Why write plays for young performers & audiences?


The impulse to ‘act’ must go back a very long way: earliest manifestation some kind of primal proto-word, “Ug!” accompanied by dramatic hand-waving and pointing – an attempt to report something happening right now, perhaps a mammoth sighting, an approaching forest fire. It would have meant life and death to read the signals, tune in to the drama; to ‘get it’.


Over time, this generated stories evoking the past tense, ‘this happened’ – entered the communal memory, occasionally re-enacted in ceremony. Now we had theatre, and ‘plays’. Then, moving on from simply reporting ‘the truth’, we took the quantum leap into fiction: the mind-boggling world of make-believe, pretense. It was enough to terrify Plato; even going back to our early cave-dweller days, there might have been sub-text in someone’s acting out, counter-messaging: could you trust them?

And yes, as a species we’ve learnt to tell lies, make up stuff; in normal social interaction we have an ambiguous response to ‘telling tales’ – especially when coming from the young (often to our cost).


But this fictional ‘what if’ offers the possibility of re-imagining ourselves and our world, re-inventing it. As long as we can discern reality from fiction, actor from character, it’s a necessary developmental faculty to nurture in young people, especially while minds are flexible, open, inquiring. And no better way than through the art and craft of play-making, the magical world of theatre.

Pete’s own ‘what if’ explorations have found recent expression in the sci-fi novel, Jules and Rom – where a group of young people in the year 2040 find themselves re-imagining a production of Romeo and Juliet with the help of their AI learning buddies.


Pete Mullineaux is our Chief Inspiration Officer. He will be the mentor that will accompany you through the development and writing process of your play.

With Pete by your side you will take your idea from the page to the stage.

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