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Writing submissions: Yorkshire writers

crucible

We’ve been notified of another exciting opportunity for Yorkshire based writers. The play submission window at West Yorkshire Playhouse has just closed but as one door closes another opens…

Sheffield Theatres – 4×15

Sheffield Theatres are looking for Yorkshire-based early-career writers for exciting new writing initiative 4×15. Our Joint Artistic Director James started his career at Sheffield Theatres and we worked with them on our first Roundabout season back in 2011. We can’t recommend working with them enough.

Sheffield Theatres has a national reputation for developing exceptional new work and wants to continue supporting local emerging writers, directors, and actors through projects that respond to their main stage productions. They believe these opportunities are vital for early career practitioners to develop connections and confidence in their craft. They are particularly interested in hearing from underrepresented voices.

Overview

4×15 will bring together four early-career writers and two movement directors to develop fifteen-minute plays for the Crucible Studio Theatre.

Ten applicants will be shortlisted to meet with Sheffield Theatres and receive a series of stimuli inspired by the upcoming production of ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’. Shortlisted writers will be asked to produce treatments of their planned scripts from which four will be selected.

The selected four writers will work to develop their plays and see them professionally debuted in the Studio Theatre in early April 2017.

Sheffield Theatres will provide:

  • Dramaturgical support from two directors to mentor you through the development of your work
  • Having your play performed by professional actors in the Studio Theatre
  • Networking opportunities with other writers and industry contacts
  • The opportunity to explore the value of incorporating a Movement Director into the creative process

Timeline/Commitment

This project demands tight turnarounds and you must be able to commit to the schedule as detailed below:

  • You must be available to attend an initial meeting with other shortlisted writers on Wednesday 4th January 2017
  • 13th January – Treatment deadline
  • 16th January – Selection of four writers to continue development
  • 8th February – First draft deadline
  • 14th February – Development day: dramaturgical meetings, performance of ‘Everybody’s Talking about Jamie’ and Talkback
  • 24th February – Second draft deadline (character requirements to be confirmed)
  • 17th March – Final draft deadline
  • You should also be available as discussed with your director during rehearsals from Tuesday 28th March
  • The performances will take place on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th April 2017

Remuneration

Each of our four writers will receive a one-off fee of £300 for their work on the productions.

How to apply

Send a copy of your CV, a cover letter explaining your interest in this project and how it will help you to develop your craft, and a sample of your previous writing for the stage.

Applications to be sent by email to g.richmond-scott@sheffieldtheatres.co.uk by Wednesday 21st December at 5pm.

Not based in Yorkshire?

We accept unsolicited scripts year round. All the information about submissions is available here. We look forward to hearing from you.

TheatreCraft and General Management Workshop

We’re thrilled to announce not one, not two, but THREE upcoming workshops aimed at sharing our processes and demystifying the way we make new plays.

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We are delighted to be returning to TheatreCraft – this year being held on our very own doorstep at The Waldorf Hotel on Monday 14 November. You’ll be able to find us at our stand in the Marketplace, where you can chat to members of the PP team about our work, and on top of this we will also be holding two workshops:

ROLES TO REACH GOALS – PAINES PLOUGH ON HOW TO PUT ON NEW WORK

11:45am-12:30pm

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

In this workshop aimed at people interested in pursuing a career in the theatre industry, we will be exploring the ins and outs of how you go about putting on a play, from first commission through to press night, and how the different people in a company work together to make it all happen.

THE ONLY STORY YOU’VE EVER HEARD – NEW WRITING

2:15pm-3:00pm

Novello Theatre

Hosted by our Playwright Fellow, Sam Steiner

Simon Stephens once told me that there has only ever been one story and we’re just retelling it over and over again. Let’s spend an hour trying to figure out whether he’s right.

Sound exciting? If you want to secure your place on these workshops, or find out more about this year’s TheatreCraft event, visit their website here.

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Trainee Director Anna Himali Howard in rehearsals for GROWTH earlier this year.

