Play On is a new collaboration between Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Theatr Clwyd and National Theatre Wales to find new and exciting scripts and plays by playwrights based in Wales.
Over the next year, Play On will enable playwrights to send their unpublished scripts and plays anonymously to an eager panel of readers for valuable feedback. There may be an opportunity for the most promising scripts to be developed, matching the script and playwright with one of the three organisations best placed to develop, commission and produce it.
Arwel Gruffydd, Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, explains how this new partnership is a unique opportunity for playwrights in Wales:
”This is the first scheme of its kind in Wales. I am extremely pleased that we’re collaborating with National Theatre Wales and Theatr Clwyd on such an exciting experiment. We hope that it will present us with an opportunity to share the message widely and nationally about the opportunities that are available for our playwrights to present their work in both languages, to three of our largest theatre production companies by way of a one-stop-shop. Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru hopes that this venture will allow us to hear from diverse voices and new playwrights of all ages, regardless of their level of previous experience.”
During the process, playwrights will have access to an eager panel of freelance and in-house readers, selected by the three partners following an open callout in August 2021. Readers have been appointed for 6 months and there will be another opportunity to apply for the role. For the first 6 months these include Charles O’Rourke, who has a background in manual labour, literary translation and queer activism and is a script reader for Liverpool’s Everyman Playhouse and Channel 4. Lowri Izzard, who trained at RADA and has recently wrapped on a new comedy feature film, Brian and Charles, for Film4 and BFI. Freelance dramaturg Mary Davies, who has recently completed her PhD at the Shakespeare Institute and RSC. Melangell Dolma, playwright, actor and Creative Development Coordinator at Theatr Genedlaethol, and Yasmin Begum who is a Welsh-Pakistani campaigner, writer and creative practitioner. She currently works at Gwasg Honno Press, the oldest independent women’s press in the United Kingdom. Rahim El Habachi, who is a creative associate with National Theatre Wales, an LGBT+ refugee and asylum seekers campaigner, has worked with the Welsh National Opera and Sherman Theatre; he is a performer and theatre maker.
‘It’s wonderful to be announcing this programme which opens a new and accessible pathway for the incredible richness, diversity and talent of Welsh playwriting. Along with our partners, NTW is committed to opening creative conversations with writers from the many contexts and cultures that make up a modern and inclusive Wales. The playwrights of Wales are an incredible asset to the storytelling and evolving identity of our nation. It’s of huge importance that established and new voices alike should have transparent and accessible avenues to share their ideas and work with major producing organisations.’
Lorne Campbell, National Theatre Wales.
Another exciting part of the offer is the opportunity for the readers to continue to build dramaturgical skills. British/American literary manager and dramaturg Raphael Martin is the owner of The Lit Shop Ltd, a literary management company for theatres that want a role such as this on a consulting basis. He has worked as a dramaturg and literary manager at many prestigious organisations including the RSC, Sonia Friedman Productions, ATG, The Bush, The Gate Notting Hill, The Royal Court Young Writers’ Programme, The National, Manhattan Theatre Club and Soho Rep. His current clients include institutions based in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia.
Welsh dramaturg Ffion Emlyn has worked for the BBC for over twenty years, mainly as a Radio Drama Producer for BBC Radio Cymru. Ffion has also worked as Script Editor and Story Producer on other BBC programmes such as Casualty and Pobol y Cwm, and has enjoyed developing new writing talent over the years.
Theatr Clwyd is delighted to be involved: “As a venue we believe that Play On is a vital step for ensuring that new, diverse and talented voices are heard on stages around Wales. We are really pleased to have the opportunity to work with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and National Theatre Wales on this exciting project.” Tamara Harvey, Theatr Clwyd.
This is an open call for scripts already in existence, which have not been previously produced or presented to any one of the three partner organisations.
Scripts can be for any target age group but must be for live performances, including musicals. All playwrights aged 18 and over are invited to submit their work in either Welsh or English, and/or bilingually. Each script will be read anonymously, and scripts should be longer than 20 pages. The first submission window opens 16 February 2022 and closes on 31 March 2022. More information regarding how to submit scripts will be published soon.
If you have any questions, you are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us via voicemail or text to 07908 439417.