New Year, New Directions. That's the programme at Hampstead Theatre, where a nine-week season of new writing - including five world premi res - started yesterday. Alongside the plays, the theatre is running an education programme, offering opportunities to experience the nuts and bolts side of productions.
Among the options are three-day stage management and technical placements. There are also rehearsal workshops with playwright Philip Ridley on his production Fairytaleheart, and design workshops. All the shows in the season will be accompanied by schools workshops, geared mainly for GCSE and A-level students. New Directions is joint funded by an Arts for Everyone lottery award and the London Borough of Camden. All participants will become school student members, entitling them to other benefits in the year. For more information, call Jonathan Siddall on 0171 722 9301.
And more new writing, this time from Oxford Stage Company, which is presenting Junk, adapted from Melvin Burgess's award-winning novel about teenage drug culture. It is at the Oxford Playhouse until tomorrow. A second play, aimed at eight to 11-year-olds, Johnny Blue, Where Are You? by Jane Buckler deals with childhood grief. Call 01865 798600.
And speaking of drugs, the Tricycle presents Iced by Ray Shell. A joint production by Black Theatre Co-operative and Nottingham Playhouse, this time the subject is crack. The play looks at the downfall of black American Cornelius Washington Jnr as part of an exploration of themes on personal responsibility and making life choices. It's also about love and loss, accompanied by an original sound track combining hip hop and acid jazz. Due to the "strong" language and sensitive scenes, it is recommended for students over the age of 16. The Tricycle's education department is running three matinee performances and post-show discussions, including speakers from drug agencies, for school and college groups on January 28, February 4 and February 11. Tickets, Pounds 2.50 each, from Jenny Edwards on 0171 372 6611.
At the National Theatre, all-day insets for teachers include: on January 31, a directing design workshop on Edward Gordon Craig's approach to theatre in ways that can be used in the classroom; on February 6 and 7, a course on comedy for practical use with young people, through language, situation and character. Each day session costs Pounds 60 and runs from 10.30 to 4.30. More information on 0171 261 9256.