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Development scheme for musical writers in Manchester and Scotland launched

The Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Awards are run by the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and were set up by playwright Mark Ravenhill. The Beam Follow-Spot Programme will provide monthly writers’ labs for participants
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A development programme for emerging musical theatre writers has been created for artists in Scotland and Manchester.

Organisers of the scheme said the areas had been selected because of the “incredible amount of talent” that exists there, who did not previously have access to any initiatives.

The year-long scheme, called the Beam Follow-Spot Programme, has been created by Mercury Musical Developments and Musical Theatre Network, and will give each participant monthly ‘writers’ labs’ – masterclasses with industry professionals and the opportunity to share their work.

Victoria Saxton, executive director of MMD, said: “The Beam Follow-Spot Programme is part of our ongoing mission to develop the new British musical theatre writing landscape.

“Beam Follow-Spot was designed to fulfil a gap we noticed when visiting Scotland and Manchester for the pitching days for BEAM 2018 – our industry showcase of new work. We were astonished by the talent we saw, but realised there was no sustained development infrastructure in place for new musical theatre writers – despite the brilliant work of local theatres.”

She added that she hoped the scheme would go some way to “providing the support that writers of new musical theatre need”.

Successful writers on the scheme include Vikki Stone, James Baker and Ben Richards in Manchester, and Finn Anderson and Shonagh Murray in Scotland.

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