Seventeen-year-old student Delphina Hayles from HSDC Alton College has been shortlisted as part of the 2023 National Theatre’s annual nationwide playwriting competition New Views.

Delphina’s play called Bill & Bunny is one of eight plays shortlisted from 468 entries from 90 secondary schools and colleges across the UK. 

The play will be presented as a rehearsed reading by professional actors in the Clore Learning Centre at the National Theatre on London’s Southbank for participating students to watch as part of the New Views Festival.

Delphina’s play Bill & Bunny is about two lonely and lost individuals. An unlikely match, they find solace in each other’s company and form a life changing friendship. 

Growing up in a multi-generational environment, Delphina has always felt a strong connection with her grandparent’s generation.

Inspired by the loneliness and isolation many older generations feel and the growing gap between Gen Z and Baby Boomers, Bill and Bunny explores what connection can teach us.

The play was shortlisted by a panel of judges from across the industry including young actor Archie Barnes (Phaedra), NT Writer in Residence Iman Qureshi (The Funeral Director), theatre director Mumba Dodwell (Othello) and NT Associate Dramaturg Sasha Milavic Davies (One Side to The Other).

Seven other shortlisted young writers will have their plays performed as rehearsed readings and the winning play, 3.2.1 by Keira Grierson from Oasis Academy Coulsdon in Croydon will be presented as a staged reading on the Olivier Stage for the first time at the NT’s New Views Festival on July 6.

This year’s shortlisted plays speak to the interests, passions and experiences of young people from across the nation. They explored a range of themes including intergenerational relationships, mental health, dementia, workers’ rights and the current conflict in Ukraine.

More than a thousand students from schools and colleges nationwide took part in New Views this year, learning about playwriting through workshops and mentoring from professional writers and writing their own 30-minute plays. Schools have the opportunity to watch NT productions and teachers take part in professional training to support their students.

Delphina said: “I have loved every second of New Views. It has been such an amazing opportunity to be given this creative outlet, I have found it very motivating, and it has been so wonderful to have a reason to write. I am really proud of the script I have created, and it is really rewarding to know that it has been well received by others.”

To book tickets to watch the winning play at the New Views Festival, visit the NT website.