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Cheryl Taylor, Controller of CBBC, in conversation with award-winning children’s TV writers Debbie Moon, Jonathan Wolfman and Emma Reeves.
A Writers' Guild event, Friday, 14 June, 2013 from 7:30pm, Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham
Our panel will discuss the state of the children’s TV industry, and explore opportunities for children’s writers within the BBC and beyond.
Tickets are free to Writers' Guild members and £5 for non-members. To reserve your place visit the event booking page.
Cheryl Taylor (pictured, above), Controller of CBBC Channel, worked her way to a Commissioner’s role at Channel Four via stints in Comic Relief and BBC Entertainment. At Channel Four she commissioned Spaced and Black Books as well as the first Derren Brown extravaganza in 2000. After a spell as Head of Comedy at Hat Trick Productions she returned to the BBC Comedy Department overseeing award-winning shows such as Gavin and Stacey, The Royle Family and A Matter Of Loaf And Death. Cheryl became BBC Comedy Controller in 2009 and commissioned shows including Citizen Khan, Mrs Brown, Twenty Twelve, Cuckoo, Watson and Oliver, Hebburn and Bad Education. She was appointed Controller CBBC Channel in 2012.
Debbie Moon is a film and television writer living in mid-Wales. She has had over fifty short stories published, and her novel, Falling (Honno Press) was shortlisted for Welsh Book Of The Year. She has written for CBBC's The Sparticle Mystery, and is the creator and lead writer of the RTS-award-winning CBBC fantasy drama series Wolfblood. She also has a couple of feature scripts, and a supernatural drama series, in development.
Jonathan Wolfman came to CBBC from the independent sector to script edit series one of Tracy Beaker Returns and stayed with CBBC in-house drama to script edit the next two series, as well as The Dumping Ground series one, Wolfblood series one and two. He has also overseen scripts for the animation series Pet Squad.
Emma Reeves is a versatile writer working in adult drama, children's drama, radio and the stage. In 2011 Emma was nominated by the Writers' Guild for Best Children's Television Script for Tracy Beaker Returns: What You Don’t Know. In 2012 Tracy Beaker Returns won the Royal Television Society award for Best Children's Drama with Emma’ nominated script Money.
To reserve your place visit the event booking page.
Theatre Centre invites applications to its two key prizes, the Brian Way Award for Best New Play and the Adrienne Benham Award.
Brian Way Award 2013
Deadline: 31 May 2013 at 12 noon
To promote and celebrate the achievements of playwrights who write for young audiences, Theatre Centre runs the Brian Way Award for the best new play for children and young people.
The prize money is intended to give the winner the time and space to develop a new play without the pressure of deadlines or a commissioning brief.
This year’s award is for a new play which was professionally produced between 1 October 2011 and 31 January 2013. The winner of the award will be expected to undertake an ambassadorial role for Theatre Centre.
Applications may come from the writer, the writer’s representative or the producing company.
Adrienne Benham Award 2013
Prize: £2,000 seed commission and attachment
Deadline: 7 June 2013 at 12 noon
Theatre Centre offers the Adrienne Benham Award, a £2,000 seed commission, to support the work of a promising playwright interested in exploring the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) sector to develop brilliant new plays for young people, but who has little experience in this field.
This award is intended to steer gifted writers towards young audiences by giving them a seed commission and attachment to Theatre Centre to develop an original idea for young audiences.
Applications may come from the writer or the writer’s representative. <>pFull details on both awards: http://www.theatre-centre.co.uk/events/awards/
The latest literary event from the Writers' Guild - 20 MayJoin literary polymath Stella Duffy for a morning of readings and discussion followed by a delicious two-course meal in Black's private members club.
Leading writers back campaign against theatre funding cuts
Over 60 of the UK's best-known writers and other theatrical professionals – including Sir Tom Stoppard, Michael Frayn, Caryl Churchill, Mike Leigh, Sir Richard Eyre and Vicky Featherstone – have signed an open letter to Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, urging him to take seriously a recent report into the threat to new British playwriting posed by the Government's latest round of spending cuts.
The independent report, In Battalions, researched and written by playwright and Writers' Guild member Fin Kennedy, with support from Oxford University's Helen Campbell Pickford, drew on data from surveys sent to theatres across the country. The results showed venues having to cancel productions, produce fewer new plays, commission fewer writers, and cancel a whole host of creative research and development – from attachment programmes, to open access workshops, to new writer development schemes, to unsolicited script reading.
