SCRIPT SPACE 2013: PLEASE NOTE THE DEADLINE HAS NOW PASSED
Keep an eye on how the competition is progressing via our Script Space blog, FOOTNOTES.
Developing writers and their work
Back for a sixth year running, Tobacco Factory Theatre’s Script Space is an open competition that invites submissions of new, unperformed plays from UK-based writers for tailor-made development opportunities.
The Tobacco Factory Theatre presents a hugely diverse year-round programme of high quality performing arts, from Shakespeare to stand-up comedy, opera to family shows; from dance to puppetry, new writing to new versions of classical texts. And we present shows that it’s really hard to define as one thing or another, because they’re nudging at the boundaries of what’s possible in theatre. At the Tobacco Factory Theatre we tell epic stories in unique, intimate and visceral spaces.
Our new writing competition comes from the same place as our programme. We want to be surprised, challenged and inspired, in the same way that we want to surprise, challenge and inspire our audiences.
Script Space is for theatre that starts with words on a page. For the sake of argument, we’ll call this a ‘play’, but what we mean by that is really incredibly broad. We’re looking for something we’ve never seen before, be that a promenade site-specific farce about pig-farming with a cast of thirty, or a monologue in a spotlight for a cast of one.
We’re interested in plays about anything, by anybody, for any audience. We’re looking for writers who’ve got something that speaks to us about our lives today, about the world in which we live – be it the absurdity, tragedy or the beauty of it – with clarity, intention and heart.
About the Prize
If you just want to get your play put on, then this competition isn’t for you. If you want the opportunity to explore your play and take it to the next stage of its development in collaboration with our experts, then we definitely want to read your work. Script Space isn’t an opportunity to have your play produced; it’s an opportunity to have your piece of writing developed. Script Space is the start of a relationship between you and your work and us, the Tobacco Factory Theatre.
What exactly do we mean by development? Well, we’re not sure, mainly because it depends on what you send us. To give you an idea of what could happen, here’s how we’re working with one of the three winning writers of last year’s competition:
Manchester-based playwright Becky Prestwich is spending an intensive weekend working with dramaturg David Lane on her play The Boy in the Photograph - hearing the piece read, looking at the nuts and bolts of how it works and identifying solid action points for taking it to the stage. She’s then going to go away and, in dialogue with David as appropriate, work up a next draft. When that’s delivered, we’ll look at whether it would be additionally helpful for there to be a rehearsed reading with professional actors for Becky to get a good idea of what she needs to do next.
In short, Script Space cares about the writer as much as it cares about the writing, and, in the same way that we are working with Becky, we will work with between one and three winning writers to create a development ‘package’ that’s right for them as much as it’s right for the play.
Entries will be judged anonymously, so please don’t include your name on the script itself.
I’m afraid we can’t accept hard copy submissions.
Entrants must be over 18 and based in the UK.
Your play must never have been produced.
Only one submission per person, please.
Do note that we are anticipating a high volume of submissions, so please bear with us.
Deadline: 31 January 2013
Script Space V | 2012
Now in its fifth year, Tobacco Factory Theatre’s Script Space is one of the largest open new writing competitions in the country, offering bespoke development opportunities for the winning scripts. This year the competition received a record 573 entries, with submissions from all over the country. We were looking for writing that excited us, writing that made us want to pick up the phone to the writer to talk more.
The shortlisting process was through and rigorous, drawing on the expertise of a pool of almost forty local writers, directors, actors, dramaturgs and producers until a final shortlist of just nine plays was arrived at. The final judging panel comprised Tobacco Factory Theatre director Ali Robertson, TF+ Officer Carrie Rhys-Davies, performer and playwright Thomas Eccleshare and playwright and dramaturg Jon Nash.
Chair of the judging panel and Facilitator of the Writers’ Forum, playwright and dramaturg David Lane, said:
“All our readers were united by one common desire: to find a new play or new writer – and in an ideal world, both in one script – that shows them something they’ve never seen before. We were interested in plays about anything, by anybody, for any audience. Yes, of course we were looking for writers who might know a thing or two about theatre already, but perhaps more importantly we were looking for writers who’ve got something that speaks to us about the world in which we live with clarity, intention and heart. We’re very lucky to have found three such plays and three very distinctive voices.”
We are delighted to announce that this year’s winning plays and writers:
MEAT by Joe Ledbury
Somewhere between a dystopian fantasy and a docudrama, Joe’s smart and taut play shines a light on the recruitment industry in a style that is at once deadly serious and a very big joke.
Joe is a Theatre Studies graduate with an MA in Creative Writing. His play THE PHOTOGRAPHER won first place in the Nuffield Southampton’s ‘Famous for Fifteen’ competition 2010 and his short story THE BLACK MAMBA was published in In the Red Magazine 2010. Joe says, “MEAT is based on my experience of struggling to find work after University. After cleaning toilets and taking part in a residential medical trial, I found a temporary role in recruitment, where I stayed in fancy hotels and handed out menial jobs. When the menial jobs began to run out, I had to recruit myself.”
A BRIEF HISTORY OF AMERICA by Dipika Guha
A play with a superb sense of place, Dipika’s atmospheric and poetic three-hander is a meditation on identity and nationhood that negotiates difficult and complex subject matter with skill and delicacy.
Dipika is a graduate of the MFA Playwriting Program at the Yale School of Drama, where she studied under Paula Vogel, and a graduate of the Young Writer’s Program at the Royal Court Theatre, London. Her plays have been developed and seen at Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, the Lark, the Flea, Wellfleet Harbour Actors Theatre, Chester Theatre, Old Vic New Voices, Ars Nova, WordBridge, Cutting Ball Theatre, New Century Theatre Company, Theatre 4, the Djerassi Residency Artists Program and at the Ucross Foundation. Dipika was born in India and raised in Cochin, London and Moscow.
