Congratulations go to HSDC Alton student Mackenzie Wellfare, who has won the National Theatre’s annual playwriting competition, New Views, for 14-19-year-olds. Mackenzie’s play, Perspective, was selected from over 400 final entries from 74 secondary schools and colleges across the UK.

New Views is an annual competition that allows students to develop playwriting techniques and understand the power of theatre to create a place of community and the shared experience of storytelling. This year, the programme was delivered digitally through workshops with professional writers, a playwriting course and the opportunity to watch NT productions online. Students wrote their own original 30-minute plays, exploring topical issues from mental health and the pandemic to politics and relationships. HSDC Alton’s Year 12 Drama A Level class all took part in the competition and along with Mackenzie, Georgina Fitch and Ruth Wilkinson also made the longlist of 150.

Mackenzie was inspired to write the play to share his own and others’ experience of Autism. The play, set in his bedroom, explores the experience of an autistic teenage boy, Leo, through conversations with his best friend, Shaun. Leo’s big imagination fills the stage as he considers how the world sees him.

Professional actors will perform the play in a full production at the National’s Dorfman Theatre, and it will be shared digitally with hundreds of students across the UK in July. Mackenzie will also take part in a streamed Q&A session alongside the director.

Mackenzie is thrilled, “I’m so excited to have won! To have my play performed is just unbelievable, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I want to show a perspective of Autism that I believe hasn’t been truly shown in modern media, and yet which some people experience every day of their lives.”