Sheffield Theatres are a partner venue participating in NATIONWIDE VOICES, a new initiative led by English Touring Theatre. 2020 is the inaugural year of NATIONWIDE VOICES. English Touring Theatre are partnering with venues and companies across the UK to identify, grow and platform playwrights from all across the nation in an effort to bring their work onto mid-scale stages. This project is made possible thanks to funding from the John Ellerman Foundation.
Sheffield Theatres are looking for a South Yorkshire writer to participate in the programme.
Writers will ideally have had work previously produced in studio or fringe-scale venues (they will explain more precisely what we mean by this below), with the programme offering opportunities and support to write for larger, mid-scale spaces.
The ambition is to:
- See emerging writers through the crucial ‘cliff-edge’ experience of career transition.
- Help theatres nationwide to platform fresh and imaginative voices from their local area who are making engaging work for national audiences.
- You must be based in or from South Yorkshire
- You ideally will have had a minimum of two full-length runs or tours of your shows produced in studio- or fringe-sized theatres (50 – 289 seats, with a full-length run or tour being considered 2 weeks or longer). *
- You will have had no more than one full-length run of your show produced in a mid-scale theatre or larger (290+).
- Nationwide Voices is for writers of all backgrounds. They want to encourage writers who are ethnically diverse, d/Deaf or disabled, LGBTQA+, working class, or for any other reason are underrepresented in our industry to apply. Theatre-makers who write as part of a wider practice are welcome. Theatre-makers whose practice is rooted in community engagement are welcome.**
*They recognise that there are still barriers to entering the industry which might mean there are voices who are not often heard or who haven’t had the opportunity to get their work presented in this way. If this is the case they would encourage you to apply.
**They recognise that applicants may be at an early stage in their writing, but have extensive adjacent professional experience that is not reflected in the criteria above (i.e. may be highly experienced actors, directors, community theatre makers, and so on). This industry boasts a diversity of skill, and the criteria above are not exhaustive. If you feel you are ready to make work for the mid-scale and can make a difference through your involvement in Nationwide Voices, they want to hear from you.
To kick off the programme, there will be four months of fortnightly workshops and teaching sessions. These nine sessions are organised and hosted by ETT. The sessions are led by playwright Chris Bush (Sheffield Theatres, National Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Theatr Clwyd, Manchester Royal Exchange, York Theatre Royal, and many others), and feature a series of guest speakers as well. The aim is to broaden the horizons and hone the craft of all participants in preparation for creating work for mid-scale stages. Due to COVID-19, these sessions will initially take place via Zoom, until it is again deemed fully safe to travel on public transport and meet indoors. Participants will receive a £70 attendance fee for each session, each lasting 3 ½ hours (including breaks). As and when there are in-person meetings, travel costs will be covered.
Each writer participating in NATIONWIDE VOICES receives a seed commission fee of £1000 for the programme (this is separate from the attendance fees).
After the first four months of teaching, the focus of the latter six months of the programme will be on writing a draft of a full-length play of substantial ambition and scale. These pieces will be supported – both by ETT, Chris Bush, and by partner venues – all the way through development, and shared at the end of the process in a festival of rehearsed readings.
Throughout the year, each writer will be connected with a strong network of venues, artists, and audiences, enabling creative exchange and reinforcing the ambition to tell stories of national reach and relevance.
Ultimately ETT and partners aim to work towards considering some of the seed commissioned pieces for a full commission or co-commission where possible, with a potential future view towards co-production and touring.
Wednesday 29 July at 5pm
You will be informed if you are eligible for this opportunity and whether your application has been shortlisted by 6pm on 7 August