Guest writing for Ardent Theatre Company

Happy New (Creative) Year to you all!

I was delighted to be asked to write the first blog post of the New Year for Ardent Theatre company by their Creative Director, Mark Sands.

Ardent have recently achieved a significant milestone in their evolution as a company, by securing a three-year Paul Hamlyn Foundation grant to support the running of the company. This couldn’t have come at a better time, as the company’s next major production, of Tracy Ryan’s STRIKE! opens in April at Southwark Playhouse in London, and is the first production to have signed up to be guided by Equity’s Green Book, outlining how to create and run sustainable theatre productions.

For the blog entry, I thought it would be good to address the country’s productivity gap, explain what has contributed to it and suggest genuine solutions. I think you’ll find it an interesting read.

You can find a link to Ardent’s always-interesting blog here

Writers! – the ETPEP Award is now open!

The ETPEP Award 2022 is open!

What the heck is ETPEP you may rightly ask. Well, it stands for The Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Award.

It is run by the Finborough Theatre in association with the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust (ETPEP).

If you have worked in theatre for 2+ years, live in the UK & have never had a play you’ve written professionally produced, you could win £8,000 & a developed reading of your play at the Finborough Theatre.

The ETPEP Award’s purpose is to find and nurture a playwright who has worked in theatre for two years or more (but not in a literary department setting or as a paid script reader), who is looking to further their ambitions and skill in the art and craft of playwriting.

The ETPEP Award 2022 is open to UK residents of any age who have not had a play professionally produced, and who have worked front of house, in administrative roles, on stage, backstage, lighting, design etc. or in a creative capacity in theatre for at least two years, either now or in the past.

The award is intended to target and encourage those who are currently working or have worked in theatre but who are new to playwriting, and therefore, the Award is not open to those who have worked in any capacity in a literary department, a literary agency, theatre critics, or those who ever have undertaken paid script reading work.

There will be ten runner-up prizes of £400 each.

The judges for the 2022 Award will include Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre and playwright Neil McPherson; Literary Manager of the Finborough Theatre and playwright Sue Healy; producer Ameena Hamid; actor, playwright and activist Athena Stevens; and Clive Webster of the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust, which founded the award.

Before entering you should study the full submission guidelines, which can be seen via the link below. Closing date for applications is Saturday 30th April 2022.

Find out full information and application details here

Beyond The Canon’s second season of podcasts continues…

Created by Simeilia Hodge-Dallway and run by her together with Sarudzayi Marufu., Beyond The Canon seeks to highlight, promote and champion hidden plays by Black, Asian, LatinX and Middle Eastern Playwrights.

Supported by the Arts Council of Great Britain, Beyond The Canon contributes to the ongoing conversation within the Black Lives Matter movement by reinforcing the importance of Black, Asian and POC voices at a time of both decolonization and reimagining the future of theatre, arts and culture. Season 2 guests include an illustrious assemblage of the UK’s most prolific, exciting and influential figures across the arts and culture industry.

Beyond The Canon’s podcast is for writers, People of Colour, and everyone interested in the future of theatre.

You can catch the podcast live every Wednesday at 6pm BST (UK), also 2pm EDT and 1pm EST, live on the BTC Instagram feed which you can find here.

Find previous podcasts in the series here

Alfred Fagon Award 2020 shortlist revealed

The Alfred Fagon Award panel has announced the shortlist for the 2020 Award which will be announced later this month.

The Award, first presented in 1996, recognises Black British playwrights of Caribbean or African heritage who are resident in the UK. The Award was created to celebrate the life and work of Alfred Fagon, a playwright and poet who lived in Jamaica and the UK, who died in 1986.

The shortlistees are:

babirye bukilwa …blackbird hour
Clint Dyer & Roy Williams – Death of England: Delroy
Daniel Ward – The Canary & The Crow
Emma Dennis-Edwards – BRICKS
JC Niala – Unsettled
Juliet Gilkes Romero – The Whip

The longlist from which these finalists were selected was as follows:

babirye bukilwa …blackbird hour
Chantelle Dusette EV(E)OLUTION
Clint Dyer & Roy Williams Death of England: Delroy
Daniel Ward The Canary & The Crow
Emma Dennis-Edwards BRICKS
Esohe Uwadiae She Is A Place Called Home
Inua Ellams Three Sisters
JC Niala Unsettled
Juliet Gilkes Romero The Whip
Lewis Charlesworth Token
Nicole Latchana The Process
Phoebe McIntosh The Soon Life
Ronke Adékoluẹjo Teleportation
Wela Mbusi A Far Cry From Home

Last year’s winner was Jasmine Lee-Jones, for her play seven methods of killing kylie jenner.

The Alfred Fagon Award is supported by The Peggy Ramsay Foundation.

Good luck to all the listees – and the eventual winner!

Billington’s Bounty

You may be inclined to catch up on your theatre reading (and writing) during the UK’s current enforced hiatus, and to help you the Guardian has very helpfully posted on its website a selection of Michael Billington’s writings across the five decades of his tenure at the Guardian. Well worth a read! And of course The Guardian does not have a paywall. Something to be grateful for! But do please consider supporting the free press by subscribing (it’s very inexpensive to do so), and if not (or as well) please consider making a donation to a theatrical charity at this very difficult time for freelance theatre creatives. Thank You!

You can find the Guardian’s Billington Archive here