IdeasTap have launched a new creative brief with Ensemble UK. They are looking to work with up to three writers on a series of 20-minute plays supported by the crime prevention charity Only Connect.
The winners of this brief will get the opportunity to develop a play over a period of three months from June to August 2014 with actors from EnsembleUK and Only Connect. They will be mentored and supported throughout the process. The plays will then run at the Only Connect Theatre in King’s Cross.
Two runners-up will have the chance to have their scripts produced as radio plays, recorded in the Only Connect recording studios, and broadcast on their radio station.
The judges are looking for considered and original script ideas from writers that show promise of really benefitting from the workshop process and showcase opportunity.
About EnsembleUK and Only Connect: EnsembleUK is a theatre company dedicated to giving back, and Only Connect are a crime prevention charity who offer creative opportunities to young people at risk, prisoners and ex-offenders. Only Connect have previously worked with award-winning playwrights and you can see examples of past productions here: www.oclondon.org/archive.
How to apply: you’ll need to sign up to IdeasTap and then follow this brief, you’ll then be given the chance to upload your work.
Deadline: 20 June 2014 at 5pm
Source: IdeasTap Creative Briefs
This brief closes on Friday 20 June 2014 at 5pm and is open to IdeasTap members aged 16 and
Tired of rejection letters and fed up of waiting for someone else to produce her work, Kimberley Andrews decided to bite the bullet and bring her own writing to the stage. But where to start? In the first of an eight part series, she relates the trials and torments of self-producing, sharing her Dos and Don’ts for organising a show without losing your sanity.
Like most playwrights, I have spent many a long hour perfecting an unsolicited submission for a theatre. I’ve laboured over cover letters, cringed at my biography and grappled with a 200 word synopsis that stubbornly remains at 236 words even if I delete an essential part of the plot. I’ve then played the obligatory waiting game (obsessively checking my inbox at 4am in case the literary manager happens to be nocturnal) only to eventually receive a bog-standard ‘thanks but no thanks’ and the said script gets laid to rest in the cemetery that is ‘my documents’, never to see the light of day again.
This is not to say that I don’t keep submitting in the hope that one day a bidding war will take place between the Royal Court and the Bush over my latest play. However, in the meantime, I am left with the issue of how the hell am I going to get my work seen? Romantic as it might seem to needlessly print off a script and leave it to decay in the back of a drawer to be found after my death, that’s not why I write plays. I write plays for them to be performed. I need to see my work on stage every now and then to know that I’ve chosen the right career and that the perpetual financial insecurity is worth it. I need to see my mistakes in all their glory, cringe when dialogue is out-of-place and rejoice when an audience laughs at my jokes.
With this in mind, I decided to take the bull by the horns and start producing my own work. If Facebook was anything to go by, this would be fairly easy; I just needed a fancy promotional picture for my show and a commitment to bombarding my friends with invitations. How hard could it be…?
The first decision I had to make was, what, out of all the masterpieces decaying in the back of my metaphorical chest of drawers, should I produce? Should I go for that 3 hour epic with a cast of 82 Roman soldiers*, all requiring highly authentic costumes? Or what about a national tour of that first ever play, the one my Mum thought was ace?
(*Ok, you’ve got me, I haven’t really written an epic roman play with a cast of 82, which is lucky because don’t think my papier-mache skills would stretch to body armour).
After conducting some in-depth research (i.e. quizzing a few of my friends who were already producing work), I quickly concluded that if I wanted my first project to be a success, I would need to keep it manageable. This to someone with no experience, a pitiful budget and hardly any spare time meant keeping things small. (Oh, and producing work that someone other than your Mum thinks is half decent is a good move too, apparently).
At this point, I remembered that folder marked ‘sketches’ lurking on my desktop begging for liberation. Using sketches (or indeed short scenes if you’re not very funny), has some advantages for the novice producer. Firstly, the task of writing them, polishing them and making them bloody brilliant, is much smaller than doing the same with a full length play. Secondly, you’ll be asking much less of the actors and director, which is handy if you’re asking them to work for free, which I was. Thirdly, many venues offer one-off performance slots for sketches, reducing the financial risk. And finally, you can always ask other people to contribute material, which takes the pressure off and allows you to get to grips with learning about what it is that producers actually do.
