Heretic Productions have launched their new playwriting initiative Heretic Voices, and seek monologues from writers and writer-performers to be fully produced by professionals at the Arcola in January 2018. Plays will also be published in a collection.
Monologues can be of any genre and on any subject, and can feature more than one voice but must be performed by a single actor. Each piece must be between 15 – 45 minutes in length.
A shortlist of plays will be presented to the prestigious panel; Michael Billington, Lolita Chakrabarti, Monica Dolan and Mel Kenyon. The panel will then select the plays to be produced. Heretic Voices will assemble leading actors, directors, and creative teams to stage the chosen plays in early 2018. Writer-performers may perform their own work if selected, at the discretion of Heretic Voices.
What to submit/how to apply: Monologues must be in English and must not have been previously performed. To apply, send your monologue to firstname.lastname@example.org along with no more than 150 words about yourself. You can find the full guidelines here.
International Arts Studio are seeking a voluntary research associate to help in the cataloging of plays long forgotten, and tracing plays and writers, many whose work was refused under Lord Chamberlains licence.
In their words: “We are starting a multi-output initiative exploring plays refused a licence under the 1737 – 1968 Theatre’s Acts.
The role requires a number of tasks to be undertaken. The first task is to finish off cataloging all plays that have been traced, ones that have been definitively refused a licence. You will then be required to investigate the remaining correspondence boxes at the National Archives, spotting any discussions of plays being considered and refused, then following up on these leads.
The second task will be to trace plays and playwrights from 1945 – 1968 that were refused a licence. This will lead to the next phase which will be to meet up with a number of participants and conduct interviews about their experience of the Theatre’s Act. (This is a longer term project – outside the scope of the current work, although you will be welcome to get involved.)
There is no set number of working hours required, and no contractual obligations.
Our weekly Friday round-up of opportunities listed on the blog that haven’t yet reached their closing date (listed in order of closing date). Opportunities are grouped into four sections: 1) Pick of the Week & featured posts; 2) Opportunities with Deadlines; 3) Workshops and Events; 4) Ongoing opportunities (No deadline).
LPB is delighted to welcome our new Editor Jennifer Richards, who kicks things off with this summary of our panel at London Writers’ Week! Want to know our panellists top tips for making work in the digital age? Read on…
The chance to go along to LPB’s panel on ‘Making Your Own Work In The Digital Age’ was just one of many firsts for me that day. It was also my first time at London Writers’ Week, and I was there to write my first piece for LPB as Editor (hi there!). But, most importantly, it was the first time that the idea of mixing the digital world with theatre didn’t leave me feeling like a terrified playwright.
The panel was held at Bush Theatre, chaired by our own A.C. Smith, and comprised actor, writer, producer and deviser Erin Siobhan Hutching; director and playwright Lynette Linton; live artist, playwright and PhD Deborah Pearson; and writer, digital producer and project manager Sam Sedgman. (Click here read more about their backgrounds and accomplishments.)
Considering the discussion changed a tech cynic like myself into someone who was soon scribbling ideas about screens, projections and captions into my notebook on the train home, it feels only fair to share the tips our brilliant panel gave on bringing the digital world to playwriting.
It’s all about language
Telling a playwright how important dialogue is will probably give you a (well-deserved) eye-roll, but language takes on an even bigger role when bringing the digital world to your performance.
Sam explained how, “most plays present conversations, but we don’t spend most of our life communicating through speech. In this day and age, we mostly interact through Instant Message.”
Luckily, you don’t have to design a production heavy stage to show that people are chatting through text or email, instead you can signify a change in the way your characters are communicating just by a shift in language.
Lynette added, “language is such a big part of it: the language you use as a person, the language you use via message, and the language you use on a blog, [helps] to see how those personas are different.”
This means if you’re a playwright without the budget for big production (and that’s probably most of us), you can instead convey everything you need to with words – a tool playwrights are usually much more comfortable with!
And your audience are likely used to digital language so will easily pick up on these changes. As Deborah explained, using the internet is like “tapping into a side of a brain that speaks another language”, so take advantage of that when you write.
Use social media correctly
Even if your play is not about the digital world in the slightest, chances are you’ll still be using digital tools when it comes to promoting your work.
Erin pointed out the benefits of social media, explaining how it means “reaching audiences that may not usually come to the theatre.” But it’s not about just shouting into the void of Twitter and Facebook by doing the odd post from your feed, you should instead be engaging with the people your show is targeted towards.
For Erin’s show People of the Eye, a semi-autobiographic performance about growing up with a deaf sister, this involved reaching out to people with hearing impairments who the show was designed for, with its use of creative captioning.
“Don’t be scared to break out of your circle”
This quote came from Lynette, which summed up perfectly a common theme from the panel discussion.
The theatre was not originally created as a digital space, which can put off playwrights like myself from trying to blend media and bring in the more technical side of things. But as Lynette’s production #Hashtag Lightie was about a video going viral, she couldn’t shy away from the technical side of things. Since using screens wasn’t Lynette’s expert field, she called on friends who were film makers to help her out.
Deborah also pointed out that when it comes to innovating as theatremakers, we can’t ignore the role other media have to play. The use of digital aspects, such as a screen, projections or other visuals can mean it’s “basically like making a film and piece of theatre at the same time” – this should excite us rather than scare us!
