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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Patrick Graham

Liverpool theatre offers aspiring writers a platform

A scheme run by Liverpool's Everyman and Playhouse Theatres that helps aspiring writers have their plays showcased in a professional setting in their Playhouse Studio.

The Everyman Playhouse Developing Talent Scheme and their New Works project reopened in 2021 and use the Playhouse Studio as a space to support local emerging artists. The studio area is used for research and development of scripts where local emerging writers and companies can showcase their writing.

The programme so far has included performances of work from their playwrights programme from various local organisations. Next up is a story about fatherhood called ‘Proud Daddy’ on March 25 and 26 - written by Toxteth writer, Chase Johnston Lynch.

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Chase told the ECHO : "I want to thank the Everyman and Playhouse for this fantastic opportunity to participate in their New Works programme. This is my first play.

"Its been an exciting time working all week for production to start. I look forward to more opportunities in the future".

'Proud Daddy' New Works writer Chase Johnston Lynch outside the Playhouse Theatre (Image: Chase Johnston Lynch) (Chase Johnston Lynch)

The Playhouse Studio is funded by Granada and allows artists to develop work in a supported environment. They offer various things for different shows and can be a launchpad to their main stage and touring nationally.

Their New Works department is headed by Francesca Peschier, who is responsible for meeting agents, overseeing budgets for research and development, watching rehearsals and providing feedback and more.

A Playwrights Development Programme works closely with their New Works project team helping writers hone their playwriting skills and knowledge. Each year up to eight writers are taken on their free programme. The next one opens in September for 2022/23.

Francesca is described as the beating heart of the New Works department which uses the studio, a space exclusively reserved for new work from local theatre makers. It seats about 70 people and they can provide technical support, lighting, stage management, marketing and casting depending on individual needs.

David Loy and Sinead Renaye in 'Proud Daddy' rehearsals (Image: Kai Jolley) (Kai Jolley)

Francesca said: "The New Works side of our talent development is about finding work for our main stage and about supporting the artistic ecology of Liverpool more broadly. We want to see Merseyside artists shine locally, nationally and internationally beyond our venue.

“That means different things for different shows and sometimes it can be a major launchpad. Y'MAM b y Majid Mehdizadeh, began as a studio scratch before playing on the main stage, and is now touring nationally including at Soho Theatre”.

She added: "Whilst we’re excited about all the artists and work we platform in the studio it must remain a place for learning, risk and a place to fail. You don't learn without doing and the principal benefit is that it allows us to support artists who may have been hiring or working in fringe venues to get their work in a professional venue in front of an audience".

Applicants must be 18 plus and have some experience of writing for the stage, but not necessarily a full production. For information visit the Everyman & Playhouse website.

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