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West Yorkshire Playhouse enters new writing partnership with University of Leeds

Alice O’Grady, Robin Hawkes, University of Leeds vice chancellor Alan Langlands, James Brining and Garry Lyons celebrate the new deal Alice O’Grady, Robin Hawkes, University of Leeds vice chancellor Alan Langlands, James Brining and Garry Lyons celebrate the new deal
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West Yorkshire Playhouse has signed a deal with the University of Leeds that aims to encourage the development of new theatre writing.

The university’s MA writing for performance and publication course will be linked with the Playhouse’s own new writing schemes to encourage crossover between the two.

In addition, both organisations have signed an agreement “to develop further projects with regional, national and international impact” over the next three years.

WYP executive director Robin Hawkes claimed the deal had “huge potential” for the university and the theatre.

He said: “We are delighted to be formalising the long-standing relationship between the School of Performance and Cultural Industries and the Playhouse’s talent development work on new writing.”

The partnership follows discussions between WYP artistic director James Brining and Garry Lyons, the programme leader of the Masters course, who also wrote the theatre’s 2009 adaptation of The Secret Garden.

Alice O’Grady, head of the university’s school of PCI, described the agreement as “a significant step forward in building a more solid relationship with West Yorkshire Playhouse”.

“The link will not only benefit current staff and students but will extend into the future as Leeds establishes itself as a city committed to the development of new writing for the theatre,” she added.

Earlier this year Zodwa Nyoni – a graduate from the writing for performance and publication course – was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for female dramatists for her play Boi Boi is Dead.

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