Our Young Writers Group is a groundbreaking initiative to give young people in rural areas a chance to learn about playwriting and to have their plays produced by professional actors, designers and directors.
This year, we're running two groups. One based in Shropshire and one based in Yorkshire.
Both groups began in September. There are six writers in the Shropshire group and five in the Yorkshire one. Both groups are meeting monthly and taking part in workshops run by professional theatre-makers, reading plays, writing scenes and generally getting into theatre. In summer 2017, both groups will see their short plays given a professional public production.
If you'd like to join one of next year's groups, which will begin in September 2017, register your interest by dropping us an email.
Here's some background info about how our Young Writers programme all began:
In September 2013 Elizabeth did free playwriting workshops in schools and colleges near where we're based. She met over 100 young writers and many got in touch afterwards to see what the next step might be. From those, we put together a group of 8 writers aged between 16 and 25. They took part in workshops with professional playwrights, actors and directors. They wrote their own plays which we produced at Shropshire's first ever YOUNG WRITERS FESTIVAL in June 2014. They wrote such brilliant plays and audiences loved their work so much we decided to do it all over again. All of our original young writers have since gone on to do amazing things - studying at university, starting new jobs and college courses, writing films and plays and we are incredibly proud of them all.
So, as of September 2014, a new group of Young Writers joined us. They met regularly under the guidance of our Associate Artist Simon Longman alongside guest tutors, including actors and playwrights. They each wrote their own short plays, under the collective title RED SKY AT NIGHT. This was performed to sold out audiences at the Ludlow Fringe Festival and then toured to the Latitude Festival in July. The plays were also released as podcasts in November, which you can listen to by clicking HERE.
Our third group began in September 2015. Over the course of the autumn they met regularly with our Artistic Director Elizabeth and writer in residence Joe White, to explore all aspects of playwriting. As well as this they read and discussed plays, worked with actors, and benefitted from sessions with guest tutors including professional writers, directors and designers. They wrote their own short plays, all around the theme of journeys and migration called LAST JOURNEY, which we produced at the Ludlow Fringe and Latitude Festival in July 2016.
We're now expanding the programme across the country and our first satellite group began in Skipton, North Yorkshire in September. This is a brilliant opportunity for young people to learn about theatre, meet like-minded people, and have their plays professionally produced. Get in touch if you like the sound of it all!
Here's what previous young writer Tom said about his experience:
"I’ve been lucky enough to be a regular visitor to the company in recent months, as a member of the first Young Writers Group. This is an exciting opportunity for 7 of us to get together every three weeks for workshops, discussions and to generally chat about the craft, pleasure and sometimes pain of writing. (Plus there’s always the added bonus tea and cake!) The group really spans a broad spectrum of ages (up to 25) and experiences but, the group, led by the Artistic Director Elizabeth and professional playwright Simon, is a truly supportive and open environment.
But don’t be fooled… the group isn’t just an excuse for a chinwag. We’ve also been lucky enough to take part in a really inspiring workshop from writer and performer Francesca Millican-Slater; explored how words on the page translate when working with actors and I’m already looking forward to next time’s session which will be led by writer Phil Porter. Plus there is always precious time to try our hand at a writing exercise which can often produce some surprising and delightful results. Last time we started to share some of our work and it was so nice to hear – even from tiny, unpolished pieces – just a few of the different voices within the group and I can’t wait to hear much more from my fellow writers."