News 15/11/2021

Launching Young Playwrights Programme 2022

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In December 2020, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the Urdd Eisteddfod and S4C came together to establish a brand-new partnership to share their diverse skills and provide unique training and mentoring opportunities for a new generation of young playwrights.

The response to the Young Playwrights Programme was fantastic. In all, 45 applications were received from young people from across Wales, and each one was accepted into the new initiative.

Gwenllian Gravelle, Drama Commissioner at S4C, said: “Developing the next generation of writers – from all walks of life – is a major priority for S4C. We were delighted to be part of the original partnership last year and to support the new voices who wanted to learn how to tell a good story on screen. As we aim to commission even more drama that reflects modern Wales, we are delighted to be supporting the programme once again and look forward to getting to know the new cohort. Go for it!”

This year, BBC Studios has joined the partnership, with the successful applicants having the opportunity to benefit from additional skills as part of the Programme in 2022:

“Nurturing new creative talent is inspiring and is integral to the longevity of our culture.  Sharing our extensive development and production experience here at Pobol y Cwm with the future generation of writers is incredibly exciting. BBC Studios is looking forward to working alongside S4C, the Urdd Eisteddfod and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru to encourage new voices that represent Wales today”. Nest Gwenllian Roberts, Series Producer for Pobl y Cwm.

One of those involved in the programme in 2021 is Rhiannon Williams from Cardiff. She notes that the experience has been a huge boost for her, not only in developing her writing and scriptwriting skills, but also in terms of gaining confidence to compete in the Urdd’s national Drama Medal competition, becoming this year’s winner;

“It was a pleasure to be part of a programme where I got to ask and learn from amazing playwrights and screenwriters like Daf James, Roger Williams and Bethan Marlow. I learned so much and it gave me the encouragement to go for the Urdd Drama Medal. I would encourage all young people to take advantage of this great opportunity”

As a result of winning the Drama Medal, Rhiannon was selected as Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru's first Young Playwright this year.

Rhian Davies, Executive Producer at Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, said: “Each year, the winner will become a Young Playwright in Residence with Theatr Gen. Before that, they will have received writing skills development training through the programme with a number of other budding playwrights and will then receive bespoke training from Theatr Gen, BBC Studios and S4C. We’re delighted to be leading a partnership that brings together Wales' leading creative organisations to support the development of young playwrights through the Urdd”.

So what will the Young Playwrights Programme 2022 offer the young people of Wales? Firstly, an opportunity to network and meet professional playwrights in this field from across Wales. Secondly, masterclass workshops with successful Welsh playwrights, theatre experts and those working in the media sector. There will also be an opportunity for those wishing to compete at the Urdd Eisteddfod in 2022 to develop scripts based on the list of competitions for that year.

Siân Eirian, Director of the Eisteddfod and the Arts at the Urdd, said: “We are very proud of this partnership with Theatr Genedlaethol, BBC Studios and S4C. As an organisation, we are constantly looking for new opportunities for our members to gain experience and confidence in the areas that interest them. This is a unique programme that gives aspiring playwrights a great opportunity to develop and refine their craft, before going on to compete in the Urdd Eisteddfod. I am confident that this partnership will continue to encourage and inspire hundreds of young people coming up through the Urdd’s ranks.”

Interested? This programme is open to anyone who is interested. We are looking for new, fresh voices – and no previous experience of scriptwriting and drama is required.  If you are aged between 17 and 25 and like to write, tell stories, create interesting characters or write poetry, then go for it! We are particularly keen to hear from young people from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in the creative sector, including disabled people, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic people, LGBTQ+ people, and people from underrepresented socio-economic backgrounds.

How to register? Send a written piece of up to 300 words or a video presentation or voice recording of up to 3 minutes in length, explaining why you want to be part of the Young Playwrights Programme. Email them to creu@theatr.com or if it's a video, send via WhatsApp to 07903 842617 by the deadline of Friday 17 December 2021 at 5pm.

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For any queries, please contact Heulwen Davies, Marketing and Communications Manager at Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Heulwen.davies@theatr.com | +44 (0) 1267 245 617 | +44 (0) 7817591930.

This is a Welsh language programme, but we are keen to support and assist anyone who lacks confidence in their language skills. We are also committed to making this programme accessible to all. Please do contact us to discuss your needs. Entrants do not need to be members of the Urdd – but will need to join in order to compete for any composition competition at future Eisteddfodau.

This programme is specifically for young people and is part of a series of wider skills development programmes run by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru for everyone. These programmes include the Awenau Director training programme, our Bursary programmes, and our Confidence Building project which supported freelancers in the arts to increase their confidence in the Welsh language.