As if two workshops aren’t enough, we will be hosting the next in our series of General Management Workshops on Monday 12 December, 6:30pm-8:30pm (with attendee registration from 6pm), in the Paines Plough Rehearsal Room. We are located on 4th Floor, 43 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4DN.

This workshop is a chance for anyone interested in working in the theatre industry as a General Manager, or in Finance and Administration, to find out more about the profession. The evening will consist of a panel discussion followed by a Q&A; there will also be a chance to get to know everyone before and after the workshop.

We already have some brilliant panellists confirmed with more to come:

Natalie Adams, General Manager at Coney.

Fiona Gregory, General Manager at Frantic Assembly.

Catherine McKinney, General Manager at Almeida Theatre.

Sue Storr, freelance Arts Consultant and former General Manager at Paines Plough.

If you would like to register for a place just email Charlotte at charlotte@painesplough.com with the following information by 10am on Monday 21 November:

– Your name.
– Current role and where you work. (If you don’t have a job at the moment, don’t worry about this part – if you’re a student, please put what, and where, you are studying)
– A few sentences on why you’d like to attend this workshop.

So there we have it. A workshop for future playwrights, a workshop for future General Managers and a workshop for everyone in between. We hope to see you there!

Good news for South East London

We’ve got some COME TO WHERE I’M FROM news for you. Roy Williams will now perform his COME TO WHERE I’M FROM at Ovalhouse (04 July) rather than The Gate (29 June) as previously advertised. While Roy was born in West London he has lived in South East London for some time now.

It looks like West London’s loss is South East London’s gain. We look forward to seeing you there.

The full line up is listed below including our most recent edition Gabriel Bisset-Smith at Tricycle Theatre.

NORTH-WEST: Tricycle Theatre
Monday 27 June
With Karla Williams, Zia Ahmed, Mediah Ahmed, Ché Walker, Gabriel Bisset-Smith

SOUTH-WEST: Clapham Omnibus
Tuesday 28 June
With Elena Procopiu, Amman Singh Brar, Kathryn Golding, Alexandra Wood, Sudha Bhuchar

WEST: The Gate
Wednesday 29 June
With Divya Sachdeva, Sally Woodcock, Satinder Chohan, April De AngelisOmar El-Khairy

EAST: The Yard Theatre
Thursday 30 June
With Lucy Sheen, Afsana Begum, Lizzy Dijeh, In-Sook Chappell, Arinze Kene

SOUTH-EAST: Ovalhouse
Monday 04 July
With Sandra Townsend, Vinay Patel, Miran Hadzic, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Adam BraceRoy Williams

NORTH: Park Theatre
Wednesday 06 July
With Mahad Ali, Isley Lynn, Cheryl Walker, Stephen Jeffreys, Monsay Whitney

#CTWIF

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM London: more writers announced

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We’re excited to announce four more stellar playwrights will join the line-up for COME TO WHERE I’M FROM London, totalling in 30 writers over six venues between 27 June – 6 July.

Three have been added to the bill at The Gate on 29 June, including award-winning playwright and OBE Roy Williams, Omar El-Khairy and April De Angelis.

At Clapham Omnibus on 28 June, we are also joined by Sudha Bhuchar, former Artistic Director and founder of our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM London partner Tamasha.

We’ve also added Gabriel Bisset-Smith to the line-up at Tricycle Theatre on 27 June.

Tickets are on sale and limited at each venue. Click on the venue name below to take you through to the event page where you can buy yours.

