don’t want to create anything right now, I’ll save my efforts for when I’m better in the future”. But this isn’t how it works, you can’t just think of practice as a creative middleman that you can eliminate. Exercising our creative muscle and producing something, no matter how proud of it we might be, is the only way to develop as an artist. If you really want to go somewhere with your art, and to a wider extent anything, you gotta do. Period.

My play, The Closest Thing to Silence, is a combination of dialogue and poetry that explores the attempts at escape from modern metropolitan life, not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally. These are lives we could potentially find ourselves living. It follows two strangers as they go through an interview process to leave the city in which they reside, both connected by their longing to see the stars again, away from the neon covered sky of the concrete jungle.