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The Independent Culture
Peter Brook, the director of The Man Who . . . (currently at the Contact Theatre, Manchester), on why he is drawn to the work of anthropologists and psychologists (in this case, the writings of the neurologist Oliver Sacks): 'Broadly speaking, I've always skipped playwrights. Present-day writers are part of a theatrical tradition which seems to lack the passionate generosity enabling an author to fully enter into the contradictory nature of humanity - to create fully resolved human beings.'

Forty years on, the pioneering Theatre Centre continues to lead the field of theatre-in-education. Philip Osment's production of Lin Coghlan's Bretevski Street, a remarkable play for 10- to 13- year-olds, is on national tour, as is Diane Samuels' Turncoat, which is being workshopped with senior secondary students. The company's tackling of themes of prejudice and difference within a youth framework would make it an easy target for cutbacks, were it not for the unquestioned depth of experience of its writers, directors and performers.

Samuels' award-winning Kindertransport (about to open in New York) was produced here by the Soho Theatre Company. Its latest youth initiative involves a search for young child actors, aged 13 to 18, for Robin Lindsay Wilson's new play Peripheral Violence. Set in Glasgow, the play requires Scottish accents, but previous acting experience is not necessary. Auditions are will be held this Saturday: details from John Cannon on 071-262 7907.

The National Theatre education department, thanks to British Telecom sponsorship, has just launched National Connections. This scheme will, with 200 schools, further education colleges and youth groups across the country, create a body of work to be showcased at the Cottesloe in July.

In the longer term, 10 other regional theatres from the Lyric, Belfast, to the Traverse, Edinburgh, will further the scheme in tandem with the National, providing workshops and developing the youth work to performance level.

Interested parties should contact Suzy Graham-Adriani at the National on 071-928 2033.

(Photograph omitted)