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Out of Joint rolls out scheme to find next generation of playwrights

Andrea Dunbar, the author of Rita, Sue and Bob Too Andrea Dunbar, the author of Rita, Sue and Bob Too
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Theatre company Out of Joint is to roll out a playwriting scheme for teenagers following a successful pilot last year, with the initiative giving participants the chance to have plays performed by professionals.

The Andrea Project, which aims to find the next Andrea Dunbar, is named after playwright who began her first play The Arbor when she was just 15 and wrote Rita, Sue and Bob Too at 19.

Last year eight young playwrights from London and Bolton received workshops from playwrights Rachel De Lahay and Laura Lomas and had their plays performed at the Royal Court alongside Out of Joint’s co-production of Rita, Sue and Bob Too.

This year eight teenage writers from Sheffield will receive training from actor and playwright Stacey Sampson. They will each write a play, which will be directed by Out of Joint’s artistic director Kate Wasserberg and performed by professional actors in a one-off showcase at Sheffield Theatres.

The free scheme will run alongside performances of Kate Bowen’s Close Quarters, Out of Joint’s co-production with Sheffield Theatres.

Next year Out of Joint plans to give a similar opportunity to teenagers in Northampton, while co-producing The Remains of the Day with Royal and Derngate Theatre.

Wasserberg said: “Rita, Sue and Bob Too, written by a teenager, connected with audiences all over the UK in the most extraordinary way. The Andrea Project is about finding more writers with stories to tell the nation, people who might otherwise go unnoticed or never even pick up a pen.”

Out of Joint is currently raising funds for the project and playwrights James Graham, Barney Norris and Elinor Cook have each donated a playwriting masterclass.

Norris said: “Discovering and nurturing new voices who can challenge the theatre to tell stories about more of the world is a crucial and profoundly rewarding part of working in this trade. The Andrea Project can be a machine for doing just that, with the appropriate dedication and resources.”

At the time of writing, Out of Joint had raised £500 of its £2,000 fundraising goal.

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