SWINDON drama students are getting connected next week with two new plays they hope will go national.

The New College students are taking part in the National Connections annual event, which involves more than 230 young theatre groups in the UK.

The idea behind Connections is to recognise new plays for young people, written by contemporary playwrights. The celebration of youth theatre is set up by the National Theatre and supported by the Arts Council England.

The One Act Drama Showcase is on Wednesday, February 6, and Thursday, February 7, at the Phoenix Theatre, New College, and both plays are directed by Matthew Clift.

The students are staging Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy, a play about a stranger in a crumbling seaside town who finds his friend has been killed in a homophobic hate crime.

The play will be performed again at the partner theatre, Salisbury Playhouse, on May 3. If they are selected the students will perform at the National Theatre for the Connections Festival from July 3-8.

On the same bill at the Phoenix Theatre in Swindon, A-level drama students are presenting their entry for this year’s Harold Jolliffe One Act Play Festival called Strings. The festival is part of the All England Theatre Festival and runs at the Swindon Arts Centre from Thursday, April 11, to Saturday, April 13.

This play was written by the students themselves.

The showcase begins at 7pm. Tickets are £5 on the door or from matthew.clift@newcollege.ac.uk.