Traverse Theatre Launches Digital Series for Aspiring Young Writers

Continuing its commitment to creating opportunities for anyone to connect with and unleash their innate creativity, the Traverse theatre announces a new series of Open Submissions Workshops and the delivery of digital Scratch performances. These will enable their Young Writers Group to continue their creative development and share new stories with audiences through an online showcase. 

Over the next 16 weeks, the Traverse will be producing a series of Open Submissions Workshops that will be made available to view and listen to on demand and for free through their website and YouTube channel from anywhere in the world.

Each week a professional playwright or theatremaker will deliver a workshop on an aspect of the writing process. The series aims to give practical support to writers through the process of having an initial idea for a script through creating a draft, when it will be read by a team of theatre professionals for possible development and presentation by the theatre at a future date. They hold the potential for submission to the theatre’s Open Submission window beginning on 1 September.

Tutors already confirmed to deliver workshops are Debbie Hannan, Gareth Nicholls, Meghan Tyler, Julia Taudevin, Hannah Lavery, Douglas Maxwell and Frances Poet, with many more to be confirmed in coming weeks.

Scripts which have previously been developed by the Traverse through its Open Submissions programme include Gagarin Way by Gregory Burke, Milkby Ross Dunsmore and Crash by Andy Duffy, with writers such as Natalie McGrath (First Stages and Pride Plays) and Conor O’Louhglin (First Stages and A Play, A Pie and A Pint). 

Traverse’s Literary Associate Eleanor White, who gives an introduction to the series and the Open Submissions initiative, says “We have been so impressed by … our Young Writers Group have shown since we moved their course online following lockdown… works online, allowing them to reach audiences both within and far beyond the local area … These are some of the most exciting new voices in Scottish theatre and their pieces cover a huge range of topics and emotions ….”

An important aspect of the Young Writers programme is presenting excerpts of the writers’ work in a Scratch Night performance at the Traverse, during which each writer can gather feedback from members of the audience, industry and their peers.

As part of the Traverse’s commitment to sharing the work the Young Writers Group have created brand new, specially created, remotely directed pieces from nine Young Writers online with performers filming in their own homes under lockdown conditions. They are Bluey Little, Katie McCulloch, Shelley Middler, Rhianna Varney, Leonie Jones, Kasia Grycuk, Kari Hall, Gabriel Floyd and Tom Zacha and performers confirmed so far include Zoe Bullock, Claire Macallister, Nicole Cooper, Laura Lovemore and Isobel McArthur.

Pieces will be directed by Gareth Nicholls and Debbie Hannan and the first will be made available on our YouTube channel and website at 8pm on Sat 16 May (the time and date of the planned Scratch Night performance at the Traverse), with a new piece going live each night until Sat 24 May. All times referred to are BST.

A new workshop will be available every Wed from 13 May 2020 and for those who may want to work on their ideas for longer, all sessions will be available to view and listen to at any point until 1 September 2021.

Irene Brown

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