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About the plays

Stay With Me is in fact two plays, the first set in a Germany and the second in England, with the events taking place over the same three nights. As the stakes are raised, fifteen children, thousands of miles apart discover together the true meaning of friendship, love - and what it is to be truly human.

Writer, Stuart Draper, had presented some of his early ideas to Maria Bates, the South London Youth Theatre's teacher. She liked what she saw and wanted more.

'When Stuart first read me some of his initial scribblings of ideas for This Is My Story (the first part of Stay With Me) I was in tears in minutes,' admits Maria.

'I am not quite sure what the waitress in the greasy spoon where we had chosen to meet thought was going on, it must have been a very odd site; I looked like an emotional wreck, crying, then laughing, then crying again over the eggs and bacon. I loved the concept and continued to push him to turn it into a play for the Youth Group to perform.'

Stuart went away and finished the script, which was delivered to Maria in late summer. 'I was gripped from my first reading of the finished script and knew the class would love it and enjoy the challenge of working on a piece that was more emotive and thought provoking than they had previously been exposed to.'

There were 15 children in the youth group and This Is My Story had parts for only nine. After initial casting sessions, Maria and her team had a vague idea about who may be best to cast in the first play, but wanted to see the children try out again, on a second piece that was to be written.

After workshopping ideas with the kids, Stuart wrote a second play - which is really a companion piece to the first. But, as usual, initial casting ideas went out of the window once the second piece arrived! The two plays were cast and work began on bringing them to life.

'The first time we read the play with the class everyone was excited about being cast and they all had an idea about which part they wanted to play. They were so enthused about a play being written especially for them to perform. We put it to the vote and the consensus was "YES, we want to do this one". '

'I don't want to give too much away about the play, as part of the joy of the piece are the unexpected twists and turns in the plot and the clever way the plays are linked together,' says Maria. She concludes: 'This is very much a Youth Theatre production for an adult audience and I am sure there won't be a dry eye in the house!'

How the plays were written

Notes on the plays