For the fifth year running, London Drama invites young people above the age of seven to submit a short one-act play or poem to its Writing Challenge. Its aim is "to encourage young people to express their creative talents free of the constraints of the curriculum, or using the curriculum as a springboard. " Selected entries will have their work showcased at a Summer Festival. Last date for entries is March 20. Details from London Drama on 0171 405 4519.
For teachers who need to express their creative talents free of the constraints of the curriculum, London Drama is hosting a Drama Without Words day of physical theatre (mime and dance) in drama education. Run by Union Dance Company and Geoffrey Buckley (a Pierrot and commedia dell'arte actor and director), the day-long course will explore strategies for introducing movement into drama at primary and secondary levels. Buckley will focus on basic movement and mime techniques, helping participants work them into improvised scenes and characterisations. The course will be held on February 8 from 10am to 4.30pm at the Holborn Centre for the Performing Arts, Three Cups Yard, Sandland Street, London WC1R 4PZ. Details on 0171 405 4519.
The Royal Court Theatre is running workshops with its March tour of Backpay. Aimed at 16 to 25-year-olds, the two workshops being offered to young audiences will focus on rehearsal techniques and new writing. Backpay, written by 23-year-old South African Tamantha Hammerschlag, met with critical success at its debut in the Royal Court Young Writers' Festival 1996. It is about a disillusioned white teenager in post-apartheid South Africa. Details of tour: Royal Court on 0171 565 5000.
Do you have pupils who want to get stuck into youth theatre? Shared Experience runs a youth theatre for eight to 11s and 12 to 15-year-olds and a young performers' group for 16 to 25s. Details: 0171 434 9248.
Do you feel at sea about choosing the right theatre company to come to your school? With drama advisers thin on the ground, making informed decisions is harder than ever before. But fear not! The A P T Directory, dubbed the Who's Who of Theatre for Children and Young People, is hot off the press with details of 112 theatre groups throughout England, Scotland and Wales, the age ranges they cater for, information on companies working with youth groups, special needs, early years, and much else. For a free copy, send an A4 sae (92p for first class, 73p for second) to Directory, A P T , Unicorn Arts Theatre, Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7JB.
The outstanding Little Angel Theatre presents a new John Agard play for audiences aged five and above. The Many-legged Musicians of Bremley Town is a new take on the Grimms's The Musicians of Bremen, directed by Christopher Leith. The show runs from February 8 to mid-April. Bookings on 0171 226 1787.
To tie in with the Young Vic's outstanding production of Beauty and the Beast, a collective of local artists has been working with six Southwark schools to create artwork in response to the play. After a two-day exhibition at The Cut Gallery near the Young Vic, the artwork now begins a tour of the six schools. The participants are among the 3,000 children who saw the play thanks to the Young Vic's Funded Ticket Scheme, which encourages local businesses to give money which allows children to attend free or at a subsidised rate.