See yourself as a budding playwright?

LOOKING GOOD Members of The Kings Youth Theatre.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (121061-3024)
LOOKING GOOD Members of The Kings Youth Theatre. Picture: Malcolm Wells (121061-3024)
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IMAGINE you had a cast of 30 dazzling young actors, a leading theatrical venue in the heart of the city and the freedom to write a play on a subject of your choice to perform to hundreds of people.

Well The News has joined forces with The Kings Youth Theatre (KYT) to make that a reality with the launch of an exciting competition for budding playwrights that will offer just that.

People of all ages are invited to submit entries for a 10-minute play that will be performed by a talented troupe of seven to 12-year-olds at the Kings Theatre’s New Writers Festival on June 24.

KYT member Caitlin Hamilton, 10, who is a pupil at Craneswater Juniors, said: ‘This is an exciting competition because it will encourage people to use their imaginations.

‘I hope there’s a good part for me. My ideal character is Wendy in Peter Pan but I’d be happy with something dramatic. I’m very good at pretending to cry.’

Members of the KYT, which also has a senior group for 12 to 17-year-olds, rehearse every Saturday in term-time towards a major summer production at the Kings as well as smaller performances across the city.

Tom Bonnar, nine, a pupil at St Alban’s CoE Primary in West Leigh, has been a member of the KYT since it was established two years ago.

He has already written a play The Invisible Bench for the festival – and is looking forward to seeing what other people come up with.

Tom said: ‘I enjoyed writing my play, it’s the first I’ve ever written so it’s amazing that I’ll have the chance to perform it on stage.

‘It would be nice to see lots of young people enter the competition because they will write from a child’s point of view which we can relate to.’

The competition forms part of our Read All About It campaign to boost literacy across the area.

Joanna Bennington, KYT director, said: ‘I’m hoping we will get a massive influx of scripts and lots of bedtime reading. Literacy is so important – and it’s not just about reading or writing books.’


The play has to be original, with up to six characters, requiring minimal props and costumes and 10 A4 pages long. It should be suitable for seven to 12-year-olds, i.e. with no violence or swearing.

Submit entries by April 13 to Joanna Bennington, New Writer Stage Play Competition, Kings Theatre, Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth PO5 2QJ or email it to


PROPOSALS that schools should be fined for poor literacy are ‘foolish’, a Portsmouth headteacher has said.

An independent report into the outbreak of riots across England last summer, which was released yesterday, said poor literacy among young people was a factor in the behaviour of young people.

The report suggests that schools should be fined if their pupils leave unable to read.

But Adam Dare, head of King Richard School in Paulsgrove, said: ‘It’s simplistic to say poor literacy leads to anti-social behaviour. Fining schools and taking money away from other children is deeply foolish.’