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A new script development project from the Writers' Guild, Central School of Speech & Drama and Leicester Square Theatre
The Guild is inviting emerging and established writers in the UK to take part in Playwrights’ Progress, an inspiring script development project, run in partnership with Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (RCSSD) and Leicester Square Theatre. The project (open to both Guild members and non-Guild members) will give eight writers the opportunity to develop their career paths. Four participants will be chosen to attend a three-day, intensive workshop to develop their scripts in progress. The best work from the workshops will be showcased by actors of the highest calibre, at Leicester Theatre to an audience of invited literary managers, directors and producers. Four other writers will be selected for the “potential” of their draft plays, which will be given a read-through by Central’s alumni, again in front of invited literary managers.
Funded by Arts Council England and the Writers’ Foundation (UK), this project has been set up by the Guild to promote writing through education and training. The scheme is open to all writers, at any stage of their careers, to enable them to work on their unperformed plays with professional actors, directors and dramaturges of the highest calibre.
To apply, candidates should:
- Submit one hard copy plus an electronic copy of a draft of an unpublished, unperformed dramatic piece. Initially this needs to be the first act only (drawn from a full-length script of maximum running time of 2 hours 30 minutes). The text should include a cast list, essential production notes plus a resume/ scenario of the whole piece. A shortlist of contenders will then be drawn up and these will be asked to submit their full scripts for the final selection.
- Submit a brief biography of your experience and career to date, which must include at least one production for public performance or equivalent publication.
- Include a letter of application, of no more than 500 words, setting out your reasons for wanting to develop this piece, its potential as a drama and your aspirations for it. Explain why this experience would be valuable in terms of your personal development as a writer. This letter should include all your contact details plus a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish your script to be returned.
The initial read-through workshops will take place in the week beginning 3 March, followed by the three-day workshops on 1-4 April at the Bloomsbury Studios in London. The public showcasing at Leicester Square Theatre will take place in the week beginning 4 May.
Owing to the considerable task of selection, it will not be possible to offer a critique or respond to those candidates who have not been selected. But if you have any questions or need more information, please contact Richard Pinner.
Playwright Nick Wood on the advice he gives to aspiring writers
Whenever there’s a Q and A at a writers’ group I'm talking to, the same questions come up. What’s your routine? Where do the ideas come from? How do I get my work noticed? You try to be realistic, but you remember that once it was you sitting down there, asking the same questions, so you try to be encouraging too. Recently a letter came into the Writers' Guild from a Candidate Member asking for advice on how the Guild might help them get their work noticed and it was my job to reply. Here is what I wrote – which is what I also say at writers' groups.
Dear Candidate Member,
There's no simple answer to your question, at least not the kind of simple answer I wish I could give you and that you would like to hear.
There's nothing I can do, and there's nothing the Guild can do, because that isn’t the Guild’s job, because that isn't how it works, because there aren't any shortcuts. But, there's plenty you can do.
However, it will take persistence and patience and a willingness to accept the knocks and the criticism that will come your way. Be prepared for the disappointment, but if you believe in your work get over it and don't give up.
7-9pm, Derby Theatre Studio, Saturday 23 Nov 2013
An evening of insight & discussion, for anyone interested in new writing or pursuing a career as a writer, with wine and refreshments.
Meet our three distinguished Midlands guests who have all, in their way, been strongly influenced by their background and formative experience.
Amanda Whittington - highly successful local playwright, describes how she has to empathise with her characters, however notorious or extraordinary they may be. Her play about Judy Garland opens at Nottingham Playhouse in the New Year.
David Belbin - novelist and creative writing lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, tells how he keeps in continual contact with his community, especially the youth culture he works closely with, for his highly acclaimed young adult fiction.
Naylah Ahmed - award winning playwright, TV dramatist, BBC Radio producer, poet & short story writer, will talk about how her particular cultural background and Birmingham roots have inspired her work.
This event is a joint promotion of The Writers’ Guild with Derby Theatre Arts. Tickets £9. Concessions £6. Box Office 01332 593939 or www.derbytheatre.co.uk
FREE to Writers' Guild Members. Ring box office on 01332 593939 to book and bring membership card to collect your ticket.
Sue McCormick tells the story behind her new play
The basic storyline for No Fat Juliets had its beginnings on an Arvon course at Lumb Bank over 10 years ago but was never realised as other projects kept me too busy to develop it. The commissions I’ve been lucky enough to get since then have been for plays with a specific historical setting so when I decided that it was time to write a contemporary play, I went back to the idea I had for No Fat Juliets - a madcap comedy set in a failing Lakeland hotel, with a love story, a ghost, original songs and a good-humoured sideswipe at the pressure on women to conform to a physical ideal. There are broken hearts, broken limbs, songs, storms and seductions before we are finally served the obligatory happy ending!
As an actor I created the role of Jan in Ladies Day and Ladies Down Under by Amanda Whittington and I wanted NFJ to have the same warm-hearted accessibility that audiences had loved in those plays, with something to think about overlaid with bags of fun and frolics! As always I wanted to write strong roles for women and for the first time, as the lead was drawn in many ways from personal experience, I decided to pitch the project as writer/actor and double my workload!
The Writers' Guild Awards will be presented in London on Wednesday 13 November 2013. The shortlists in 13 categories are published below.
TV Drama Series
Silk (Peter Moffat), The Village (Peter Moffat), Broadchurch (Chris Chibnall)
Holby City, Casualty, Waterloo Road, Coronation Street, EastEnders, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, Doctors
Getting On (Jo Brand, Vicki Pepperdine, Joanna Scanlan), Fresh Meat (Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain), Him and Her (Stefan Golaszewski)
TV Drama Short Form
The Girl (Gwyneth Hughes), Room at the Top (Amanda Coe), Murder : Joint Enterprise (Robert Jones)
The Dumping Ground - What Would Gus Want? (Elly Brewer), What’s the Big Idea - What is Art? (Alan Gilbey), The Dumping Ground - The Truth is Out There (Emma Reeves)
Tennyson and Edison (David Pownall), The Go-Between (adapted by Frances Byrnes from the novel by LP Hartley), Once Upon a Time There Was a Beatrix (Lavinia Murray)
Susan Calman is Convicted (Susan Calman), Fags, Mags & Bags (Sanjeev Kohli and Donald McLeary), Meet David Sedaris (David Sedaris)
The Universe versus Alex Woods (Gavin Extence), Big Brother (Lionel Shriver), The Card (Graham Rawle)
Tomb Raider (Rhianna Pratchett), Thomas Was Alone (Mike Bithell), Lego City Undercover (Graham Goring)
Sightseers (Alice Lowe, Steve Oram), Good Vibrations (Colin Carberry, Glen Patterson), Grabbers (Kevin Lehane), What Richard Did (Malcolm Campbell)
My Brother the Devil (Sally El Hosaini), Byzantium (Moira Buffini), Skyfall (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan)
Quietly (Owen McCafferty), Brilliant Adventures (Alistair MacDowall), The Thrill of Love (Amanda Whittington)
Theatre Play for Young People
Whole (Phillip Osment), I, Cinna (Tim Crouch), Mr Holgado (Christopher William Hill)