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The Theatre Committee of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain presented its annual awards for the encouragement of new writing at a lunch ceremony at the Royal Court Theatre Bar at the end of November.
Awards winners and nominators: Front row: Sayan Kent (writer), Janet Steel (Artistic Director, Kali Theatre), James Hadley (Relationship Officer, Arts Council England), Josie Rourke (Artistic Director, Donmar Warehouse), Stewart Permutt (writer) Back row: Anne Hogben (Deputy General Secretary, WGGB), David James (writer), Robin Soans (writer), Nick Quinn (agent, The Agency)The awards, the brainchild of the playwright Mark Ravenhill, were set up to give Guild members the opportunity publicly to thank those who had given them a particularly positive experience in new writing over the previous year. This also gives the committee and the Guild a welcome opportunity to celebrate, rather than focus solely on members’ problems.
The winners are:
James Hadley, nominated by David James
At a time when Arts Council England (ACE) is deeply challenged both by funding cuts and seemingly endless restructuring, and one hears a great deal of disquietude from so many ACE officers, James's energy, enthusiasm and commitment to his specialist field of musical theatre is huge. We have worked together for almost three years, and he has guided me through three successful Grants for Arts applications to support the BOOK Music & Lyrics (BML) musical theatre writing workshop programme I founded in 2010. He has answered endless questions, pointed out numerous places where points of argument on the applications could be strengthened, and always had time for another telephone conversation or meeting to discuss not only the applications but the BML programme as a whole and how it is strategically developing as an ongoing asset for musical theatre writers for the foreseeable future. He is a warm, friendly, and stable support for me. We meet regularly, and he has made the time to visit the workshop sessions. James had to take on a very responsible role as the major supporter of musical theatre at ACE in quite a condensed period of time. He also realises the complexity of the collaborative process of musical theatre and how far the British sector still has to go to achieve its full potential. More importantly, he is also aware of how much he himself still has to experience and learn to guide the sector forward most effectively.
The Guild has backed S4C’s refusal to scrap a repeat episode of soap opera Pobol y Cym following a complaint by the Welsh Government.
According to the BBC News Wales website, ministers complained after a character on the BBC-produced TV series said the Welsh government "doesn't have the backbone" to cull badgers.A planned cull in west Wales was cancelled in March when ministers decided to vaccinate badgers instead.
The Welsh government claims that S4C and BBC Wales, which makes the programme that has run for 38 years, have breached editorial guidelines and that the government has been denied a right of reply.
S4C, however, said the programme included a variety of viewpoints and repeated Wednesday's episode on Thursday as planned.
Guild General secretary Bernie Corbett congratulated S4C on 'standing up to the most bovine attempt at censorship in broadcasting history'.
One Guild member commented on Facebook: 'When soaps do try and be contemporary, and let their characters talk in a credible way about issues affecting their lives, they get this sort of [rubbish] from politicians. This objection is totally unreasonable – not a breach of guidelines – but it still causes trouble for the programme-makers and broadcasters.'
Liverpool event asks: How influential is the work of Charles Dickens on contemporary writers?
As we celebrate the bicentenary of his birth, a panel of leading established and emerging writers will discuss the relevance of Charles Dickens to their own work and why his work remains relevant to readers and writers.
The event, organised by the Guild, is chaired by the Reader Organisation’s Amanda Brown. Panellists include: screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell-Boyce; playwright David Edgar; screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes; film and radio scriptwriter Ayeesha Menon, and novelist and playwright Deborah Morgan.
7-9pm, 4 December
St George’s Hall, Small Concert Room, St George’s Place, Liverpool L1
Tickets: £10 (£5 concessions)
For more information and bookings visit the Eventbrite page
A report by Gail Renard, Chair of the Writers' Guild Television Committee
Following the success of the first World Conference of Screenwriters in Athens in 2009, the second convened in Barcelona on 9 and 10 November 2012. Writers from all over the world met to discuss how we could continue to create for a living.
Andrea Gibb, from the WGGB Film Committee, reported on the Written Into The Picture project. The brainchild of Guy Hibbert, it researched the visibility of writers at film festivals, for which you’d need a Hubble space telescope. Writers often aren’t given invitations to festivals where their films are being shown; nor are they asked to sit on panels or Q & A’s. At one event, Andrea told us, the writer took the coats. But these festivals are vital to our business and writers need to see and be seen.
Of the 271 film festivals approached to fill out the Written Into The Picture questionnaire, only 50 responded. The Writers Guild of America pressed the most influential of all, Sundance, who agreed that writers should be present and credited at their festival . And if the production company doesn’t invite the writer, Sundance will give them two tickets. Now we have to get other festivals to follow suit. As Andrea said, 'You shouldn’t of afraid of saying "I want to go". It’s your film!'
By Rupert Creed
The Writers Foundation (UK) is a new company and registered charity established by the Writers’ Guild. Its aims are to promote the craft of writing across all disciplines, to advance writer education & training, and to offer welfare support for the writing community.
The Writers Foundation (UK) has secured seed funding via donations from The Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC) and is now open to applications for events and programmes of work from Guild and non-Guild members alike.
The winners of the 2012 Writers’ Guild Awards were announced on Wednesday November 14 at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill. View the full shortlists
(Steven Moffat, winner of the Special Writers' Guild Award for Outstanding Writing - Photo by Simon Denton. A full set of photos from the Awards can be found on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thewritersguild)