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.
This week’s pick: Theatr Clwyd Writer in Residence
Description: The Writer in Residence Programme at Theatr Clwyd offers selected playwrights a chance to be part of an artistic community as they develop new work. Writers are given a bursary to cover their travel, accommodation at Gladstone Library, use of their Writer’s Room and an option to get feedback on work.
What’s so great about it? This residency is entirely focused on process – meaning you have the ultimate freedom to explore your writing, without pressure of having to deliver a set task at the end. Each writer is attached to a production and is given the opportunity to watch rehearsals, and even to workshop some of their writing with the actors working there to hear their work in progress. The deadline to apply is 16 February, so don’t miss this chance to make new work in such a wonderful setup.
Write My Blurb is a new scratch night in the Canvas Cafe, just off Brick Lane.
They are looking for performances of 7-10mins in length that you want to put to a living, breathing audience and hear how they would summarise it. The audience will take on the role of BLURB writer after each performance and performers will get to pick their favourite description at the end of the night. Maybe you’ll get a unanimous response, maybe every person will have gone on a totally different mind adventure, maybe there will be one word, maybe there’ll be utter confusion.
This is a fun, experimental, interactive and playful way of sharing work that generates varied reflections, observations and theatre-y chatter. Kind of like a live game of Balderdash.
What you get: Unfortunately at the stage they are unable to offer payment, as there is no budget for the project. But in addition to hearing your piece performed, they try to offer a few hours free rehearsal space in the Canvas cafe Community Hub as a little token of thanks.
The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust’s Pitch Your Play scheme returns, inviting you to pitch a new play to a panel of industry professionals.
What you get: Three successful pitches will be given space, admin and marketing support for 4 weeks at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, working with the Masterclass team to produce your staged reading. In addition, each winning team will receive one weeks access to their West End stage in order to rehearse and stage your play. This will culminate in an exclusive opportunity to showcase your work in a West End venue to an audience of friends, family, colleagues and invited industry professionals.
Eligibility: Either a pre-existing team consisting of a writer, a producer and a director aged 17-30 or a passionate writer (also aged 17-30)with a finished play.
What to submit:
1. A short synopsis of the play
2. A hard copy of the first 30 pages*
3. A covering letter explaining:
• Why they should pick your play and why you want it staged
• What you hope this opportunity will offer you
• What your long term plans are for the play
• In an ideal world, where you see the play being produced
The script must be a new, unpublished piece of writing. Please ensure that all pages are numbered and have your name on them.
How to apply: They will only accept hard copies of your script, electronic copies will not be accepted. Scripts will not be returned unless they include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Please note if your application is longlisted they will then ask for a copy of the entire script.
You can submit your hard copies via post to Masterclass, Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street, London, SW1Y 4HT or drop them off at the Theatre Royal Haymarket Stage Door.
Bored of seeing the same heterosexual narrative on stage? Read our Editor Jennifer Richards’ Q&A with Full Disclosure Theatre to find out how they’re working to correct that…
As a LGBTQ+ theatre maker, getting to see queer characters on stage for the first time made my cry, as I finally saw someone like me reflected in the characters I watch. Yet it took till I turned 20 for me to experience that.
It’s vital that everybody gets their story told, and Full Disclosure Theatre are a company committed to telling these LGBTQ+ narratives that are so sorely missing.
I got the chance to catch up with their Artistic Directors, Chris Davis and Sam Luffman, to learn more about the company and their work.
Q & A with Full Disclosure Theatre
JR: Why did you decide to create Full Disclosure Theatre?
SL: There is strong LGBTQ+ work that is being staged and the platform for that is great, but there is a diverse community amongst that, that we feel lack representation on stage.
The stories about the queer experience that haven’t be told yet or we rarely see on stage, are the stories that we are most interested in. And with Full Disclosure Theatre we hope to give playwrights the platform to share them.
It is also rare to find New Writing Nights dedicated to plays with a LGBTQ+ focus, which is also partly how Full Disclosure Theatre came about.
JR: Why do you think it is so necessary to tell LGBTQ+ stories?
CD: LGBTQ+ people will always be a minority, so it’s important to maintain strong representation of our community by telling these kind of stories.
This can help inspire, educate and hopefully entertain audiences and also provide a platform for LGBTQ+ artists to collaborate and vocalise things that might otherwise remain unsaid.
Plus, our family and friends, who may not identify as queer, still want to understand us better and be part of our lives.
JR: You recently put on a scratch night of LGBTQ+ stories. What was the reaction to this night like?
SL: We were really pleased with audience reaction and the reviews. We felt people realised that there are so many types of LGBTQ+ stories still to be told, and enjoyed the mix of positive messages and the more humbling moments that highlighted ongoing concerns within the community.