Only use what’s essential
Though AV elements were important in a lot of our panellists’ work, Sam argued for simplicity: “You don’t want to spend your time learning to be a software planner, so if it’s not important, don’t waste your time.”
Production can be expensive and impractical, with Erin reminding us that “when you are working with a show with a lot of projection, the projector is like a third performer, but a super grumpy one you can’t rely on!”
This doesn’t mean you should be reluctant to use digital tools, but just make sure, as Lynette said, “it’s about what’s essential for the story.” She added, “if the production needs technology as that makes it the best production, then that will happen.”
So what does an expanding digital world mean for playwrights?
It’s clear to see that the digital age is widening the scope of possibilities of what it means to create a performance.
Deborah even suggested that “since the internet, what audiences want out of theatre is changing”, with people craving the more immersive experience that AV tools can provide.
Making your own work in the digital age isn’t about trying to make the biggest production but the best one. You could even have a play about the digital world that involves no digital elements at all; simply use shifts in the characters’ language. It’s about what works for your story.
As I’m sifting through my (dog-eared) notebook, it’s clear that the panel’s discussion has given me the confidence to become a much more creatively brave playwright willing to embrace, rather than fear, the possibilities that the digital world can offer theatre.
Want to learn more about our panellists or see their work in performance? Click this link to read their bios, or check out the links below to follow them on social media or catch their upcoming work!
The 2017 Alfred Fagon Award is open for submissions. The Award is open to any playwright of Caribbean or African descent, resident in the UK.
They are looking for plays to be an original new stage-play written in English. Plays must be full length and presented as double-spaced, single-sided, in Times New roman, font 12pt and be a minimum of 40 pages.
Television, radio plays and film scripts will not be considered.
The play does not need to have been produced. However, if it has, only plays produced since August 2016 will be considered.
Each submitted play must be accompanied by a CV, confirming the writer’s Caribbean and/or African heritage and residency in the UK along with a brief synopsis of the play. (CV must also include your email address and a contact telephone number). Each entrant can submit only one play. A play may also be nominated by a third party with the writer’s consent (e.g. via an agent). New as well as established writers are encouraged to enter.
The winner of the award will receive a cash prize of £6000.
How to apply: Two hard copies of your script should be sent to: Pauline Walker, The Alfred Fagon Award, c/o Talawa Theatre Company, 53-55 East Road, London, N1 6AH. An electronic copy of the play should also be sent by email to email@example.com.
Each week we look through our pile of writing opportunities to pick out one we think is particularly worth your time. It could be an innovative brief, great prize money, a high-profile company, or just plain fun.
Description:The Royal Court are seeking submissions of creative work in response to their short film Void, which can be found here. The film has been created by The Royal Court Young Agitators, (the young people involved in the Young Court programme), as their response to the plays Killology, Anatomy of a Suicide and Bodies.Together, they produced a film which they would like you to respond to. Your response is in the form of a submission through the art form of your choice; a short play, song, poetry, visual art. Anything!
What’s so great about it? This is a fantastic opportunity to start up a relationship with the prestigious Royal Court. You have the opportunity to stretch your creative muscles and respond to a film made by the young people currently working for the Royal Court.
You have full control over how you respond to the film, so whether you want to write a play or a song, the world is your oyster. If selected, your work will be commissioned by the Young Agitators to be put on for two nights on the 11 and 12 August 2017. To apply, simply watch the film, then create your response and send to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a short paragraph about yourself.
The Royal Court are seeking submissions of creative work in response to their short film Void. The film has been created by The Royal Court Young Agitators, (the young people involved in the Young Court programme), as their response to the plays Killology, Anatomy of a Suicide and Bodies.
In their words: “The plays spoke about human need, obligation to love, and filling voids in life, particularly with the wrong things, things that don’t fit.”
Together, they produced a film which they would like you to respond to. Your response is in the form of a submission through the art form of your choice; a short play, song, poetry, visual art. Anything!
Three artists will be commissioned by the Young Agitators to put their work on at The Royal Court post show on 11 and 12 August 2017.
What to submit/How to apply: The film you have to respond to can be found here. To submit, please send your response of a pitch, play, video or photograph with a short paragraph about you or your company to email@example.com.
CentrE17 are programming their upcoming summer season and are seeking submissions for three day – one week runs of shows.
They want to hear from theatre companies ASAP, who are interested in doing: 3 days – 1 week runs of productions in the venue this August. The productions need to be fully developed and ready to perform. They will consider a broad spectrum of genres and styles but are particularly interested to hear from children’s theatre companies (3+).
Please note: They are NOT able to offer guarantees, they can only work on the basis of a box office split deal. To be negotiated.
How to apply: Full information on how to apply can be found here.
Camden People’s Theatre return with their annual offering of seed commissions to artists from BAME backgrounds. The initiative aims to support the development of innovative new theatre projects from six different artists.
Three of these commissions will be offered for Autumn 2017 with successful candidates receiving £750, one week’s rehearsal space, and the opportunity to present a ‘scratch’ performance (up to 25 minutes long) as part of the artistic programme (25-26 November). These commissions are being offered specifically to artists from BAME backgrounds in recognition of the fact these artists are currently underrepresented in contemporary theatre. These seed commissions are generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
How to apply: Applications must be made through the Camden’s People theatre website here.