WGGB New Play Commission Scheme brings “lifeline to writers” post-Covid

A new scheme is being launched to ensure 15 new commissions for playwrights across England in 2022. The scheme will be launched in April 2022 with online submissions open at www.writersguild.org.uk/npcs

The New Play Commission Scheme (NPCS), led by WGGB in partnership with HighTide TheatreUK Theatre and the Independent Theatre Council, has been designed to respond to the decline in new theatre commissions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research demonstrates that the pandemic has been devastating for playwrights. A survey of UK Theatre members and other theatres revealed that new commissions have declined by a third between 2019-20 and 2020-21. A poll of WGGB members found that 74% of playwrights had lost income due to the pandemic – representing 40% of their annual earnings – and that 50% believed they would not be working in theatre in two years’ time. The NPCS will address the loss of new voices from under-represented groups and writers based outside of London (see details of the scheme, below).

The scheme has been generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England, by Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre through the Theatre Development Trust; and has raised over £50,000 in donations from major producers, actors, and writers, including the Mackintosh FoundationNeal Street ProductionsSonia Friedman Productions; director and producer Stephen Daldry CBE; and playwrights Lucy Kirkwood, Caryl Churchill, Jack Thorne, Alan Bennett, Lee Hall, Laura Wade, Bryony Lavery and Sir Tom Stoppard. Faber have made a generous donation and will also award an additional £5,000 to the best play by an unpublished writer, which – if produced – will also be published.

The scheme is still accepting donations and will increase the number of commissions available if funding allows. Organisations and individuals wishing to donate to the scheme should contact admin@writersguild.org.uk

Read more here. 

Source: WGGB

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