When Write to Play was just a germ of an idea it was fuelled by a need – for the larger theatre ecology to acknowledge, develop and produce work that was written by D/deaf and disabled writers. The hope was to bridge a gap – for the writers to experience expertise from leading new writing organisations in developing their craft, and then for this investment to go full circle and start to create change in culture and in practice.
The first year of Write to Play launched in London in 2013. Since then it has toured annually to the North East, North West and is soon to hit the Midlands.
The programme offers five new writers each year the opportunity to hone their craft and explore their ideas in a supportive environment. The programme involves:
- Playwriting 101, a five day writing workshop led by leading practitioners, offering writers crucial foundation learning and space with peers in a supported environment
- Six half day specialist workshops facilitated by theatre makers working today, giving writers a unique insight into the various approaches to writing for performance
- Access to an individual mentor who will support the writer dramaturgically through all writing projects during the programme, offer pastoral support, and challenge and encourage the writers’ individual practice and open up new ways of thinking
- Miniatures: Writers will have the opportunity to develop a short monologue and a short duologue during the programme, to explore with their mentor the performance potential of the pieces in a workshop with actors, and showcase this work to a small audience and get feedback
- Writers will also develop two drafts of a new full-length play. There will be a public sharing of an extract from this full-length play at the end of the programme for an industry audience. The full length plays will be considered for production by Graeae and our partners
- Writers will have the opportunity to take part in a two-week placement at one of Graeae’s partner organisations, allowing writers to expand their network and skills base.
- There will also be opportunities to see new work at our partner organisations across the year.
Write to Play is a paid opportunity. Each writer gets a fee of £1800 (paid in instalments) for their participation on the programme. Expenses related to participation, such as travel and accommodation, are also covered by the programme.
All access requirements are met, including sign language interpreters and access support workers, and the programme structure and content can be adapted for access purposes if required.
Write to Play graduates have gone on to write for theatre and television, secure commissions and agents, lead writing workshops, and develop theatre companies of their own, among other things.
As well as developing individual writer talent, the programme also introduces a new generation of D/deaf and disabled playwrights to the wider theatre landscape, leading a network of theatres across the UK to engage D/deaf and disabled playwrights, directors and actors through accessible development programmes and work.
The Write to Play programme is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Awards For All, Backstage Trust, Noel Coward Trust, John Ellerman Foundation and Charter 600.