National Theatre and HOME presents

NT Connections 2023: Day 4

Greater Manchester’s youth theatres, schools and colleges perform here at HOME in the National Theatre’s Connections festival, a celebration of young people, theatre-making and the importance of access to the arts.

Each year the National Theatre commissions ten new plays for young people to perform, bringing together some of the most exciting writers with the theatre-makers of tomorrow.

All shows begin at 19.00 unless stated, and the running order is decided on the night.

Keep checking this page for ticketing information and show updates.

Oldham College
Is my Microphone On by Jordan Tannahill

How do we move forward from here? Young people know that time is running out, and will no longer be able to avoid the consequences of climate change. They speak to the adults in the audience, holding them to account, questioning the choices they have made and the choices that have not been made, and the decisions that children will be forced to make. What kind of future do they stand to inherit?

In 2023 Is My Microphone On? will also be produced by youth theatre groups across Sweden, as part of Länk’s national festival, culminating in performances on 22 April – Earth Day.

Jordan Tannahill is a novelist, playwright, and director of film and theatre.

His debut novel, Liminal, won France’s 2021 Prix des Jeunes Libraires. His second novel, The Listeners, was a Canadian national bestseller, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Giller Prize.

Jordan Tannahill’s work has been translated into a dozen languages. His plays, performance texts, and productions have been presented at venues including the Young Vic, Sadler’s Wells, Festival d’Avignon, The Kitchen, Lincoln Center, Deutsches Theater, The Volkstheater, Canadian Stage, Festival TransAmériques and on London’s West End. He has twice won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama: in 2014 for Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays, and in 2018 for his plays Botticelli in the Fire and Sunday in Sodom.

As a filmmaker, his work has been presented at international festivals. His virtual reality performance Draw Me Close, produced by the National Theatre and the National Film Board of Canada, was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival and Venice Biennale in 2017, and ran at London’s Young Vic in 2019. Jordan Tannahill has also worked in dance, choreographing and performing with Christopher House in Marienbad for the Toronto Dance Theatre, and writing the text for Akram Khan’s dance pieces Xenos and Outwitting the Devil, both currently touring internationally.

From 2008 to 2016, he wrote and directed plays through his theatre company Suburban Beast. The company’s work was staged in theatres, art galleries, and found spaces, often with non-traditional collaborators like night-shift workers, frat boys, preteens and employees of Toronto’s famed Honest Ed’s discount emporium. From 2012 to 2016, in collaboration with William Ellis, Tannahill ran the alternative art space Videofag out of their home in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood. The Videofag Book was published by Book*hug Press in 2017.

In 2019, CBC Arts named Tannahill as one of 69 LGBTQ Canadians, living or deceased, who has shaped the country’s history.

Helsby High School
Strangers Like Me by Ed Harris

Elbow’s best friend, Hamster, has unexpectedly died. Everyone expects Elbow to be grieving… right?  But Elbow isn’t sure how to do it.

Privately, Elbow is beginning to feel they weren’t even as close as everyone makes out. It would be better if everyone just left Elbow alone – his mum, dad, stupid big brother, Donut, but especially all those annoying kids at school pretending they really care by writing poems, singing songs and holding a vigil at Elbow and Hamster’s favourite meeting place. Who do they think they are?

Elbow doesn’t know. He just has a strange feeling inside – an absence of feeling at all.

Ed Harris is an award-winning, dyslexic playwright, poet and comedy writer based in Brighton. Before finding his feet as a writer, Ed Harris was a binman, care worker and even spent a winter as a husky trainer in Lapland. Plays include Mongrel Island at Soho Theatre and in Mexico (as Perro Sin Raza); and The Cow Play, What the Thunder Said (Writers’ Guild Award for Best Play for Younger Audiences) and Never Ever After (shortlisted for the Meyer-Whitworth award). He wrote his first opera, A Shoe Full of Stars (YAM Award in 2018 for Best Opera), with composer Omar Shahryar.

Radio includes Porshia, Dot, The Resistance of Mrs Brown (Sony Gold/Radio Academy Award), Troll (Writers’ Guild Award), and Billions (BBC Audio Drama Award). He is a Royal Literary Fellow and has recently been awarded an Arts Council grant to write his first children’s novel, The Night Is Large. Ed Harris will also be adapting a season of Kafka’s novels for radio and stage for both BBC Radio 4 and Oxford University’s Global Kafka Festival, commemorating the centenary of Franz Kafka’s death in 2024.


2 hours and 20 minutes

Strangers Like Me 

Recommended for ages 14+

Play explores responses to the death of a friend of the lead character (unseen, offstage).

Strong language is used.

In a non-naturalistic scene, one character – who is the embodiment of part of the lead character’s psyche – has their tongue ripped out. It is then reattached later in the play.

Is My Microphone On

Recommended for ages 13+, uses strong language.