Our Community: NSDF, Slung Low & Paines Plough

By James Phillips

Last Monday we cancelled NSDF, the 64-year-old Festival that’s a British Theatre institution and through which decades worth of talent has come, and which was going to be based at our friends Curve in Leicester.

Monday night I’m on the phone with Alan Lane, Artistic Director of Slung Low and one of the great supporters of NSDF.

We start plotting what we can do to be useful.

Alan offers us the small pot of money he would have donated as a prize, that comes with the Award named after his venue, the oldest social club in Britain: The Holbeck Cup. It’s an amazing gesture. We’ve paid our staff and teams in full everything agreed for the cancelled week so things are pretty tight.
We chat through it: can we repurpose a real breathing face to face Festival and turn it into an online one in two weeks, on a shoestring?

What could possibly go wrong, we say?

So: on Wednesday we announce we are doing a virtual festival.

Within 12 hours Emma Rice, Mark Ravenhill, April De Angelis and Laura Wade have all agreed to offer special workshops.

And those who had already agreed to be part of NSDF 20, like our amazing partners Paines Plough and friends such as Prasanna Puwanarajah, Emily Lim, Charlotte Josephine, Kully Thiarai, Rash Dash and Lung Theatre immediately came on-board.

And more people are offering to join us daily. Viral helpfulness at a moment when it’s most necessary. Just today further financial support for the online festival has been kindly offered by Create Balance.

So here’s the plan:
Same dates: April 4-10th.
Location: Wherever you are.
Everything free.

We will be running more than 35 online workshops.
Bespoke Mentoring sessions with leading industry professionals.
An NSDF Quiz Night.

We’re a national organisation, so our partnership with Paines Plough is brilliant: and we’re running a special COME TO WHERE I'M FROM where young people from across the UK will be invited to write and share mini plays about the places that have shaped them.

Slung Low will present a special edition of ‘You Bet- An Interactive Game Show of Daring Do and Skill’, live from The Holbeck.

As I said: what could possibly go wrong?

Come along, from your home, and be part of something.


Follow us at @NSDFest, on Facebook, at www.nsdf.org.uk or email me at james@nsdf.org.uk to find out more. And wish us luck!