Speaking of asking others to contribute, it is tempting to try to take on the whole project singlehandedly. I quite liked the idea of putting on a spectacular show all by myself and taking all the glory for it, who wouldn’t? However, I can’t stress how valuable it was to collaborate, delegate and basically beg for help from just about everyone I knew. Getting my mates to contribute sketches and handing my script over to a director really allowed me to sink my teeth in to the task of producing, which I soon discovered was a huge job in itself. Ultimately, this is how it works in real-life: when the winner of that bidding war finally gets their gleeful mitts on your script, you’ll be handing it over to directors, producers, casting directors and your main job will be to sit back, relax and feel smug.
Do’s and Dont’s
Do produce your best work. If you haven’t shown it to anyone, get some feedback (either by joining a writers group, doing a course or asking a brutally honest friend).
Don’t be overly ambitious with your project. Keeping it all manageable allows you to find your feet and make sure it’s good.
Do delegate and call in favours wherever possible, you’ll thank yourself later.
Don’t wing it. Have a plan from the very beginning. Treat yourself to some new highlighter pens and be organised.
In the next post, I’ll be looking at how to find the perfect venue and what to ask the theatre to ensure you’re getting a good deal.
Start polishing those scripts…BBC Writers’ Room will open their latest Script Room submission window on 23rd June 2014. This time they are looking for Children’s scripts (CBeebies & CBBC)
The Script Room is a place where you can send your script to be assessed by a team of experienced readers. All scripts are read as a calling card of a writers talent. This is not a free script-reading service, but a means by which the BBC seeks out the best new writing talent, offering writers without a track record, representation, or contacts the opportunity to have their work considered by the BBC. Shortlisted writers will go forward to access a range of development opportunities with BBC writersroom.
Submission details/ Brief:
CBeebies is looking for:
Original dramas with a particular focus on fantasy adventure rather than real life.
Strong female leads representing diverse Britain.
Original animation and comedy scripts
Writers to submit 15 min/ pages x2 episodes (Please submit both episodes as 1 PDF document on E-submission)
They are also looking for: original drama / comedy content for CBeebies Radio – for more information and to listen or download the podcast please visit the CBeebies Radio website. (writers to submit 10 min (up to 15 pages) scripts for radio slot).
The Audience: CBeebies is for both girls and boys aged 0-6 years. This is a diverse and complex audience; 2 & 3 year olds are very different to 5 & 6 year olds.
For more information on CBeebies please visit the Commissioning website:
CBBC is looking for:
CBBC is an exciting destination for imaginative and original ideas and have a completely open brief. They are looking for original drama, comedy and animation scripts.
Duration / length: 28 min (30 pages) for drama/ comedy scripts.
Animation lengths are 11 minutes or 22minutes – an 11 minute script would be approx 16 pages and a 22 minute script would be approx 30 pages.
Writers to either submit 1 x 22 min script (30 pages) Or 2 x 11 min scripts (15/16 pages each – please submit both episodes as 1 PDF document on E-submission)
How to submit: the BBC have strict rules on what to submit so please visit the Writers’ Room for full details and lots of tips.
Deadline: window opens on 23rd June 2014 and closes at midnight on 7th July 2014.
(Please note that there are two different dates posted on the Writers Room website for when the submission window opens, one says 23 June, the other 28 June. We will amend this post when we get confirmation of the correct date. In the meantime, we’ve been cautious and posted the earlier date!)
The Bush Theatre has now opened its’ summer submission window. They will be accepting full length plays until 1st September.
The Bush recommends that before you submit, you take a look at their current season, the archive and familiarise yourself with their work.
“We don’t just want to receive any play; we’re looking for those plays to produce at the Bush that fit our programming attitude of compelling stories with contemporary bite and from unique perspectives that will start a conversation with our audience. We want to discover plays which reflect the vibrancy of British culture now and engage with new ideas and stories.”
(Taken from the Bush Theatre website)
How to Submit: send scripts to firstname.lastname@example.org, attaching a cover sheet.
They are unable to receive or read unsolicited scripts that are:
• sent by post
• without a cover sheet
• not full-length plays (1 hour +)
• previously produced
• from writers from outside of the UK and Ireland
• sent outside the submissions windows
• that have been previously submitted
What happens next: they will read all eligible plays and will contact any writer who has submitted a play that they would like to continue to develop. This may involve starting a conversation with the playwright directly, building towards further development as appropriate.
They are unable to offer feedback on plays that they are not intending to develop towards production, although they will contact you to let you know when they have read your script and with an outcome of the reading process.