Some feedback suggested that we could have been more diverse in terms of the ages represented on stage and variation of cultures. We hope to address the age representation more so in our next night, as well as a story that tackles the issue of class.
However ultimately, there is only so much you can do in one night of eight stories. Hopefully we can continue to find more diverse and untold stories as we continue into 2018.
JR: What advice would you give to LGBTQ+ playwrights who are struggling to get their stories on stage?
CD: Going to see lots of theatre and reading as many plays as you can is a great place to start. It’s important writers understand where they fit in within this mass mix of stories, and hopefully this will help them see what is unique and new about their story.
As a company, we want to stage stories that offer a new perspective or character or concern that isn’t being seen rather than a rehash of what has come before. The next step is to send to as many places as you can to get your work staged, in whatever capacity. There are a few opportunities for this, particularly in London with New Writing Nights.
Feedback is also really key, firstly from close confidantes whose opinions you respect and trust. But also from people who you don’t think are going to see things the same way as you. We believe the combination of the two really helps writers gain clarity and inspire new ideas.
JR: How can we make the theatre industry a more inclusive one?
SL: We feel there has been a real push for BAME and LGTBQ+ artists within the theatre industry in the last few years, which is fantastic and essential. But there isn’t always a direct correlation with the amount of opportunities given to individuals from lower income backgrounds.
This starts with education and nurturing young people in schools through theatre and the performing arts. Encouraging the next generation to share their stories and to be more involved is essential to a more inclusive industry of the future. Opportunities can be hard to find, but also the idea of making your own opportunities need to be encouraged more.
Full Disclosure’s next scratch night, XPOSED, is running at Southwark Playhouse on February 11. You can get tickets here.
Our Editor, Jennifer Richards, has taken up the challenge to write a play in a month as part of our #WrAP initiative. With Week Four done, the finish line’s almost in sight…
After struggling to write last week (which you can read about in my third #WrAP diary here), this week was about getting back on that (metaphorical) horse.
From the beginning of this writing process, I’ve known what I wanted to happen my script, and the information I needed to give the audience at certain points. What I was finding challenging was: how do I give it to them?
I definitely struggle with falling into the trap of just having a character say exactly what’s happening, even if it doesn’t seem natural or authentic in the script.
And I’ve always found that when I’m finding it difficult to convey the information I need to (e.g. something that happened to a character in the past, or how a character is feeling), it’s best for me to just write it almost in this Q&A style, and then go back and try improve it later.
And that’s what I choose to do this week. Kimberley’s video about dialogue needing to do something and have some sort of action involved in it inspired me to go back and tackle an old scene I wasn’t happy with.
So my focus this week became rewriting a scene that had originally just been a character pretty much talking to the audience about major plot developments I needed them to know. Kimberley reminded me I needed to show and not tell.
Where my protagonist had started to feel resentment for her best friend, instead of doing the very obvious by having her say how she was feeling and voicing this frustration, I switched this dialogue out for eye rolls and small petty actions, like not waiting for her friend when she was trailing behind.
I managed to convey exactly what I needed to without having to spell it out (the magic of subtext!) It’s made the whole script became a lot smoother, and the dialogue that’s there is necessary rather than just padding.
Now I’m going to be honest and say that going into these final few days of January, and of #WrAP, I’m probably not going to have a complete draft due to the setbacks I experienced last week.
But I’ll be finishing the month with a story that’s dear to me, and one I’ve always been afraid to write. And I also spent this week plotting out the final few scenes, so I should be able to hit next week running (or writing…)
I’d love to know how #WrAP’s been going for you, both the successes and the things you’ve been struggling with. Tweet us at @LDNPlaywrights using #WrAP2018 and let me know.
And if you haven’t signed up for #WrAP yet but would love to still take part and get going on your 2018 writing goals, you can find out more about how to become a member of LPB and join in with the initiativehere.
The Scenic Route are currently seeking tutors to lead masterclasses in either playwriting, composition, or devised theatre to join a pool of tutors for upcoming projects to be rolled out later in the year.
The Scenic Route develops projects to support a wide range of theatre makers in their work, one of which is our Creating Theatre Lab – an intensive workshop in cross-disciplinary collaborative theatre. (More details on the lab can be found here.) We are now looking to expand the reach of the labs and develop a version for secondary schools (15+) and community projects.
they are looking to build a pool of tutors who would be interested in delivering a half day masterclass within their discipline on a lab, on an ad hoc basis.
What they are looking for: The ideal tutor will have a professional track record as either a playwright, composer or theatre maker in a devising context, with experience of delivering workshops.