THE BOY IN THE PHOTOGRAPH by Becky Prestwich
It was the compelling premise and intelligent engagement with big ideas that excited us about Becky’s ambitious play, which looks at what happens when a photojournalist and his subject matter get too close.
Becky’s first full length play, STREETLIGHTS AND SHADOWS was produced at the White Bear Theatre Club in 2007 and her second, LETTING IN AIR at the Old Red Lion in 2009. Becky has had short plays performed at Theatre 503, the Union Theatre, Live Theatre and the Arcola. Her first play for young people, SOLOMON CHILD was performed by the Young People’s Theatre Workshop in the Studio at the Royal Exchange Theatre. She is currently on attachment to the BBC through their Writersroom 10 scheme. The scheme includes a seed commission to develop her latest play, HOW THE CABINET-MAKER CROSSED THE ROAD, with the Library Theatre Company. Alongside her writing, Becky works with children and young people as the Young People’s Co-ordinator at the Royal Exchange Theatre.
The winning writers will be congratulated at a special Script Space celebration event at the Tobacco Factory Theatre later this month.
All writers will meet with the Script Space producer Carrie Rhys-Davies to discuss the needs of their play. This initial conversation will pave the way for the construction of a development plan for each of the scripts, which will be fulfilled between October 2012 and April 2013. Previous development opportunities have included script-in-hand readings, time in a rehearsal room with a director and performers and dramaturgy sessions. We are looking forward very much to sharing the outcomes of these processes with audiences along the way.
Keep reading for information about Script Spaces past…
The winner of Script Space IV was Martin Lytton for The Girl from Sparta Road. Set on two warring housing estates, Martin’s play is a kind Greek tragedy for the Skins generation. Lennie has left Sparta Road to be with her new boyfriend. Her old gang are having none of it and will come after her to bring her back, no matter what. It’s a tale of choice versus inescapable destiny from the age of bronze told in the age of silicone, and it was chosen from more than 300 submissions.
“I was tremendously excited to be shortlisted for the Script Space 2011 Prize, and for a minute, when they announced that I had won, it didn’t quite connect - can that really be me? Of course one hopes, but writing is a business which involves many pitfalls, many stunted expectations. But not this time. Winning this prize, and having the chance to have my work shown in some form in collaboration with the marvellous Tobacco Factory Theatre, will be a step further along the road to independence.” Martin Lytton, Script Space 2011 winner
Tobacco Factory Theatre Director, Ali Robertson, said: “Martin’s script stood out straight away. It’s hugely ambitious in scope and vision and we’re excited to have discovered such an original new voice.”
Three plays made it through to the final, from a shortlist of just ten whittled down from over 300 submissions. In second place was Digits, a slick and fast-paced black comedy with a great central double act and compelling unreliable narrator, by Berlin-based journalist Tamsin Walker. Highly commended was The Kittens in the Bag by London-based playwright Kitty MacDonald.
Script Space Coordinator, Sophie Lomax, thought this year was particularly tough to shortlist due to the high standard of submissions. “Getting it down to the final three was agonising. The quality of writing this year was outstanding and we feel really lucky to have found two so very different and very promising plays that we want to develop further.”
The Tobacco Factory Theatre’s forum for the development of new writing has gone from strength to strength since its inception four years ago. So far the initiative has worked with over twenty emerging and established writers, bringing their new plays before an audience for the first time. Script Space 2011 took place in collaboration with Bristol Festival of Ideas and realised a new capacity for and commitment to bespoke development opportunities for new and emerging writers. In Autumn 2011 we produced a run of lunchtime performances of Tamsin Walker’s play, Digits, one of the finalists in Script Space 4, and carried out a week of development work on The Girl from Sparta Road with director Lee Lyford and students from City of Bristol College.
The Script Space results were announced at the Bristol Festival of Ideas Book of the Year prize-giving. Introducing the evening’s events, BFI’s director Andrew Kelly talked about both organisations’ commitment to new writing and expressed excitement about the future of the collaboration, which will continue into 2012. The evening’s panel discussion of this year’s short-listed titles was preceded by a presentation of an extract from Digits, giving audiences a taster of what to look forward to in future months.
Read the Script Space IV blog.
Script Spaces past…
Script Space 2009
We received over 200 submissions to our Script Space 2009 competition and 4 of these received rehearsed readings here at the Tobacco Factory:
This Things of Darkness by Emma Spurgin Hussey, dir. Emma Earle
Water’s Not So Thick by Gill Kirk, dir. Alan Coveney
Doggerland by Debbie Kent, dir. Sam Berger
The American Hotel by Jacqueline McCarrick, dir. Andrew Hilton
Script Space 2010
This season’s 3 Script Space rehearsed readings were selected from over 250 submissions.
Zulu Wedding by Joseph Wilde
Nice Little Fortress by Stella MacDonald
A double bill of unsettling revelations and confounded expectations.
Dry Spell by Phil Booth
The once-arable land is awash, government help is nowhere to be seen: is this the end of a way of life for the farmers of Lancashire’s Mere?
Ache by Gareth Jandrell
The Most Beautiful Man in the World by Katherine Mitchell
Beatle’s Big Date by Annie Franklin
Cry by Andrew Scott
This bundle of love stories, break-up stories and don’t-want-to-be-alone stories all tackle the thrills and miseries of romance head-on and question what it is we really want.