First Commissions Scheme with HighTide (Writers age 30 and under)

First Commissions is HighTide’s attachment programme for writers. Every year, we work with five emerging writers under the age of 30 (thanks to the support of the Martin Bowley Charitable Trust who support young artists), and aid them to:

  • Write a new stage play;
  • Produce two rehearsed readings in professional theatres;
  • Collaborate with a director;
  • Engage an established playwright to act as a mentor and dramaturg;
  • Make an application to Arts Council England for funding.

HighTide commissions are developed and made in Suffolk, and at least one commission every year will be relative to life in or by a writer from East Anglia. HighTide produces well resourced debut productions with substantial research and development periods, which benefit from development with HighTide associates and audience feedback. HighTide playwrights are new, adventurous and diverse in terms of ethnicity, political philosophy, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Eligibility:  In order to apply for the First Commissions scheme you must be under 30 years of age (thanks to the support of the Martin Bowley Charitable Trust who support young artists). They welcome applications from anyone born on or after 25th November 1986.

They do not accept applications for writers that have already had a paid commission, regardless of whether that commission was realised in a full production or not.

Whilst applications can be internationally focussed, you must be resident and eligible to work in the United Kingdom at least until 31st December 2018.

What to submit:  Your proposal to HighTide must be for a full-length play for stage. They do not accept applications for screenplays, short plays or other work.

They do not accept applications for plays that you have already written, or an adaption/translation of a play that has already been written in another language.

What they are looking for:  In their own words:

“We’re looking for playwrights with vivid, theatrical voices who have something important to say about the world we live in now. We’re also interested in writers/theatre-makers who challenge the conventional relationship between a play and an audience.”

About the development programme:

Each play selected for this programme will undergo at least one year of development with HighTide. The first stage of this development is, with mentoring from HighTide associates and artists, to research, develop and write a draft of your play suitable for a public reading.

During this time you will also build a relationship with an emerging director who will aid you in development of your play. After this stage your play will be read at the annual HighTide Festival of new plays as a rehearsed reading and, following further feedback and development, will receive a rehearsed reading at one other professional theatre. Following this stage your play will be developed again, and submitted to HighTide for consideration for production as a fully resourced debut production that will either premiere at the annual HighTide Festival of New Plays, or at a co-producer venue across the UK.

Please note: an offer of a place on the First Commissions scheme is not a guarantee of a full production. A commission will only be optioned for production by HighTide and possible co-producers if it is deemed of a production ready standard and quality. In some special circumstances if plays are deemed of a high enough quality after the initial reads they may be optioned for production early.

How to apply:  To apply, simply download the form here, complete it and send it back to alongside a 10 page excerpt of your writing with the subject FIRST COMMISSION APPLICATION – [YOUR NAME] before the closing date and time.

 Deadline:  25 November 2016 at 6pm

Source:  Playwrights’ Studio Scotland

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