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Kudos and The Royal Court Theatre join forces to support emerging writing talent with innovative new writing fellowship


Three £10,000 bursaries offered to writers seeking support in getting their work developed and produced in theatre and television

Leading television production company Kudos and The Royal Court Theatre have come together to launch a unique writing fellowship to support emerging writing talent for both theatre and television.

Three writers will each be offered a £10,000 bursary, funded by Kudos, to enable them to focus purely on their writing for six months and during this time they will have the opportunity to be supported by The Royal Court Theatre and Kudos.

These fellowships are specifically aimed at writers already establishing a writing career, but who perceive barriers in getting their work developed and produced in theatre and television because of class, disability, education, ethnicity, gender identity, geography or any other barrier.

Martin Haines, Chief Operating Officer, Kudos said of the launch; “Television drama is booming and the demand for British scripted television has never been greater. To continue to connect with audiences and to deliver distinctive work, we need to nurture writing talent, surface untold stories and bring new and diverse stories to the fore. This fellowship is particularly exciting as it allows writers to take part in both theatre and television projects and allows us to begin relationships with writers we may not ordinarily have met.”

The three £10,000 bursaries will support writers for a period of six months from January 2019. During this time, they will be able to challenge and take part in the work of the Royal Court and Kudos. There will also be opportunities to see productions, meet other leading writers in theatre and television and have ongoing artistic conversations with staff at both organisations.

Diederick Santer, Chief Executive Officer Kudos commented; “I’m pleased that the writers on this scheme get access to and time with the teams at both the Royal Court and Kudos. Great emerging writers, and two best-in-class creative organisations – we will all be learning loads from each other.”

Applicants need to submit a theatre script and additional supporting information including details on why this opportunity would be life changing by 16th November 2018 (full entry detail included in notes to editors.)

All entries will be considered by a team of readers at the Royal Court who will create a longlist. These will then be read by a member of the Royal Court’s artistic team who will shortlist ten writers. This shortlist will be read by the Royal Court and Kudos teams and each writer will meet with key members of both organisations including Vicky Featherstone (Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre) and Sarah Stack (Head of Development, Kudos). The final three writers, considered most likely to make a significant contribution to theatre, TV and the cultural life of the UK and beyond, will then be selected.

Commenting on the opportunity writer Rachel De-lahay states;
“I had a full time job, a weekend job, shared a bed with my best mate and wrote in the evenings. It didn’t even occur to me there could be another way. Even when I was paid to write for the first time the money seemed so finite and I couldn’t trust it would come again. And when you have to pay rent with no support network a regular income is a necessity. To take that pressure away would be invaluable. I just wish there were more!”

Writer Stacey Gregg adds;
“Starting out as a writer is daunting for anyone, but the extra anxiety of being away from home and without a financial safety net can mean the difference between taking that risk or opportunity you might otherwise pass on. This bursary buys time and head space to get that draft written, to take meetings, to stop worrying about the next train fare, allowing you to build the connections and understanding of an industry that might otherwise remain behind a veil.

When I set out from university I was holding down three jobs and had no idea how to enter or behave in a professional environment. I slept on floors and wrote at night after work. My parents couldn’t help and I couldn’t explain. I was the first to go to university let alone show an interest in the arts. I got fired a lot. A lot. I blagged my way into meetings and then panicked about how I could deliver when the gig was unpaid or they expected you to access a printer or travel or take time off work or split the bill at some fancy restaurant. Knowing how to find guidance was a total mystery to me and there seemed so few other souls from my background. I felt like I couldn’t be coolly articulate about writing those voices I was most passionate about – working class Northern Irish – like I spoke in a different language to people who made decisions about commissioning, but that if I *wrote* it, people could *see* it. So that’s what I did. Writers write. Meetings were a clusterf**k for me until I’d written more, and that required time and confidence, and quite often that meant money. The first time a theatre sent me on a weeks writing retreat after I’d begged them to just fire me I cried the whole way on the bus and felt like a famous person. I am so heartened that a fellowship like this one might go some way to addressing these obstacles for some brilliant writers the world ought to know.”

Writer Dennis Kelly says;
“We often talk of the barriers that writers who are starting out encounter, but for many of us there are things to be overcome before we even start putting pen to paper. Whilst our theatre is in great shape, and there’s some fantastic work out there that’s genuinely pushing back boundaries, I do worry that if I were I to be starting out today I wouldn’t see myself reflected on our stage and I’d think ’that’s not the place for me’. This isn’t about rejecting the work of today, but if we want to ensure a plurality of voices we need to make a real and concerted effort to address the socio-economic hurdles that make potential playwrights self-select and edit themselves out of the story of our theatre. This bursary is certainly a step in the right direction – it’s something that will make a very real difference to three people who are out there right now, wondering whether they should continue.”

Writer Jack Thorne adds;
“I think every writer thinks their generation has it the hardest, that the generation before had chances or opportunities that they lacked, but I’ve got to say I think right now – at a time when we need new writing the most – breaking into the “arts” feels like an impossible task, particularly if you’re not able to be supported by the bank of Mum and Dad. I was lucky, my brother let me stay cheaply at his place in Croydon and I was able to get some teaching work, but even with that I got very good at knowing when the different supermarkets marked down their foods for the day. When I look at writing for theatre and TV – yes, I realise I’m part of the problem here – I do find the names I’m see become depressingly familiar. That’s the reason why these Kudos scholarships are so important – for writers not only who see barriers entering the profession, but barriers writing a little at all. These fellowships will bring vital new voices to the fore and let them sing whatever songs they want.”



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