The Endemol Shine indie has teamed with The Royal Court Theatre to support a new fellowship that will offer three writers £10,000 (US$13,000) to help getting their work developed and produced in television and theatre.
These fellowships are specifically aimed at writers already establishing a writing career, but who perceive barriers in getting their work developed and produced because of class, disability, education, ethnicity, gender identity, geography or any other barrier.
The bursaries will support writers for a period of six months from January 2019 and during this time they will also be given the opportunity to see productions, meet other leading writers in theatre and television and have ongoing artistic conversations with staff at both organisations.
During this time, they will be able to challenge and take part in the work of the Royal Court and Kudos. There will also be opportunities to see productions, meet other leading writers in theatre and television and have ongoing artistic conversations with staff at both organisations. Applications must be in, with a script, by November 16.
Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre, and Sarah Stack, Head of Development, Kudos, are leading the scheme.
Thorne, who also wrote the screenplay for stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, said, “I think every writer thinks their generation has it the hardest, that the generation before had chances or opportunities that they lacked, but I’ve got to say I think right now – at a time when we need new writing the most – breaking into the “arts” feels like an impossible task, particularly if you’re not able to be supported by the bank of Mum and Dad. When I look at writing for theatre and TV – yes, I realise I’m part of the problem here – I do find the names I’m see become depressingly familiar. These fellowships will bring vital new voices to the fore and let them sing whatever songs they want.”
Gregg, who also wrote on Sky drama Riviera, said, “Starting out as a writer is daunting for anyone, but the extra anxiety of being away from home and without a financial safety net can mean the difference between taking that risk or opportunity you might otherwise pass on. This bursary buys time and head space to get that draft written, to take meetings, to stop worrying about the next train fare, allowing you to build the connections and understanding of an industry that might otherwise remain behind a veil. I am so heartened that a fellowship like this one might go some way to addressing these obstacles for some brilliant writers the world ought to know.
Kelly, who also wrote BBC comedy Pulling with Sharon Horgan, added,“We often talk of the barriers that writers who are starting out encounter, but for many of us there are things to be overcome before we even start putting pen to paper. Whilst our theatre is in great shape, and there’s some fantastic work out there that’s genuinely pushing back boundaries, I do worry that if I were I to be starting out today I wouldn’t see myself reflected on our stage and I’d think ’that’s not the place for me’. This isn’t about rejecting the work of today, but if we want to ensure a plurality of voices we need to make a real and concerted effort to address the socio-economic hurdles that make potential playwrights self-select and edit themselves out of the story of our theatre. This bursary is certainly a step in the right direction – it’s something that will make a very real difference to three people who are out there right now, wondering whether they should continue.”