Sterts’ One-Act Play Competition is now in its third year. Based in Cornwall, this event is run to promote and encourage new play-writing talent and has proved to be very successful in producing an ever increasing high standard of writing.
An experienced panel of judges will choose the best three entries. The winner will receive their prize and have their play produced in Sterts Studio this December. There will also be cash prizes and staged readings for the runners-up.
The challenge is to produce a thirty-minute, one-act play for four characters. Entrants must be over eighteen years at 31st July 2014. Plays must be previously unproduced.
How to apply: plays must be typed on A4 paper and send by post with an entry form(entry forms available to download here.) to: Sterts Arts Centre, Upton Cross, Liskeard, Cornwall, PL14 5AZ.
On Thursday 31st July 2014 PILOT Nights will land in Birmingham, hosted by mac Birmingham and co-piloted by Jouvan Fucinni and Toyin Omari-Kinch. This is a chance for contemporary theatre makers to present up to 20 minutes of new, work-in-progress material, in front of a real live audience and industry peers.
Artists will receive a small fee, professional photo and video documentation of their work, and feedback from the audience. In the week leading up to the performance, mac Birmingham have offered free rehearsal/development space. It will also be a great opportunity to create links within the industry and meet future potential arts partners.
How to apply: for selection criteria and to make a submission go to www.pilotnights.co.uk/theatremakers
Deadline for submissions: Thursday 5th June 2014 at 5pm
One IdeasTap member will get the opportunity to attend COFILMIC’s Writing and Selling TV Comedy Course. A place on the course usually costs £395. The course is London based and starts on Saturday 12th July, running for six weeks.
Course details: this is an intensive and interactive programme where you will be expected to create and work on your ideas from week one and aim to complete a pilot piece by week six. The course culminates in a unique sitcom showcase event, where all writers have the opportunity to have their work acted out live in front of invited industry guests, friends and family. During this course you will have access to the course leader for one-to-one tuition throughout the course period, by e-mail and telephone.
The course will be delivered by award-winning writer David Isaac, whose classic sitcom, Lunch Monkeys ran for two series on BBC Three. David has written for many other shows including Not Going Out (BBC One) and his short film Going to Mecca was funded by BFI. He continues to write prolifically and has several scripts in development with major TV production companies and broadcasters.
Upon completion of the course, COFILMIC will organise a showcase event in London where local actors will perform extracts from all scripts live. Industry professionals, including, production companies broadcasters and casting directors will be invited to attend as well as friends, family and the general public.
Following that, there will be an opportunity for those with the strongest scripts, to have a practice pitch session with a TV development producer. This won’t be a chance to pitch your work, but it will give you an idea of how this process works – as well as a chance to make valuable industry contacts.
Terms and conditions/ how to apply:
One application per person.
Please submit a 100 word (max) pitch of your sitcom idea.
The winner of this brief will be announced on 25 June 2014.
If you have already registered and paid to attend the course, but then you win this brief, your application fee will be refunded.
To apply – you must be an IdeasTap member and aged 16 or over. Click here to sign up and apply through the website.
As part of the BBC Performing Arts Fellowship, Pentabus are looking for a theatre maker (director, writer, producer etc) who has shown dedication and passion towards a career in theatre and who demonstrates potential but needs guidance in taking the next steps.
Pentabus will be offering the chosen person a tailor-made opportunity. The Fellow will be awarded up to £10,000 as well as support, guidance and mentoring from Pentabus Theatre Company. It is expected that the fellowship will take place between January and December 2015 through an agreed flexible programme.
Please note that the fellowship is subject to funding and that it is a competitive nationwide field. As part of the fellowship application at least three potential Fellows must be interviewed and one will be put forward as part of their funding application. The fellowship is not a salary but provides funding to cover time and resources needed to develop a talented individual.
How to apply: please contact Crayg Ward at email@example.com with a short covering letter detailing why the opportunity appeals and how you imagine that you might benefit from it (2 sides of A4 Maximum) plus your CV. All applicants are also asked to complete the equal opportunities which can be downloaded here. If you have any queries please contact us on 01584 856564
Deadline for applications: 5pm Friday 11th July 2014.
If selected, you must be available for a meeting on Mon 28thJuly 2014.
Please note that, as laid out in the BBC’s guidelines, if you have previously worked for Pentabus Theatre Company in any paid capacity, you are not eligible to apply.