Here’s the full list of writers:

NORTH-WEST: Tricycle Theatre
Monday 27 June
With Karla Williams, Zia Ahmed, Mediah Ahmed, Ché Walker, Gabriel Bisset-Smith

SOUTH-WEST: Clapham Omnibus
Tuesday 28 June
With Elena Procopiu, Amman Singh Brar, Kathryn Golding, Alexandra Wood, Sudha Bhuchar

WEST: The Gate
Wednesday 29 June
With Divya Sachdeva, Sally Woodcock, Satinder Chohan, April De AngelisOmar El-Khairy

EAST: The Yard Theatre
Thursday 30 June
With Lucy Sheen, Afsana Begum, Lizzy Dijeh, In-Sook Chappell, Arinze Kene

SOUTH-EAST: Ovalhouse
Monday 04 July
With Sandra Townsend, Vinay Patel, Miran Hadzic, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Adam BraceRoy Williams

NORTH: Park Theatre
Wednesday 06 July
With Mahad Ali, Isley Lynn, Cheryl Walker, Stephen Jeffreys, Monsay Whitney

#CTWIF

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM London


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We’re excited to announce the latest leg of our COME TO WHERE I’M FROM series.

Since 2010, more than 100 writers from across the UK have returned to their home towns to pen plays about the places that shaped them. At theatres from Bristol to Belfast, Cardiff to Coventry and Nottingham to Newcastle, these plays have been performed by the playwrights themselves, coming home to tell their tale.

But COME TO WHERE I’M FROM has never been done in London, until now…

In June and July we’re partnering with Tamasha on a series of London COME TO WHERE I’M FROM events across the city which will see some well known names alongside some of the most exciting new voices from the Tamasha Developing Artists programme.

We’ve got a series of events across the Capital with writers from North, South, East and West performing in their local theatres over the course of six summer days in June and July.

Here are the details…

NORTH-WEST: Tricycle Theatre
Monday 27 June
With Karla Williams, Zia Ahmed, Mediah Ahmed, Ché Walker

SOUTH-WEST: Clapham Omnibus
Tuesday 28 June
With Elena Procopiu, Amman Singh Brar, Kathryn Golding, Alexandra Wood

WEST: The Gate
Wednesday 29 June
With Divya Sachdeva, Sally Woodcock, Satinder Chohan

EAST: The Yard Theatre
Thursday 30 June
With Lucy Sheen, Afsana Begum, Lizzy Dijeh, In-Sook Chappell, Arinze Kene

SOUTH-EAST: Ovalhouse
Monday 04 July
With Sandra Townsend, Vinay Patel, Miran Hadzic, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Adam Brace

NORTH: Park Theatre
Wednesday 06 July
With Mahad Ali, Isley Lynn, Cheryl Walker, Stephen Jeffreys, Monsay Whitney

In advance of our London series we’re launching the COME TO WHERE I’M FROM app so you can listen to 100 short plays for free wherever you are!

Simulator Screen Shot 17 May 2016, 12.27.58

The app features audio recordings of COME TO WHERE I’M FROM plays read by the playwrights themselves. It’s available for free from the App Store – just search COME TO WHERE I’M FROM or click this link.

Search the map for plays by location or find your favourite playwright in the plays index. You’ll discover a huge range of playwrights from Olivier Award winners to first timers reading tales of their home towns stretching from Edinburgh to Ipswich to the Isle of Wight. A theatrical tapestry of the UK, woven by writers asking if home is really where the heart is.

Let us know what you make of the app by tweeting us using #CTWIF. Happy listening.

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM is supported by Garrick Charitable Trust and Royal Victoria Hall Foundation.

Playing For Britain

In 2014 we celebrated our 40th birthday and to mark the occasion we released a book packed full of images, insights and interesting articles. Over the coming months we’ll be sharing some of our favourite features from the book and what better way to kick us off, than with Matt Trueman on the history of new writing in British theatre.

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New writing is at the heart of British theatre. Every so called theatrical revolution this country has seen has centred on new plays, from the Angry Young Men in the 1950’s to the In-Yer-Face generation of the 1990’s. Back in 2009. when theatre critics were last trumpeting a golden age, it was motored by dazzling and ambitious new plays, including Jez Butterworth’s JERUSALEM and Lucy Prebble’s ENRON. Even 2014, a sudden flutter of springtime excitement was down to British playwrights firing on all cylinders: Simon Stephens with BIRDLAND, Mike Bartlett with KING CHARLES III, James Graham with PRIVACY.

