A celebration of risk, innovation and collaboration in British theatre
On the 4th of July 2014 the first In Battalions Festival will take place at Drama Centre London at Central Saint Martins. This one-day summer festival is a new opportunity for professional theatre-makers, academics, politicians, journalists and other culture professionals to share innovative ideas and practical models for maintaining a vital theatre ecology in the UK and will take place as part of The Year of Experimentation, a three day new writing festival taking place at Drama Centre London as the culmination of the first year of its new MA in Dramatic Writing.
The In Battalions report, published by playwright and Writers' Guild member Fin Kennedy and researcher Helen Campbell Pickford in 2013, received widespread coverage and formed a significant part of the recent debate about arts funding cuts, in particular around theatres' capacity to take risks on developing new plays and playwrights in an age of austerity.
The 2014 follow-up, the In Battalions Delphi study, brought together 36 innovative solutions to this problem, sourced from and voted on by theatre professionals. These proposals suggest new ways for theatres and theatre-makers to work with the Arts Council to protect creative risk-taking on new work.
Playwright Fin Kennedy said: "The original In Battalions study of 2013 found theatres across England cancelling shows and cutting back on creative Research and Development as a result of Government cuts to the Arts Council. The Delphi study was a solution-focused follow-up. Both studies have been widely circulated online, and carved out some valuable 'blue skies' space for our sector. But what's needed now is a physical space where culture professionals can come together to make real connections to take these ideas forward. The In Battalions Festival at Central Saint Martins is the third stage of the campaign, and attempts to do just that. I'd invite anyone who cares about the future of new British theatre to come along, meet inspiring speakers and share their ideas."
The In Battalions Festival is a chance to discuss some of the issues raised by the In Battalions reports, form consortia to take forward solutions, and suggest new ways in which the sector might work together better, fund itself more sustainably and articulate its case more effectively. The Festival will be made up of talks and provocations from invited speakers, studies of best practice within the theatre industry and other art forms, space to debate how best for the theatre industry to make its case in the run-up to next year's general election, as well social time for attendees to make connections with one another.
Full details and booking: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/in-battalions-festival-tickets-11868732699
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.