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Bush overhauls new writing policy

Madani Younis. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
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Bush Theatre artistic director Madani Younis has announced an overhaul of the London venue’s new writing policy.

The company currently runs a policy where a playwright can submit an unsolicited play to the Bush at any time via the theatre’s digital platform Bushgreen and the theatre commits to reading it. However, speaking this week at the RADAR 2012 event, Younis complained that this meant the theatre was “panning for gold in too wider a river with too small a pan”. He said the conversion rate to full production was less that 0.1% and it was costing the venue £20,000 per year.

Instead, from next year, Younis said a new system would be introduced whereby the company will run a seasonal call for submissions, twice a year for two windows of three weeks each.

He explained: “It will be open to playwrights, solo writer/ performers and companies who are developing new writing in the early stages of their careers, that are un-represented (and that have had a maximum of one professional production of their work staged). It will seek to discover original plays and projects that haven’t been produced nor developed before. Most importantly, it will look for playwrights and artists that the Bush Theatre wants to develop for the future.”

After each submission window a group of applicants will be selected to be mentored by a specific artist or company and invited to attend a weekend long workshop at the theatre. Following the workshop, a selected group of playwrights and companies will be given a seed commission to further develop their submitted play or project, or to develop a new one from scratch.

Younis added that from 2014, the Bush would commit to produce at least one solicited submission ever year for its main programme. The current system will close to submissions on November 23, with the first window under the new scheme opening on April 2, 2013.