Playwrights around the world: post your work online for producers and directors to read and commission (London) — — AAPEX

Monday, December 14, 2009

Playwrights around the world: post your work online for producers and directors to read and commission (London)

West Londons Bush Theatre has this week launched a pioneering
social networking website which allows playwrights to post their work
online for producers and directors to read and commission.

Bush Green currently features more than 170 plays and around 500 test
users, but these numbers are expected to increase dramatically
following the site going live early this week. Users of the site, who
sign up for free, can preview the first 20% of a play for no charge,
but will have to pay £2.58 to download the full work or £1.38 if it
is a short play.

The playwrights will earn £1 from the £2.58, while £1 will go back
into the upkeep of the site. The remainder is an administration fee
paid to PayPal, which oversees the transaction. The initiative has
been supported with a £60,000 grant from the Jerwood Charitable
Foundation, although the Bush is currently looking for long-term
sponsors for the site.

Bush artistic director Josie Rourke told The Stage: “What we wanted
to do, as a small organisation, was think of a really concrete way we
could realise more of the potential of the work we read each year.
We’re now up to something like 1,500 plays which are submitted each
year to the Bush [a venue which specialises in new writing]. We
invest a lot of time and heart in reading them and looking for new work.

“Because we’re small, though, there’s only a limited number of
them that we can produce. So we began to wonder what would happen if
we were to use the internet to connect other potential directors and
producers of good, new work with the plays themselves. That’s the
main idea behind it.”

Users are able to search by the number of male and female roles in a
work and the ages of characters, as well as themes, influences on the
writer and the playwright’s location. The Bush’s official readers,
who will use the website for the theatre’s official submission
process, will put a ‘Bush marker’ on plays they have read and
commented on.

Rourke explained that writers would still be able to post in their
submissions or drop them at the Bush’s box office, but it was hoped
that the site would help streamline the theatre’s reading process,
as well as making it more sustainable - saving in both paper and
travel for readers.

There is also a strong social networking and advice aspect to the
site, so that writers can find out about what to do if a producer
wants to licence their work for production. More experienced writers
such as Neil LaBute and David Eldridge also offer advice in a series
of interviews. It is hoped that it will help build up local networks
of writers and theatre-makers in more isolated parts of the UK.

“It’s an extremely lonely business, playwriting, and we hope that
this will make writers feel more supported,” said Rourke. “It’s
brilliant at building local networks. If you’re a playwright and
live in Salford, for example, you can see if there’s anyone else who
lives in your area who is producing or directing. I really hope that
that geographical function will prove to be very strong. It’s about
networking emerging playwrights and practitioners and getting work

Rourke added that writers’ agents had been “almost totally
enthusiastic” about the project and the Bush expected many of them
to have a presence on the site.

“Online publishing is happening. Someone was going to do this sooner
or later. It just happens that we’ve done it sooner and one of the
important things about that is because we hold playwrights at our
centre, we can promote best practice.

“There are companies and shows who have been working with digital as
a creative medium for some time, using the internet to make work.
What is exciting about Digital Theatre [an initiative where filmed
versions of plays can be downloaded from the internet] and Bush Green
is that it’s a group of people in theatre asking themselves how they
can use the internet do what they do better. Everything that Bush
Green does, we’re already doing in a small way in-house. We’re
already accepting scripts, we’re already trying as much as possible
to advocate plays we can’t stage but we think other people should be
doing. What this enables us to do is put that together in a much
better way. It’s about taking the work that the Bush already does
and making more of it.”

Please click post's title to go to the Bush Green website.

No comments:

Post a Comment