Coventry theatre graduates set to perform at National Student Drama Festival

Coventry theatre graduates set to perform at National Student Drama Festival

Strongbox Theatre’s production of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Alumni news

Thursday 14 March 2013

Press contact

Press Team

A theatre company formed by Coventry University performing arts graduates has been selected to take part in this year’s National Student Drama Festival (NSDF).

Strongbox Theatre – which was started up by former theatre and professional practice students Joshua Patel, Cassey North and Laura Whitehouse – was one of only 11 companies from a total of 80 entrants chosen to perform at the prestigious festival which takes place from 23 to 29 March in Scarborough.

The National Student Drama Festival, sponsored by The Sunday Times, was founded in 1956 and presents outstanding productions made by young and up and coming theatre makers. Each year the NSDF team see up to 100 student acts from all across the UK, selecting the most exceptional for its annual showcase in North Yorkshire.

The shows form part of the festival, which also includes workshops, training sessions and discussion groups, and are watched by over eight hundred students who come from all over the country to be part of what is a major event in the theatrical calendar.

Strongbox impressed the NSDF team with their presentation of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses.  Drawing on Jeanette Winterson’s modern take on the Grimm’s work, Sexing the Cherry, this playful depiction of the story sees twelve sisters torn apart and forced to marry twelve princes, before rebelling against their demons in an attempt to reunite and live as they once did.

Strongbox debuted the play last year in the Shop Front Theatre as part of the annual degree show at Coventry University and it was so well received the company restaged it on the University’s city centre campus in January this year. The play, which features seven current Coventry University performing arts students, will now receive a further airing at the festival in Scarborough later this month.

The University is keen to support students and graduates with valuable career enhancing opportunities and is assisting Strongbox in its efforts to raise funds to take part in the festival.

Joshua Patel from Strongbox Theatre said:

We’re absolutely thrilled to have been selected to take part in this year’s National Student Drama Festival.

Attending this long-established and highly regarded festival presents a fantastic opportunity both for us as a fledgling theatre company and for the students joining us for the week. As well as performing on stage we’ll have access to a variety of workshops, discussions and masterclasses run by experienced industry professionals.

Being part of the festival gives us the chance to present our work to a wider audience, work with and learn from seasoned theatre practitioners, and build long-standing relationships with invaluable contacts from within our peer group and from the industry itself.


Dr Natalie Garrett Brown from the Department of Performing Arts at Coventry University said:

We’d like to congratulate Strongbox on making it to the National Student Drama Festival. Places at this high profile theatrical event are always hotly contested and I know Strongbox were up against some very stiff competition so they’ve done brilliantly to have been selected.

I’d like to think that their success reflects well on the University and I know that they and the students that are accompanying them will gain enormously from the experience. I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more from Strongbox in years to come.

The National Student Drama Festival takes place from Saturday 23 to Friday 29 March in Scarborough. For further information about the festival, including Strongbox Theatre’s performances, please visit

For further press information please contact Mark Farnan, communications officer, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 8245 or email