First Dibs’ – a 14-week course for early-stage career LGBTQ+ playwrights/maker in Greater Manchester.

​A play-making school by LGBTQ+ artists, for LGBTQ+ artists.

First Dibs will be a safe environment for LGBTQ+ people to develop their talent, gain access to the industry and its networks, and is part of our commitment to improving opportunities for LGBTQ+ artists across the city-region.

First Dibs is a fourteen-week writing course delivered by playwright Chris Hoyle supported by a diverse range of celebrated LGBTQ+ Artists

The course includes:

  • Group study of approaches to play-making by established LGBTQ+ playwrights
  • Exploration of writers voice, structure, character and dialogue
  • Support developing plans for a new play
  • Support writing up to twenty minutes of a new play
  • Opportunities to share your writing with other industry professionals
  • Access to four workshops with celebrated LGBTQ+ play-makers from Dibby’s Pick and Mix strand
  • Access to see LGBTQ+ work (digital) and access to LGBTQ+ play-texts for study
  • 1 to 1 mentoring session with Dibby Theatre’s Producer

​The course will be delivered online with some in-person sessions held at Waterside Arts in Sale (dependent on Covid-19 restrictions).

​Course participants will receive a bursary of £1,000 and a package of access and travel costs.



  • ​First Dibs is for early-stage career LGBTQ+ writers who live in Greater Manchester.
  • You need to identify as LGBTQ+ to apply but your writing does not need to focus on your sexual/gender identity unless you want it to
  • You must be 18 or over, but there is no upper age limit.
  • You must have an interest in making theatre for performance and have an idea or story you would like to tell in a live performance.
  • You must have had no more than one professional credit as a playwright or play-maker of a full length production (over 50 minutes for a paying audience) – excluding fringe productions, self-produced work, micro-commissions and scratch performances.


​The course will take place in weekly sessions lasting three hours from 15 March to 2 July 2021 (with two holiday breaks mid-way through) – we will decide weekly date and time as a group with successful applicants.

​Sessions will be run online. If Covid-19 restrictions ease, we may run some in-person sessions at Waterside Arts in Sale, Greater Manchester.

​You will be expected to read, watch and study plays set by the course leader and also commit to doing writing exercises and developing your own play each week too.

​In total they expect course participants to commit about 8 hours of their time each week.


Mon 15 February 2021 – EOI closes 3pm

​Mon 22 February 2021 – shortlist announcement

​The shortlisted applicants will be asked to complete a longer application and submit a short extract of their work.

​There will be an online application group workshop ‘surgery’ to support Stage Two applicants with their submissions w/comm 22 February 2021.

​Sun 28 February 2021 – Stage Two applications close 5pm

​Successful applicants will be announced on or around Friday 5 March 2021.

​Stage Two applicants will be paid £50 to acknowledge the labour involved in completing the application.

Published on:
28 Jan 2021
Opportunity deadline:
15 Feb 2021


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