The National Theatre is touring a new production, Shut Up, I’m Dreaming, created by physical ensemble theatre company The PappyShow to state secondary schools across the country from 9th January – 31st March 2023.  

Directed by Kane Husbands and created in collaboration with secondary school students, the production will visit a different school every day for 11 weeks across 11 areas across England. School halls across the country will be transformed with a gigantic moveable climbing frame set.

In partnership with local theatres, this widest-reaching schools touring production in NT history will be seen by 12,000 students in Outer East London & South Essex, Greater Manchester (Salford, Wigan and Rochdale), Wakefield, Doncaster, Sunderland, Wolverhampton, Stoke, Leicester, Peterborough and North Devon. 

In an innovative new collaboration with The PappyShow, residencies have been held with 100 students in three partner schools in Wakefield, Sunderland and Walsall to understand the experience of teenagers over the past few years and incorporate their voices into the piece. Shut Up, I’m Dreaming explores the hopes and dreams of young people in an uncertain world through an eclectic combination of movement, dance, music and audience participation.  

The PappyShow is a physical theatre company which aims to platform marginalised identities and create diverse, joyful and collaborative productions rooted in the lived experience of their performers, bringing people together to move, dance, create moments of radical joy and share stories. 

“This new production, Shut Up, I’m Dreaming is a bright, brave response to our time,” Kane Husbands, Director and Founder of The PappyShow said. “The research alone has been an incredible journey and we have been so inspired by how this next generation – our future change makers and leaders – have responded to us. At a time where we feel creativity is being removed from the curriculum, we believe taking performance and theatre directly to young people can inspire and make us dream of more, see things differently and connect us to our feelings. I hope we can inspire young people across the country to walk into and lead BIG Lives and to keep dreaming… their whole life.”  

National Theatre embarks on largest ever schools tour with new production created with teenagers across the country  

14-year old student Harry Todd from Oxclose Community Academy in Sunderland said, “I am so excited to see how our ideas and stories about our lives have influenced this new show. Our voices as young people are often muffled but working with The PappyShow and creating this piece of drama makes sure our voices are amplified and prioritised.”   

The cast includes Joseph Adelakun, Marc Benga, Jake Garvey, Lewis Griffin, Rachel-Leah Hosker, Rianna Kellman, Jeff D’Sangalang, Bianca Stephens, Molly Walker and Seda Yildiz.   

The schools’ tour forms part of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnerships network to grow and sustain new audiences for live theatre and create more opportunities to engage in the arts.

Touring schedule 

Date  Location
9 – 13 Jan Outer East London & South Essex 
16 – 20 Jan  Greater Manchester 
23 – 27 Jan  Greater Manchester  
30 Jan – 3 Feb  Wakefield 
6 – 10 Feb  Sunderland  
13 – 17 Feb Wolverhampton 
27 Feb – 3 Mar Doncaster 
6 – 10 Mar  Stoke  
13 – 17 Mar Leicester 
20 – 25 Mar Peterborough 
27 – 31 Mar North Devon  
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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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