‘Homegrown’…National Youth Theatre’s Immersive Production Explores Radicalism

culture magazine

In February of this year three regular school girls left Bethnal Green Academy to travel to Syria and join ISIS.

As part of the National Youth Theatre’s 2015 season director Nadia Latif (Carrot, Even Stillness Breathes Softly Against A Brick Wall) and playwright Omar El-Khairy (The Keepers of Infinite Space, Sour Lips) have responded, creating a brand new site specific promenade production exploring the implications of radicalism and extremism on the people and communities behind the headlines.

The world premiere of the site specific show will take place inside Swiss Cottage’s UCL Academy with a cast of 112,  one of the biggest in London this year. Homegrown, in part a verbatim piece, will feature interviews with members of the Bethnal Green community amoungst others.

On the production’s inception and creation Latif and El-Khairy said: We had a number of reservations about making ‘a play about British Muslims going to join ISIS’. For so long, we had both resisted playing along with games of identity politics. So when the opportunity to do Homegrown came up we felt to give ourselves fully and honestly to this piece we had to try to redefine the terms on which it was to be made. Homegrown isn’t For Us By Us. The drive behind the production is to create a piece of theatre which unsettles preconceived ideas people come with to this subject matter.’ 

The NYT is also to return to the Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End later this year with three new productions, one of them documented in development as part of a new collaboration with Sky Arts. The 10-week rep season will feature: Consensual – a brand new play about consent and sex education; Wuthering Heights, in a new adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel and The Merchant of Venice – Shakespeare’s play abridged especially for schools by Tom Stoppard. Performances will start on 18 September 2015, with press performances on 6 and 7 October 2015.


More information at www.nyt.org.uk


Homegrown | UCL Academy | NW8 6HX | 12 – 29th August

Age restriction: 14+