Can you believe it has been a whole year since we launched our members website? Here co-founder, Kimberley Andrews, reflects on the past year, talks about the overwhelming support received from members, and discusses what’s next for LPB…
Why did we launch our membership scheme?
In the summer of 2017, A.C Smith and I knew that we were at a crossroads with LPB. We’d had a fantastic four years supporting an incredible range of emerging writers and watching our community grow. However, it had been quite a challenge!
As our work grew, we needed the infrastructure to support it. And, despite the fact that our team worked on a volunteer basis, it was still really hard to find the funds to cover our basic costs (all the boring stuff like accounting fees, web hosting and insurance really adds up!).
We knew we had to do something radical if we were to continue in our quest to support the next generation of playwrights but we also felt strongly that, as the ‘bread and butter’ of our work, the resources on the London Playwrights’ Blog site should remain free.
That’s how we came up with the idea of asking our subscribers to help support us and in return, we’d offer them some exciting new content – and with that, our members site was born!
What has the response been like?
It’s been incredible! We weren’t sure how it would go down – it’s never easy to ask people for money and accessibility really is at the heart of what we do; after all, as playwrights ourselves, we know how hard a world it is to break into.
We set the price as low as we could, at around the price of a coffee per month, with the option for writers to pay more if they wanted to/ could.
We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received in the past year and as we edge towards having 300 hundred members, we’re hoping this is a sign that we’ll be able to keep growing, and keep expanding on the work we do for writers.
What have we achieved this year?
In January, we ran #WrAP2018. a challenge for our members to write a play in a month. Over 150 writers took part and we were ecstatic to hear that many of you actually completed first drafts or at least did the groundwork for developing a new idea.
We’re currently running an online re-drafting course and an online book club to encourage writers to read more plays. We’ve also had lots of members take us up on the reduced rate for our script consulting service and we’ve seen some really exciting writing as a result of this.
One of our best achievements has been building a community of playwrights, both online and in person at some of our fantastic LPW member meetups. It’s amazing to see writers come together and how they flourish when given support from their community – it really feels as though we’re at the start of a big movement for playwrights, and hopefully that’s something we can continue to nurture.
And last but not least, through the support we’ve received from our members, we’ve been able to continue the work we do at LPB, bringing you the latest playwriting opportunities for free.
What’s next for our members?
We’ve got a series of mini online workshops coming up designed to keep people writing during the summer lull (if you’re anything like us, writing somehow ends up taking a back seat when the sun is shining!) and then in Autumn we’ve got a longer course coming up which looks at writing in regional dialect in detail. We’re currently working on the rest of our Autumn programme and developing other new exciting content for our members, so watch this space!
In terms of our bigger ambitions, we plan to keep building our online resources, expand on the variety of courses we’re offering, and to further support writers in their journey to getting their work produced. The bottom line is though, the more support we get, the more we can do, so please join up if you can!
And if you are thinking of signing up, you should know that all previous content stays up on the members site, so you won’t have missed out on things like #WrAP and the re-drafting course if you join now.
What would we like to say to members?
THANKS! And we mean that from the bottom of our hearts! The support you’ve given us over the past year has been phenomenal and it has allowed us to keep doing the work we do to support emerging playwrights just like you. It’s been so inspiring to have so many of you on board with an idea we’re really passionate about, and we really do appreciate every single one of you.
What can you do support us?
Become a member! And if you already are, then stay with us! You can also support us by doing your Amazon shopping through our affiliate links, coming along to our workshops, choosing us for script consulting,following us on Twitter, and by spreading the word about our work to anyone who will listen!
London Playwrights’ Blog is at London Writers’ Week next week! Check out the details here.
Image via MattysFlicks Flickr CC