National Theatre launches a new series of National Debates

The National Theatre is launching a new series of topical panel discussions this autumn centred on Youth, Nationhood and Death. The discussions will respond to issues raised by the repertoire or affecting the nation as a whole, will last for 1 hour, and tickets cost £6 (£5 concessions).

Youth – culture & identity 

Thu 29 September, 6pm, Dorfman

What’s it like to be young in the 21st century? A panel discuss the influences, pressures, challenges, opportunities and threats encountered by young people as they explore identity, cultural place, global politics and media, to try and understand the state of the young nation.

The panel:

Jennifer Blake, a youth worker and former gang leader, who has run an award-winning charity, Safe’N’Sound, based in Peckham in South London, for the past 12 years, helping young people nationally to get out of gangs, drugs and abuse.

Juno Dawson (formerly known as James), an author and activist. She was voted Queen of Teen in 2014, and writes YA fiction and non-fiction, tackling puberty, sex, relationships, and LGBT and mental health issues in a frank and funny fashion. She contributes to Attitude, GT, Glamour and the Guardian and to news items concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education on Woman’s Hour, Front Row, This Morning and Newsnight. She is a School Role Model for the charity Stonewall@junodawson

James Massiah, performance poet, lyricist and music producer, who focuses on relationships with youth culture, religion, sexuality and ethics. He has worked for the BBC, the Guardian and Nike, has performed at Tate Modern, The Southbank Centre and the Houses of Parliament and was part of Shakespeare reCITED at Selfridges, a series of music and art performances from grime and spoken word artists in collaboration with cult streetwear brands, in his case, British designer Liam Hodges. @JamesMassiah

Barbara Ntumy, a recent graduate in International Relations, Peace and Conflict from London Metropolitan University, she sits on the National Executive Council of NUS and is currently Deputy President of London Met Students’ Union. She is founder of the political apparel line, Sassy Tees, which she has channelled into her political work.

@BarbaraNtumy @BarbaraMetSU

Chaired by Ayshea Buksh. a reporter for BBC News and BBC London News since 2007. She also works for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, reporting on issues such as competitive robotics in schools, parenting, and most recently, knife crime. @AysheaBuksh

Nationhood – Ireland and Scotland

Thu 3 November, 5.45pm, Dorfman

The National Theatre has recently staged classic and modern drama from Ireland (The Plough and the Stars) and Scotland (Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour). Four months after the UK made the momentous decision to leave the EU, and while it is re-examining its sense of citizenship, belonging and neighbourhood, relating to both geography and community, a panel discusses national identity and cultural responses to the idea of nationalism.

Guests include David Greig, playwright and Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre, who has emerged as a significant political commentator in contemporary Scotland, intervening in the debates over Creative Scotland in 2012 and proving an advocate of Scottish independence in the run-up to the Referendum in 2014.

Death – final matters

Thu 24 November, 5.45pm, Dorfman

Death is a subject that society finds difficult to discuss, but a panel will attempt to do just that, by looking at questions such as the language we use when dealing with disease and illness; the impact on those left behind; the digital legacy; end of life and hospice care; and euthanasia and dignity in dying choices.

Guests include Dr Kathryn Mannix, Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Newcastle Hospitals, and Andrew McDonald, Chair of the Board of disability rights charity Scope, and former CEO of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

Chaired by Nick Robinson, journalist and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.


To book tickets, and for more information, visit the National Theatre Website