As an art form, theatre is uniquely placed. It’s a communal art that exists — can only exist- in a public space and it’s an ephemeral art that can only exist in the present moment. Bearing all that in mind, it’s hardly surprising that,more so than visual art or film, theatre should set out to address the world that we all share, the here and now.

The stage is where we see the state of the nation – increasingly, even, the state of the world – reflected and retracted. Sometimes that means that classic plays, most notably Shakespeare’s, are used very deliberately to rub up against the moment in which they are staged. Mostly, though, it means a healthy culture of new plays that do exactly that- and it’s this that we term new writing.

The theatre critic Aleks Sierz has defined new writing [or ‘new writing proper’ as he sometimes calls it] as a genre in its own right. To qualify as new writing, a play must somehow address the present moment – even if only obliquely, perhaps through metaphor or analogy. Not all new plays do that: think of THE HISTORY BOYS or ONE MAN, TWO GUV’NORS, for example. But a great many do and, even if there’s a circularity at play in Sierz’s conviction that we can understand the present through new writing that seeks to understand the present, there is some truth in it.

Britain is unique in the import it bestows upon its playwrights. Think about the sorts of plays you see reviewed in the front end of newspapers, the news sections: big name actors in big name classics, yes, where casting can be a news story in its own right. but also big new plays with something newsworthy to say. Britain’s playwrights are allowed to be public intellectuals and political commentators.

That doesn’t happen so much in America, for all the strength of its playwriting culture. Musicals make the news pages there, other big Broadway shows too, but rarely new plays and almost never present-tense political work. The same goes for European countries, where directors rule the roost, smashing classic lays into contemporary sensibilities and resonance, not playwrights. Britain still places the playwright centre stage. Directors talk about- quote unouote— serving the text, usually through fidelity to it.

What’s more, British theatres insistence on novelty, be that in new writing or new work, is only increasing. The figures bear that out. In the 1980’s and 1990’s new work made up between 15 and 20 per cent of British theatre programming. In the last decade, that figure had swelled to 42 per cent. Nor was that work confined to small studio theatres in the same way. The majority took place in 200-seat plus venues.

By 2003, new writing in Britain was achieving an average of 63.6% at box office – up from 62% per cent only five years earlier or 57% in 1997. In the late eighties, new plays regularly played to half empty theatre and the Royal Court was responsible for about 10% of new writing across the entire country.

Today, the picture is vastly different, almost unrecognisable. Britain has built an established nationwide network for new writing. There are theatres dedicated entirely to new writing all over the country — the Traverse in Edinburgh, Live Theatre in Newcastle— and many more that ensure that it remains central to programming. London’s new writing scene, from the Royal Court to the Bush to Theatre503 with many in between, is thriving. And even organisations like Shakespeare’s Globe and the Royal Shakespeare Company have got new writing policies with a view to developing new work.

All of which is an ideal context tor Paines Plough – the national theatre of new writing, remember — to do what it’s done best for 40 years: develop and stage the best new plays across the nation.

Developing New Writing: The Assistant Director’s Perspective

The second in our newest series of blogs on creating new work comes from our Nadia Amico, our Trainee Director from Birkbeck’s MFA in Directing. She’s previously assisted our Associate Director, Stef, on WITH A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK and most recently has written and performed at Stratford East at the Empower House event.

It’s not very often you get asked by a director to do some research into Kendrick Lamar, and I knew at that moment that this was the kind of rehearsal room I was meant to be in.

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2 weeks out of a 3 day workshop and not only am I still reeling from some of the conversations but I certainly feel heavier with the knowledge and experience of being in a room with director Titus Halder and writer Nathan Bryon.

The topic was simple, yet incredibly raw, as George Perrin later reminded me, and raw it was – what it means to be black and, in a way, what it means to be white.

