THERE'S still a chance to catch the first community use of the newly finished Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton.

Colbury and Ashurst Theatrical Society (CATS) are staging Chatroom, their first entry in a UK-wide youth theatre competition organised by London's National Theatre.

Shell Connections is one of the world's largest celebrations of youth theatre and was established 12 years ago in response to a widespread demand for challenging new plays for young people to perform. Ten newly commissioned plays are available to youth theatre groups, who compete to stage their productions at regional finals or at the National Theatre itself.

Colbury and Ashurst Theatrical Society Youth Theatre chose Chatroom by the Irish writer Enda Walsh, which is on tonight.

"We read through the available scripts and Chatroom was the one that really stood out," says producer Kevin Denson.

"It's a very edgy play, but it's also very familiar ground for CATS Youth - most of them spend half their evenings in online chat."

In the play, six teenagers, three boys and three girls, gather in various Internet chatrooms.

A latent frustration leads two of them to turn on the weakest one and try to talk him in to killing himself as a statement about teenage rebellion.

Producer Kevin Denson went to great lengths to research for the competition including taking part in the training weekend which launched Shell Connections 2005 at Theatre Royal, Bath.

He also met and took part in workshops with the play's celebrated author Enda Walsh.

The audience will include adjudicators from Shell Connections/National Theatre.

If successful, CATS Youth Theatre will go on to perform the play at the Theatre Royal, Bath, in the regional final on May 28 and 29. Shell Connections culminates in July 2005 with a celebratory festival at the National Theatre in London where 12 companies will be invited to perform. Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre, says: "The Shell Connections programme has everything."

Tickets are available from Totton College and the Hanger Farm box office. Tel: 023 8066 7683.