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Belgrade Theatre seeks black writers for Critical Mass scheme

New Black Showcase 2011. Photo: Paul Blakemore Belgrade Theatre’s New Black Showcase in 2011. Photo: Paul Blakemore
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Black, asian, and ethnic minority playwrights are being sought for the return of Belgrade Theatre’s Critical Mass new-writing programme.

Twenty places will be available for up-and-coming writers on the free 10-week course, which aims to champion and develop the talent of ethnic groups underrepresented in theatre writing.

A small number of writers on the programme will also have their work performed at rehearsed readings at the theatre’s New Black Showcase series, which it programmes alongside the course.

In March, former participant Liz Mytton became the first Critical Mass alumnus to have her play professionally produced at the Belgrade, when the venue staged Red Snapper, starring Cathy Tyson.

Mytton said she had been writing for several years before she took the course, but “never managed to complete anything to a decent standard”.

She explained: “I seriously doubted I would ever finish a play and lacked confidence in my abilities. Critical Mass changed all that. It provided me with the support of other developing writers, in a safe space to share my ideas and concerns.”

Belgrade associate director Justine Themen claimed the programme had inspired “a truly diverse pool of writers” and attracted people “who previously would never have considered writing for the stage”.

She went on: “2016 represents a landmark year in the evolution and development of Critical Mass with the premiere of Liz Mytton’s Red Snapper.

“I hope that writers from across Coventry and the wider UK will be inspired by Liz’s experience and the benefits that taking part in the programme can bring, both professionally and personally.”

This will be the fifth time the Critical Mass programme has run since its launch in 2004 at the Royal Court in London.

Applications are now open, and more information can be found on the Belgrade Theatre website.

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