We spent a large amount of time being expertly navigated through a workshop by Titus, which ultimately encouraged us share an incredible amount of political, social and cultural material, breaking down personal barriers and crossing over racial thresholds. As the assistant director, a lot of what you’re told about the job involves listening and adhering to the room, but it was hard – not just coz I could talk the back legs off a donkey – but because I was frustrated and upset. How is it 2015 and the colour of someone’s skin, or the sexual orientation of a person is still being questioned, challenged and to some degree, oppressed?

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Kendrick’s album To Pimp A Butterfly crystalizes, in potentially the most eloquent and fundamental way, the issues facing black people in America today. You only have to mention Treyvon Martin and blurry images, recorded on handheld phones, shaking from left to right, distorting the forms of black boys and bullet holes, white cops and Taser guns, contradict the ironic point Lamar is trying to make – “we gon be alright”.

What really stood out for me was how inspired Nathan was by Titus’ handling of the workshop – Titus pushed Nathan to explore a more abstract way of writing. Letting his pen flow across the page rather then worry too much about characters and narration. “What really matters, man” I’m pretty sure is something I heard from most people throughout the workshop. After day one in fact, Nathan stayed behind, his brain close to exploding, and wrote something in response to the conversations and opinions formed in the room that day.

I was keen to come back into the room on Sunday to see what had changed or formed more vehemently in his mind. I wasn’t disappointed, as what Nathan at written encouraged further debates and conversation pertaining to everything we already had discussed and more. Class issues became a prominent talking point – and again, being a working class director, it was hard to not put my two cents in.

Within the first 20 minutes of the workshop, tears were shed and a comforting arm uniting a working class black woman and a middle class white man stretched out saying ‘it’s ok’. I was overwhelmed, happy, sad, excited and finally grateful. I got to witness something really special. Titus took me for a drink later and I said ‘all I want to do is extract the juice from everything’. I had said it in a jokey kind of way, but the workshop had left both a sweet and sour taste in my mouth. And I think that’s what theatre is all about. The good with the bad, the happy with the sad, but eventually really real situations and really real people.

– Nadia x

Developing New Writing: The Writer’s Perspective

Earlier this year, Nathan Bryon was selected to be our Big Room Fellowship playwright, and as part of the programme we are helping him to develop his playwriting skills. At the end of October we organised a development workshop with director Titas Halder, ably assisted by our Director Placement, Nadia, and four actors, to thrash out some ideas. Here’s a little insight from Nathan in to what happened…

Last week, was intense. Super, super, super, super intense… We had 3 days of rehearsal and development of my new play, and I had no idea what is or was going to be about. Then I set myself the mad challenge of writing a draft of my new play in 5 days… This is the blog that tells you how it went – it involved lots and lots and lots of COFFEE and expensive Eat sandwiches.

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(L-R: Nadia, Tanya, Nathan & Tunji)

I wrote a short play called ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST about the police brutality in America. I wrote it whilst in Spain watching the Walter Scott police shooting because I had major, major rage and the play was an immediate response to that. I knew for my new full-length play that I didn’t want it to be an extension to ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST because I felt, whilst it was short, the play was complete.

I met Rachel, the producer, a few days before the workshop like “Shit, I haven’t actually written anything proper to rehearse with the actors!”, just because I didn’t know exactly what I even wanted the story to be about. Rachel explained that it’s not about going into the rehearsal with a full piece, it’s about going in with provocations and bits of script to play with to inspire myself. This conversation was a massive relief so I went away and made like a 40 page pack for the day which the poor director, Titas, had to go through, hahaha. I had decided I wanted to discuss the black experience, black rage, police brutality, identity and a billion other things. It was full of short scenes, my wants for the pieces, the themes I wanted to explore, and a whole lot more.

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The Wall on Day 1

I had an amazing room of actors – Tunji Lucas, Llewella Gideon, Tanya Fear and Michael Hadley – who all came in on their weekends which I know is a long ting, hahah. They were so generous with their stories and thoughts, and I don’t think at any time I was not scribbling something down in my notebook. We would write things on a piece of paper – thoughts we had, sentences that we liked  – and stick them on them wall so we were literally surrounded by it all day.

