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OnOff Stage

BT National Connections is entering its second phase, bringing together a group of top British playwrights and directors to work with some of the country's most promising youth theatres.

Last Sunday, writers including Christopher Hampton, Snoo Wilson and Ken Campbell presented readings of their new plays or adaptations commissioned by the National Theatre. The plays, to be directed by the likes of Hettie McDonald, Simon McBurney and Lindsay Posner, will be performed by 200 youth theatre groups across the country in regional theatres in the spring and a further selection will appear at the National.

The fifth Linbury Prize for Stage Design has been launched to provide opportunities for young designers at the beginning of their careers. The biennial scheme is being added to this year with the inclusion of a Linbury Commission, available to professional directors, choreographers, writers, composers, producers and venues. Production proposals must be received by February 13. For an application form, ring 0171 221 7883.

More regional Christmas shows: Birmingham Stage Company's production of Roald Dahl's George's Marvellous Medicine sets out on a national tour after its premiere at the Birmingham Rep until January 21. Among the tour's venues will be the Lyceum Theatre, Crewe (February 13-18), Charter Theatre, Preston (March 6-11) and Theatre Royal, Winchester (April 3-8). Keep an eye out in your local press.

Palace Theatre, Watford presents The Sleeping Beauty by Roy Hudd until January 14, promising "side-splitting, finger-clicking, foot-tapping fun." Who could ask for more? Box office 0923 225671.

Palace Theatre Centre, Southend on Sea is showing The Wizard of Oz until January 7. Box office 0702 342564.

Redgrave Theatre, Bristol: Alice Through the Looking Glass, performed and staged by final year students at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School until December 17. Details from Rose Cottam on 0272 733535.

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