Zero For The Young Dudes!: Playwright Alistair McDowall meets young actors starring in NT Connections Play


Alistair McDowall is a playwright who grew up in Great Broughton in the North East of England. His play Brilliant Adventures was awarded a Bruntwood Prize in 2011, and was developed as part of the Young Writers Festival 2012 at the Royal Court.

Fast forward a few years, Alistair has now written a series of plays, although this one in particular is his first for National Theatre Connections – known as the biggest youth theatre festival on the planet, this festival takes place each year,The Lowry being one of the participants.

Zero For The Young Dudes! is the play that the young group of actors here at The Lowry chose for the annual festival, and for the past few months have been rehearsing ready for their performances at the end of February.

But last weekend, the young actors took a break from rehearsals to meet the man himself, as he came over to Salford to meet them all and answer their most burning questions.


Explaining how he came about writing Zero For The Young Dudes, he mentioned that he got asked to write for the youth theatre festival and accepted, despite the fact that usually he wouldn’t take on work without really knowing what he was going to do. But he knew that he’d love to work with them, and from then on he didn’t look back – Zero For The Young Dudes! was born – a play about a group of young people at a summer camp plotting a revolution.

“When you’re a playwright, you’ve got to think about the audience all the time.” Alistair McDowall

Referring back to the beginning of his talk, when he spoke to the young actors about the events happening in the world at the moment, he also mentioned that when it came to writing plays, he found it quite fun to assault the audience – in a way of saying, well, this is your fault. He felt that this play was relevant two years ago, and even more so now.


Aside from talks of a hypothetical revolution, he also answered questions from the cast of Zero For The Young Dudes! – questions that certainly cured the young actor’s curiosity about the plot. Even though he had written the play a couple of years ago, Alistair was more than helpful in filling in the gaps.

Zero For The Young Dudes! as part of National Theatre Connections opens this month, tickets can be bought here:

Written by Georgia Litherland