As well as cuts closing down entry points to the profession, the report also identified a creeping culture of risk-aversion around new work, as financial instability takes hold.
Theatre professionals contributing to the report voiced serious concerns about the diminishing opportunities for today's young playwrights to develop their talents and stressed the importance of theatre as the training ground for the TV, radio and film industries. All stand to lose a generation of talent, with writers from less privileged backgrounds particularly badly hit.
The report was sent to Ed Vaizey's office on 12 February 2013 but its authors have yet to receive a response.
The open letter to Mr Vaizey expresses disappointment with the Minister's public remarks, in particular a recent speech in which he said that to suggest there is any sort of crisis in the arts is 'rubbish' and 'scaremongering'.
The letter reads: 'We believe the findings of In Battalions are to be taken seriously. They are representative of a wider trend within our industry. If the next generation of playwrights are not properly supported, this could seriously affect output in a few years’ time, and new plays are vital to the future health of British theatre – not to mention a driver of growth in the economy.'
Fin Kennedy, the report's author said: 'Ed Vaizey and the DCMS have had my report now for two months. That's as long as my researcher and I took to research and write it. We took the project on in our own time in good faith, and in response to comments made to me by Mr Vaizey himself, that Arts Council cuts were having "no effect". He offered to look over any evidence to the contrary, and even to raise it with the Arts Council if I could show there was a problem. I believe we have showed there's a problem, but Mr Vaizey seems unwilling to accept the evidence we have sent him. In an email to one concerned young writer he said: "There is no evidence of any impact on new writing." Anyone who's read my report will see that that's demonstrably untrue. We're still really keen to engage with Mr Vaizey about our ideas for how to fix this problem - he's our Culture Minister after all - but we really do need him to take this issue seriously and to engage with us, as he promised he would.'
The open letter calls on Mr Vaizey to undertake his own research, ending: 'If [your] response is still that there is "no evidence” then we would ask that you provide evidence of your own, which backs up your position as thoroughly as the In Battalions authors have backed up theirs.'
Review of Public Lending Right Scheme results in few changes
After two years of dithering and a desultory consultation process, the Government has finally decided the fate of the Public Lending Right scheme – it will cease to be an independent agency and come under the wing of the British Library, but the office and staff in Stockton-on-Tees will carry on as before.
PLR – which pays authors 6p each time one of their books is borrowed from a public library – was an unfortunate victim of the incoming coalition government’s 'bonfire of the quangos' (which also cooked the goose of the UK Film Council, only to transfer most of its functions to the British Film Institute).
PLR Registrar Jim Parker welcomed the announcement: 'The Government realises staff here do a great job and we have had tremendous support from authors from all over the UK.' In fact the overwhelming outcome of the consultation was opposition to any change at all.
According to Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, authors should notice no change to PLR. He claimed that transferring management to the British Library will save £750,000 over 10 years.
Writers’ Guild general secretary Bernie Corbett commented: 'This whole affair has been an unnecessary charade, wasting the time and resources of authors’ organisations and the government to achieve a purely cosmetic change and a saving too small to be measurable – all for the sake of one headline over two years ago.
'In the meantime the government has done precisely nothing to extend the PLR scheme to ebooks and audiobooks, as legislated by the previous government just before the 2010 general election.'
Writers' Guild AGM will be on Friday 14 June
This is the time of year for Writers’ Guild members to think about motions to change the policies or rules of the union, or to put themselves forward as officers or members of the Executive Council.
There is a record number of EC vacancies to be filled this summer, both for national/regional seats and craft sector representatives, so we are hoping to see plenty of new blood coming forward. Please consider seriously whether you could contribute to the Guild in this way.
Details of the vacancies, application forms and instructions for proposing motions can be downloaded below. If you would prefer to have paper copies please contact the Guild office.
The closing date for the receipt of Officer and EC nominations is Thursday 9 May 2013 and the closing date for the receipt of AGM motions is Tuesday 14 May 2013.
The Annual General Meeting of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain will take place in London on Friday 14 June 2013. The full details are in the Notice of Meeting and Preliminary Agenda, which can also be downloaded from our website. The Final Agenda, Annual Report and Accounts will be made available shortly before the AGM, in accordance with the rules of the Guild.