We are delighted to announce the names of those playwrights who have been selected to be part of a new national scheme to develop the craft of writers for the stage through the medium of Welsh, namely Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s New Playwrights’ Group.
The group includes writers who are already well-known for their work in other media, together with others who are already working in the theatre, but in a different capacity – including some individuals who came to further prominence during this year’s National Eisteddfod in Cardiff.
The members of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s New Playwrights’ Group 2018/19 will be: Melangell Dolma, Cai Llewelyn Evans, Elin Gwyn, Miriam Elin Jones, Lowri Morgan, Naomi Nicholas, Sian Northey and Gruffudd Eifion Owen.
By collaborating with S4C, Literature Wales, Pontio, Theatr Clwyd, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales Millennium Centre and Sherman Theatre, and as a part of Theatre Genedlaethol Cymru’s new initiative, Theatr Gen Creu (a scheme that supports and develops talent), Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is providing support to these 8 new writers for the theatre to enable them to develop their craft through a series of events, workshops and mentoring opportunities over a period of ten months.
There were 44 applicants for this exciting scheme, from all parts of Wales. The standard of the applications was so high that Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru has decided to offer support during the forthcoming year to 12 writers in addition to the 8 already chosen to be a part of this Group, as they develop their craft as Welsh-language playwrights.
The scheme will run between September 2018 and July 2019 and will include 6 day-long workshops with professional, experienced playwrights in various locations throughout Wales, including Carmarthen, Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Mold and Bangor. Among the tutors will be Dafydd James, Bethan Marlow, Aled Jones Williams, Alan Harris, Alun Saunders and Elinor Cook.
Two additional workshops – under the auspices of Literature Wales and S4C – will be held to discuss opportunities for playwrights to develop their craft and gain employment in other media.
During the 10-month period, members of the Group will be expected to go and see theatre performances (in particular, examples of new writing), and under the title ‘Be Welaist Ti?’ (‘What Did You See?’), there will be opportunities for the playwrights to come together to discuss the productions they have seen. The playwrights will receive free tickets to attend some performances at their local participating venue, thanks to the generosity of those venues.
This will be followed by a period of 5 months during which each member of the group will write a new play; they will receive professional feedback on the work as it develops, provided by experienced mentors in the field of new writing for the theatre, including Arwel Gruffydd (Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), Sarah Bickerton (Associate Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru) and Ffion Haf (freelance theatre director).
At the end of the scheme, there will be public rehearsed readings of these new plays (with professional actors and directors), presented as works in development, at the participating venues, and the playwrights will be invited to attend the rehearsals. An open discussion will be held after each reading, with an opportunity for audiences to engage with the playwrights about their work and to give their feedback. The playwrights will also receive feedback from all the partners involved, as well as an opportunity to discuss future creative relationships with those partners as well as with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. The readings will be held between 10 June and 3 July 2019.
Arwel Gruffydd, Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, said:
“Receiving so many applications for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s New Playwrights’ Group was, in itself, most encouraging. But the fact that the applications were, almost without exception, very strong made our work of selecting the best extremely difficult. But the process has also been an enjoyable one, and it was a pleasure to meet with so many playwrights who were new to us. The 8 that have been selected represent a wide range in geographic terms and a diversity of voices and creative inclinations. I’m very confident that from this process will come not only new first-rate playwrights, but also exciting works for the theatre that will provide a feast for future audiences.”
This entire scheme is offered completely free of charge to the successful applicants.