Theatre Writing Partnership is looking to light the touch paper under another raft of great new theatre shows by offering bursaries, which allow theatre writers (or theatre writers and collaborators) based in the East Midlands to make a journey which will inform a new piece of work.

In offering these bursaries during these lean times we hope to support theatre writers and those who work with them, by meeting the costs or some of the costs of a research trip which they wouldn’t be able to make otherwise.

The journey may or may not be to a distant place. The route or means of transport may be more important than the destination. The destination may be a source of research or the making of the journey could be an experiential research process in itself. If journeying presents a particular physical or emotional challenge then addressing this challenge may be at the heart of the proposal.

The bursaries will be used to cover:

• all or part of the costs of making a journey
• writing/creative time to develop an idea for a script or a new piece of text-based theatre
• attendance at three creative meeting

  • making a presentation about the idea for a new theatre piece at a sharing event

In offering these bursaries TWP is looking to consolidate its legacy of developing new work for theatre and nurturing and supporting talented theatre writers. We want to support East Midlands writers with a proven commitment to theatre writing and a track record which demonstrates this commitment. We hope that the ideas we support will eventually reach audiences and so we are looking for proposals with drive, focus and a commitment to seeing the proposal through. TWP will work with producing partners/theatre venues to support the bursary programme, acting as a broker between artists and producers where appropriate.

We expect to offer around 6 bursaries to writers at different stages in their careers; some new, some established and some emerging. Overall we would like the group of projects we support to include:
• diversity – culturally and in form and content
• beautiful and powerful writing
• a strong sense of the here and now; socially and politically.
• creative use of social, pervasive or interactive media
• surprise
• risk

To download an information pack and apply for this opportunity please click here.

Deadline: Sunday 13 November

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Working Group: Setting up bank account and application for event funding

We would like to set up a small working group to do a number of things:

1 Set us up a bank or building society account.
2 Identify and apply for a small pot of money to:
3 Promote a day in the region to look at international work and in particular funding avenues available for such projects.

If you are interested in being a part of this working group please also let me know by the end of Monday 10th October. I will then send out possible dates for a meeting for that group, separately to the main meeting, and sooner. PLEASE only elect to join the working group if you are able to commit a little time at present. The idea is to get this stuff sorted by the end of October, with a view to it being approved at the group meeting in early November.

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EMTAC members meeting

Things have been a bit quiet over the summer months, but let’s get things moving again, spurred on by the success of the recent TWP Open Space event.

I would like to propose that we have a group meeting with as many members as possible attending during the first week of November.

Monday Oct 31st
Tuesday November 1st
Wednesday November 2nd
Thursday November 3rd
Friday November 4th

We will meet on whichever is the possible for the most people. Volunteers to chair the meeting and take minutes also please. If you would like to bring anything up in particular then please include that in your response.

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EMTAC 3 – Postponed

This from Dominic:

Due to an extremely busy summer, I haven’t been able to organise an EMTAC lab night for September. So I’m proposing that I organise and evening of entertainments for late October instead.

The title is ‘Ten Years On’. Any musings on that will be welcome.

I’ll post the date and venue when I have them




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Lab Night 2

Lab Night 2 took place on Friday 20th May at Bunkers Hill. (cheers again for the free use of the function room Bunkers Hill) We had five presentations and an audience of about 30, a good number of people there for the first time which was good to see. The focus of the evening was new work and so new work was presented and well received it was too.

Requests for signup to an experimental project presented on the night so go to to sign up if interested.

The next meeting takes place soon so keep an eye on your email for details. If not a member check out the Home page and send an email to the address indicated if interested in joining. Details of the next Lab Night will follow.

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Workshop for New Writing

On Friday 13th May, six of us met in studio one at College Street to forum new ideas and get feedback on work in progress.  As well as enjoying myself immensely, I found this both useful and inspiring. Nicky

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A message to EMTAC members from TWP

10 May 2011

Dear EMTAC members,

Now that the dust has settled following the Arts Council of England’s National Portfolio decisions I am writing to you with my Theatre Writing Partnership hat on to offer our views on the issues faced by theatre writers and theatre makers in the East Midlands region.

I am aware of the debate at the last EMTAC meeting although I wasn’t present. This letter is not directly related to that specific discussion but is informed by our experience at TWP of negotiating with the Arts Council and with our theatre partners over the last two years. This letter is not the start of a campaign to reinstate funding to TWP but an appeal to you to be vocal about the need to address the gap in provision which will exist in the East Midlands from next year onwards. The loss of funding to TWP raises the question of how theatre writers and independent theatre makers can be supported in future. We have asked the Arts Council whether there is a strategy to support new work for theatre and we have not yet received an answer to this question. Even though ACE commissioned the Writ Large report in 2009 (assessing the impact of its investment in new writing for theatre from 2003 – 2008), none of its recommendations have been formally adopted. At the moment the report is gathering dust and there are no plans to formally disseminate or implement its recommendations as far as I can tell.

There is no doubt that good intentions abound and that all the regional theatres have made reference to support for new writing and emerging artists in their portfolio bids. Arts Council England are currently negotiating the final funding agreements for the National Portfolio with successful bidders, but these discussions are not public. Good intentions may not be converted into action and the question of support for new theatre work could easily be lost among other priorities. If we do not make our voices heard and ask to be consulted, then our views will be overlooked. If responsibility for new work is to be shared between theatres and the regional literature development agency then how will this make an impact and what kind of delivery can we expect?

In my view the collective voice of theatre writers and artists is very powerful and now is the time to ask questions. By September, agreements between ACE and its portfolio clients will be signed and sealed for the next three years.  Of course this is not the only question for independent theatre makers to address, but in the short term I believe it is very important not to take a softly softly approach. As well as asking bold questions, we should also encourage a coming together of theatre makers both inside and outside venues in the East Midlands to work out how best to ensure that new work continues to thrive.

In other regions there are great case studies to learn from. In the West Midlands, the Pilot platform has offered young companies and practitioners the chance to platform new ideas. Venues have started to commission new work through Pilot and it offers a genuine route for new material from idea to production. In the South West, Theatre Bristol is a body which brings together the people who make, produce and promote new work in the city. If offers networking, platforms, useful talks and events and promotes the new work happening at all venues and festivals in the city.

The question is – what do we need in the East Midlands? If we do not articulate this in a meaningful way then new work will struggle here and artists and writers will go to other parts of the country where support networks are more effective. Here at TWP we want to use our remaining resources to instigate a meaningful debate to find a way forward and we hope to bring you news of a conference/symposium event in the region before the end of 2011. In the meantime, I would stress the need for writers, emerging companies and all practitioners to be asking questions of theatres and other development bodies to ensure that support for new work does not slip off the agenda at this crucial time.

With best wishes,

Kate Chapman

(Artistic Director and CEO Theatre Writing Partnership)

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