20 November 2009

Are you a Scots Shakespeare hidden in the wings?

Just in case anyone among my readership are bashful but budding writers, I wanted to draw your collective attention to the Open.Stage Playwriting Competition being run by Glasgow’s Tron Theatre.

Open to all folk living in Scotland or of Scots stock loitering in the rest of the British Isles over the age of 18, the competition invites a synopsis of the proposed theatrical yarn and 20-odd pages of your writing to give the judges a sense of your capacity to realise the proposed material. After the closing date at
5pm on Friday 18th of December, the three submissions determined to be the nattiest by a panel of Scottish theatre’s high heid yins will go forward as finalists. The three playwrights will be given £2,000 and mentored as they coax the little shoots of their plays into full flower. Bringing the competition into the digital age – and encouraging public participation – the three finalists will then have to film a trailer of their would-be bit of art, which the common footsoldiers of the stalls will vote on, with an eye to its theatrical interest to them. The winner of this vote will then be professionally staged by the Tron Theatre Company as the flagship production of their Autumn 2010 season. The disappointed pair will also get a rehearsed read-through of their material at the Tron – and I imagine, if they’re worth the effort, the plays will have a good chance of catching the eye of one of big fishes that slap about in Scotland’s small arty pond. The small print also reveals that the winner will receive the not-unreasonable sum of £6,560 for his or her labours.

Sitting in judgement over the synopses are Andy Arnold, Artistic Director of the Tron, Jay Smith, well-known actor Peter Mullan, Vicky Featherstone who is Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, Janice Forsyth from off the tranny, Davids Greig & Harrower, successful playwrights, Keith Bruce arts hack for the Herald and Julie Ellen of the Playwrights’ Studio Scotland, based in the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. It is a competition of amazing potential and significant possibility. Any among you with a dramatic and literary bent who get an itch and consider giving it a go – I’d strongly encourage you to enter. As a lethargic, slothsome sort of person myself, it is all too easy to see these little possibilities pass one by, without even dignifying them with a stab. The excuses are pretty thin since for this competition, you don’t have to mint a perfectly pitched 90 minute performance – only a inspirational précis and a series of brisk vignettes.

For any whose interest is piqued, all the relevant information can be found on the Tron website here.

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