After lengthy negotiations the Guild has reached agreement with UK Theatre and negotiated a 6% increase on minimum fees.
This is a significant increase and is effective from 1 May 2014.
Guild Theatre Committee Chair, Nick Wood said, “We welcome the agreement we've reached with UK Theatre and see it as a step in the right direction for UK playwrights at a time when the arts are under pressure from all sides.”
The negotiating team, which also includes representatives from the agents organisation PMA and Society of Scottish Playwrights, has been working to improve and update the 1993 TMA/WGGB/SSP agreement on subsidised theatre, we have made significant headway on this but there are still some areas where we have not reached agreement so further meetings will be held with UK Theatre.
We are currently updating the guidelines for writers working in animation (including puppetry). The guidelines are a useful resource for writers and we are working to ensure that the guidance we provide is accurate and up to date.
To ensure that we are publishing accurate pay ranges we need your help, we have constructed a small survey to establish what rates are being paid nationally and internationally for writing animation, for example, a bible, 5 min script etc.
If you are a professional writer who writes animation, please spare us 5 minutes of your time and complete the Animation Survey
Former Guild President David Edgar has received an Otto Award for political theatre in New York. Named after a Guatemalan poet and revolutionary executed by the authorities in 1968, the Otto Rene Castillo Theatre has been making political theatre for 30 years, alongside educational and performance work for deprived young people.
The theatre’s annual awards have been going since 1998, and past recipients include playwrights Ed Bullins and Ntozake Shange, as well as noted American companies like the Living Theatre, the San Francisco Mime Troupe and Steppenwolf. In addition to David Edgar, this year’s award recipients included playwright Katori Hall, whose The Mountaintop won the 2009 Olivier best play award.
David’s award was presented by Oscar Eustis, artistic director of New York’s Public Theatre, who commissioned and directed the first production of Tony Kushner’s groundbreaking Angels in America.
The latest Writers' Guild Off the Shelf at Black's event
11am-3pm, 2 June Blacks Club, 67 Dean Street, Soho, London
Cost: £30 (payable to Blacks as an after-lunch bill)
Join Julia Lee Dean and Antony Owen to discuss writing war. The day starts at 11am with coffee or tea. After the reading and Q&A, Blacks hosts a two-course lunch with wine. Up to three audience writers are invited to read 10 minutes each of their own work afterwards.
Julia Lee Dean is a novelist, playwright and tutor, and was a member of the Young Writers’ Programme at the Royal Court Theatre in 2003. She has performed as a stand-up comic in London & Edinburgh and has produced three of her own plays for the Camden and Belfast Fringe festivals. Her new novel And I Shall be Healed looks at the emotional and psychological damage of the First World War. Dean is now working on her second novel, The Lost Son of Ambrose Garfield.
Award-winning poet Antony Owen’s first collection of poetry My Father’s Eyes Were Blue was published by The Heaventree Press in 2009. His work often explores the emotional effects of conflict and this was reflected in his second collection The Dreaded Boy (Pighog 2011). His latest work, The year I loved England (Pighog), is a collaboration with Irish poet Joseph Horgan and will be published in July. He was invited to meet Irish President Michael D Higgins in Coventry on his first state visit to England in April in recognition of this Coventy/Cork collaboration. In 2013, Owen had an exhibition of poetry and photography accepted by the curator of the Hiroshima Peace Museum.
To celebrate the life of for Writers' Guild President, Bill Ash, who died last month, we reprint a version of an article he wrote in 1999.
What enables writers in Britain to face the future in a changing world with some confidence? The answer is the continued existence of their own trade union of professional writers which is affiliated to the Trade Union Congress and which enjoys a relationship with writers’ unions in the United States and across the world – the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.
The Writers’ Guild is not simply a voluntary association of writers in some particular field offering its members advice and encouragement for a nominal subscription fee. It is instead a group of highly committed professional writers of books, plays, film scripts, radio and television programmes willing to work for each others’ good in a closely ordered democratic framework complying with TUC rules, with earnings-related subscriptions, agreed mandates and disciplinary procedures and a regularly elected executive council.
It is the trade union character of the Guild which has empowered it, on behalf of writers of books, stage plays, film scripts, creative radio and television programmes, to negotiate officially with appropriate authorities in establishing minimum terms and acceptable conditions for the sale of all written works. It has also established for the benefit of writers such institutions as Public Lending Right which compensates authors for the loan of their books from public libraries and the Authors’ Licencing and Collecting Society which collects for authors copyright payments for the foreign use of their works.
By Nick Yapp
Bill Ash was a man of great charm and humour, soft-voiced and modest, and rock solid in his integrity. His political beliefs shone through all his extraordinary wartime adventures and through all that he did for the Guild, as a member of the Executive Committee for many years and as joint-chair from 1982 to 1983 and from 1995-1996. All his life, he battled for the causes he so passionately believed in, whether he was fighting against fascism in the 1940s, or against the chairman and governors of the City of Westminster College in the mid-1990s – the latter being responsible the shameful closing of the Soho Theatre after a prolonged and bitter struggle.
Bill was an outstanding champion of the Guild, the trade union that he loved and valued so highly. He was also an inspiring advocate of the causes for which the Guild fought. On the eve of the 2000 Millennium, he described the Writers’ Guild as a 'group of highly committed writers of books, plays, film scripts, radio and television programmes willing to work together for each other’s good'.
Perhaps, at this sad time for all those who worked with Bill, and in this revolutionary time for all writers, it would be appropriate to recall other words that he wrote for the Guild magazine, the Writers’ News, some 20 years ago: 'What enables writers in Britain to face the future in a changing world with some confidence? The continued existence of their own trade union of professional writers.' The message is timeless; the writer was unique.
On a personal note, Bill’s book How to Write Radio Drama is the best book about the craft of writing that I have ever read. It ought to be compulsory reading for every producer and commissioning editor, but I bet it isn’t.
Bill Ash's funeral will take place on Friday 9 May at 11.15am at West London Crematorium, Kensal Rise, London W10 5JS. A commemorative event will be held on Friday 16 May from 5.30pm to 9pm in central London. Further details will be announced later.
Read the Guardian obituary by Guild member Brendan Foley.