Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Playwrights' Studio Wales: Actions

Arts Policy Report

Writers Group , National Theatre of Wales , December-29-14
Arts Policy Report by Writers Group The plan for the Playwrights' Studio Wales was summarised and posted yesterday. The background to the venture uses direct language. All selections taken from

https://sites.google.com/site/playwrightswales/

The reasons from the 35 page document:

The establishment of Playwrights’ Studio Wales follows a period of upset and frustration within the writing community. PSW aims to learn from these lessons - aware of the burdens of the past - looking-forward to a period of empowerment and success for a newly revived theatre community.

Factors that will influence the development of the company include:

Anger and scepticism within the writing community regarding the sector’s commitment to new writing, its execution and scrutiny

A history of declining relations between funders, companies and playwrights, and the marginalising of the community on both sides;

An out-dated infrastructure with only three houses across the country consistently producing (Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Sherman Cymru and the Torch Theatre);

Limited financial resources available for the foreseeable future;

A Cardiff-centric attitude towards new writing with those outside of the capital feeling excluded;

A sector-wide expertise deficit, when dealing with new writing.

The launch plans:

In 2015 Playwrights’ Studio Wales will launch nationally with an innovative online platform that will tackle the absence of a script reading service in Wales. This online home for playwrights is envisaged as a space to share work with industry-wide practitioners in a de-centralised, writer-led network. The online network will be a resource for the community to share advice and
provide support for writers of all stages in their careers. It is hoped that this network will develop over the year and provide PSW with an active ‘base’ for the delivery of core communications and support mechanisms.

Touring:

During the summer months, PSW will work in collaboration with partners to tour a selection of works from some of Wales’ emerging and established talent to some of the UK’s biggest festivals,. This informal structure will enable PSW to set in motion its strategic mission to share the voices of Wales with the wider UK industry. Touring to some of the UK’s major festivals including : Brighton Fringe, Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Hay Festival and Latitude Festival, PSW aim to be a reliable and identifiable brand in these festivals from the outset, fostering a thirst for Welsh playwriting across the UK.

The plans include an unusual writing place:

Campervan Retreats- During year three PSW will launch the long-term Campervan Retreats. Three campervans based in three key locations across the country in partnership with three venues (potentially: Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Galeri Caernarfon and Chapter in Cardiff). These campervans will be available for up to a week at a time for playwrights to ‘escape’ and immerse themselves in their writing. Campervans will be kitted out with amenities for one person to eat, live and sleep for up to one week at a time. Ground rent and petrol will be provided along with a writer’s research and development fee for up to one week. A library of contemporary work from across the theatrical spectrum will be available for inspiration. It is hoped this project will be self-funding within two years with the campervans made available for private hire, subsidising the
initiative and the opportunities being offered to the community.

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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