Some of East Lothian’s best young actors are set to light up the stage at a national festival this month, after being selected to perform there.

The Mill Youth Theatre, based in East Linton, was selected along with three other theatre groups from Glasgow, Aberdeen and St Andrews to perform at the prestigious National Theatre Connections Festival in Pitlochry.

Now in its 28th year, National Theatre Connections Festival 2023 draws together 10 new plays, from some of the UK’s most talented and popular playwrights, for young people – aged between 13 and 19 – to perform.

The annual event takes place next Saturday and Sunday (March 25 and 26), showcasing the best young acting talent from around Scotland, with 15 of the county’s most accomplished young actors making the trip north.

Linda Grant, founder and director of The Mill Youth Theatre, which is part of her theatre arts school The Drama Mill, could not wait to see its young stars shine on stage at the festival.

She said: “We are really excited to be performing (Circle Dreams Around) The Terrible, Terrible Past by Simon Longman as part of the 2023 National Theatre Connections Festival at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

“Our youth theatre works with 450 young people from age five to 18 in the different towns and villages of the east coast. The group performing at Pitlochry are our senior North Berwick students who are aged 15 to 17 and the piece is directed by Claudia Overton and Stephanie Wynne.

“The Mill Youth Theatre has taken part in the National Theatre Connections Festival three times before, but this is the first time our students have had the opportunity to spend the whole weekend watching other youth theatre plays, taking part in workshops and feeling part of a bigger community of young people who love theatre and performing.

“Hiring professional theatres is expensive so generally we perform in schools, halls and churches, so it is just brilliant to perform in Pitlochry’s brand-new studio space.

“A huge thanks to the National Theatre Connections Festival and Pitlochry Festival Theatre for this fabulous opportunity.

“We are really looking forward to meeting everyone later this month.”

The plays being performed at the festival offer young actors an engaging and diverse range of material to perform, read and study.

Touching on themes including climate crisis, politics, toxic masculinity and gang culture, the works provide topical, pressing subject matter for students to explore in performances.

East Lothian Courier: The Mill Youth Theatre

Linda hoped those involved would get the best out of the facilities in Pitlochry and learn more about their craft.

She said: “It can often be difficult to find new exciting writing for young people to explore and perform, so the Connections plays are such a valuable resource for young theatre makers.”