Papatango has launched WriteWest, a major playwriting programme across England’s South West.

It is entirely free for over 2000 artists, participants, and audiences, and will foster a new writing ecosystem across the UK’s largest region. It facilitates a region-wide network of venues, companies, and artists, to redress systemic weaknesses in provision, forge pathways to theatre, and create new plays and productions. WriteWest begins this month (May) and will run until April 2020.

As part of Papatango’s commitment to the region, WriteWest will provide a £6.5K commission for an early-stage playwright living in the South West to develop a new play, with mentoring and support from regional partners including Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Salisbury Playhouse, and Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre.

The commission will be open-application for playwrights across the region. The aim is to see the play ultimately produced within the region. Papatango will also run two free playwriting courses for 36 playwrights at the Barbican Theatre, Plymouth and Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Taunton – with an aim of fostering networks of writers and opening venues up as hubs for writers and audiences alike. This will culminate in a staged reading of one of the plays at each venue, completely free to local audiences.

As part of a new initiative for the company, WriteWest will also run an 8-month producing course, sharing knowledge of how to create new companies/infrastructure for new writing, culminating in 3 producers being awarded £3K each of seed funding towards productions of new plays within the region.

Based at partner venues including Theatre Royal Plymouth, Salisbury Playhouse and Nuffield Southampton Theatres, the course will help to develop a broader ecosystem for new writing, connect artists with producers, and invest in new independent productions.

In addition, WriteWest will deliver 18 free workshops in state schools across Gloucestershire, Hampshire, and Bristol, inspiring and teaching students to write their own plays, which will result in performances by professional actors and publication of the plays, with free copies for each student.

It will also deliver 12 free workshops (with access measures) for adults without professional experience, led by specialist practitioners, in Exeter, South Gloucestershire and Somerset, in partnership with Literature Works South West and the Libraries service.

Travel bursaries of £4.5K help people access these free programmes, in recognition of the scale of the region. Those on JSA or other state support and/or with access requirements will be prioritised.


Find out more on WriteWest here.