A student from Woodford Green has been shortlisted in a playwriting competition.

Emilia Hitching, 17, from Bancroft's School, was shortlisted for the National Theatre’s annual playwriting competition for 14-19-year-olds and will have her play read by professional actors as part of the New Views Festival in July.

Emilia’s original play To Charlie was one of nine plays shortlisted from 350 entries across the UK by a panel of judges including playwright Chris Bush, NT Associate Director Lyndsey Turner, NT Senior Dramaturg Nina Steiger, and NT Connections Dramaturg Ola Animashawun.

In the play, Rachel has not spoken to her mother in two years but has no one left to call when she enters hospital to give birth. Two intrinsically different women must co-exist, if only to keep up appearances for the midwife, to allow Rachel's baby to enter a family at peace.

Reflecting the huge talent across the UK, this year’s shortlisted plays introduce fresh perspectives on a wide range of contemporary issues including mental health, Brexit, fake news and relationships.

Emilia said: “New Views has been a creative outlet for me during a fairly taxing first year of sixth-form and I have cherished the hours that I spent working on my script. It has been gratifying to have something which is solely mine, that I can pour all my creative energy into and polish not because it will be graded or examined but because I care about it.”

Chris Bush, playwright and member of the judging panel, said: “New Views is without doubt one of the most important things the National Theatre does. It targets young people at a crucial age where they're just starting to give serious thought to where their working lives might take them. I can think of no better introduction to the theatre, or the arts in general, than to have your debut play performed at the National, and year-in year-out these writers prove they are unquestionably up to this challenge.”

The winning play for this year’s New Views programme is If Not Now, When? by Isabel Hague from CAPA College in Wakefield. Her play will be staged at the National Theatre in a full production, alongside rehearsed readings of eight shortlisted plays performed by professional actors.

Hundreds of students from over 70 schools nationwide took part in New Views, learning about playwriting from some of the finest writers in the industry and writing their own 30-minute plays. Participating schools and colleges take part in in-school workshops with professional writers, as well as following an online course by playwright Jemma Kennedy and watching NT productions or NT Live broadcasts.

Performances of If Not Now, When? will take place on Monday, July 1, at 4.30pm and 7.30pm, and on Tuesday, July 2, at 1pm in the Dorfman Theatre.

Rehearsed readings of the other eight shortlisted plays will also take place on Monday, July 1, and Tuesday, July 2, in the Dorfman Theatre.