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Titas in directing mode while Simone and Bhavini from Team PP watch on.

One of my favorite parts of the three days was us all watching Kendrick Lemar’s music video for ‘Alright‘, and just being mesmerised by how amazing it was. Nadia, the assistant director, printed me out a pack of research about Kendrick who is my favorite rapper right now, which I am slowly getting through.

We could have locked ourselves in that room for another 5 days, but thank god we didn’t because at the end of every day we all felt drained, mentally and physically.

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Tanya and Michael

Writing-wise, I sat down with Titas before we began the workshop and he really liked some of the poetry led pieces I had written in ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST. I have a poetry background as that was what I did before writing plays. He gave me debbi tucker green’s BORN BAD and RANDOM. I knew of debbi tucker green and loved her work but I had never read BORN BAD which blew my head off, just the anger in that play. I loved the non-naturalistic writing style which was something I had been learning loads about from my time in Barcelona.

The first day of the rehearsal I came in with some abstract scripts with no character names, scene headings, or locations and Titas directed the actors to perform this… For me it was a spark of magic – that night when the actors left, I stayed in the room for another 3 hours and just wrote, wrote, wrote. I came up with 4 more abstract scenes, so excited at the thought of hearing them read out loud in this new style the next day. I always used to think abstract theatre like that was totally wanky and would think ‘What’s wrong with being naturalistic?’. The answer is ‘nothing’, but I am so glad I now know I can try to do both.

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Covering the room over Days 2&3

The discussions got more intense as the workshop progressed and  after we shared some of the work with the Paines Plough team, the actors left on Monday. I was left in the room now covered in pieces of paper and I had to make sense of all the things we discussed figure out, with this new writing style, how on earth I was going to make a play this way which at first was very, very, very scary.

When I write, I try my best to make some element of the story relate to my life so that I can make it honest. I wanted to base this play around my family and my mixed raced background, which I hope I did hahaha.

For 5 days I wrote non-stop in that room, drinking copious amount of coffee playing Kendrick Lemar pacing around, eating expensive PRET sandwiches, sticking things up on the wall… it was fucking amazing. It was one of those moments were I felt like a proper, proper writer with writer problems, hahah. Everyday I would come home and just be a bit distant because my mind couldn’t switch off and I was just thinking about what I was going to write the next day.

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Sorting through and organising my favourite thoughts from the 3 days.

Everyday I would print off my progress (don’t worry it was recycled, I’m not about that wasteful life) and read it all out loud. The play was really taking shape and by Friday I had finished… god knows if it is total shit, I really hope not as I am definitely attached… To top it off, Hanna the producer brought me in a BOOM bowl of Mac and Cheese on the Friday which I was so happs about, as there are only so many sandwiches you can eat.

On the Friday at 5:30 I had finished the whole thing and I ran to the pub with the Paines Plough crew dem haha and had lots of pints which was wonderful. I felt like that week I had achieved something boom!

On the Saturday morning I woke up totally knackered, but also still feeling really affected by the subject matter, and on the Saturday evening I got rage that this white dude called his dog Django after the slave from the movie in a pub… After vexing and ranting for hours on twitter (tweets now deleted) I took a breath and
stepped away and watched RuPauls Drag Race. I think the subject matter really swallowed me up at one point which was fucking intense, but super interesting.

But yeah long story short, I finished the first draft, the play is called MIXED BRAIN: THE MIXTAPE and it is all abstract and that, I am super excited at the prospect of developing it. It’s a story about me and my brother and our different upbringings, what it means to be mixed raced, and an incident that split my family.

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Draft 1…

Now I need to get back to re-drafting something else as I said I would have it done tomorrow… I hope I didn’t just lie to the producer… first let me make another tea!

– Nathan