The Traverse Theatre has launched a digital series of open submissions workshops.
Over the next 16 weeks, tutors from the Traverse’s Artistic Team, together with other playwrights and theatremakers, will help take aspiring writers through the writing process. Each week a different tutor will focus on a particular aspect of writing, supporting writers to take their initial idea for a script through to creating a draft. All workshops are free to access via the theatre’s Youtube channel and will be available until September 2021.
The theatre’s plan is for drafts from the workshop series to be submitted during the theatre’s Open Submission window beginning on 1 September, when it will be read by a team of theatre professionals for possible development and presentation by the theatre at a future date. The workshops will be kept live until next year for those who may want to work on their ideas for longer.
Tutors already confirmed to deliver workshops are Debbie Hannan, Gareth Nicholls, Meghan Tyler, Julia Taudevin, Hannah Lavery, Douglas Maxwell and Frances Poet, with more to be confirmed in coming weeks.
Scripts which have previously been developed by the Traverse through its Open Submissions programme include Gagarin Way by Gregory Burke, Milk by Ross Dunsmore and Crash by Andy Duffy, with writers such as Natalie McGrath (First Stages and Pride Plays) and Conor O’Loughlin (First Stages and A Play, A Pie and A Pint) receiving development of pieces, having submitted to the initiative.
“The Traverse is committed to finding new ways to support as many people as possible in using this period to unleash their creativity and potentially discover an unexplored talent,” says Linda Crooks, Executive Producer. “Creativity is an attribute we all have, and the stories we need and want to hear – now more than ever – could come from anyone and anywhere. We hope that this ambitious series of Open Submissions Workshops will encourage anyone who may have dreamt of writing a play to take the leap towards the potential production of their work on one of our stages, when such an event is possible again. Presenting these workshops in a digital form means that they can be used and enjoyed globally, and we hope that writers who engage with this series may create transformative work for not just the Traverse, but other theatres – and their audiences – around the world.”
The first session, with the Traverse’s Literary Associate Eleanor White is available now here.
The theatre has also announced a series of digital Scratch performances, enabling their Young Writers Group to continue their creative development and share new stories with audiences. Since late March the group have received weekly online tuition from acclaimed playwrights, but lockdown potentially meant missing the usual Scratch Night performance, an important part of the Young Writers’ programme which allowed them to gather feedback from the audience, industry and their peers. The continuation of this process online means they will now get that opportunity.
Pieces from nine Young Writers will be show online, directed remotely and with performers filming in their own homes under lockdown conditions. The first piece will be made available on our YouTube channel and website at 8pm on Sat 16 May (the time and date of the planned Scratch Night performance at the Traverse), with a new piece going live each night until Sat 24 May.
The Young Writers who will be featured are Bluey Little, Katie McCulloch, Shelley Middler, Rhianna Varney, Leonie Jones, Kasia Grycuk, Kari Hall, Gabriel Floyd and Tom Zachar, with direction from Gareth Nicholls and Debbie Hannan.
Viewers are invited to share any feedback which will help writers to further develop their work by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have been so impressed by the resilience and creativity our Young Writers Group have shown since we moved their course online following lockdown,” says the Traverse’s Literary Associate, Eleanor White. “We are delighted to be able to share these specially created and brand new works online, allowing them to reach audiences both within and far beyond the local area – an opportunity they couldn’t deserve more. These are some of the most exciting new voices in Scottish theatre and their pieces cover a huge range of topics and emotions – but they all have in common their ability to transport audiences outside of their current circumstances and showcase some exceptional talent.”