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Audible announces new batch of playwriting commissions as theatre plans advance

Elinor Cook. Photo: Richard Davenport Elinor Cook is among the writers commissioned by Audible. Photo: Richard Davenport
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Audible has announced a further push into creating new plays with a second commissioning drive for British and American theatre writers.

The $5 million (£3.9 million) emerging playwrights fund is the cornerstone in a wider plan to develop work for theatre, and the audiobook giant has said it will develop some of the commissioned audio plays for the stage.

Among the 10 playwrights selected to create new works for Audible listeners are Elinor Cook, who won the 2013 George Devine Award and was shortlisted for the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Award for Out of Love, and The Stage Edinburgh award winner Charlotte Josephine.

Actor and writer Charlotte Josephine: ‘UK theatre could do with being braver – it should be visceral’

Other selected writers include Christopher Chen, Carla Grauls and Mike Lew.

Audible, which is owned by Amazon, also confirmed that it is bringing Chisa Hutchinson’s Proof of Love – commissioned in the first emerging playwrights round – to the stage in New York this year.

It will run at the Off-Broadway Minetta Lane Theatre, becoming the first Audible-commissioned production to be adapted for live theatre audiences.

Audible said it would be exploring the possibility of adding a live stage component to other plays being created as part of the initiative.

It has already spoken of its intention to bring live theatre productions to the UK following a move into producing in the US with the Carey Mulligan-led Girls and Boys. It produced the New York transfer of Dennis Kelly’s play last year.

In addition to financial support, the selected playwrights will also receive resources such as dramaturgical expertise and workspace.

Audible Theater’s artistic producer Kate Navin said: “Audible’s newest class of playwrights is comprised of incredibly gifted creatives that are harnessing the power of voice to create theatre that can be enjoyed anywhere, anytime.

“Audible is committed to supporting the theatre community, cultivating great talent and helping to grow audiences. We can’t wait to introduce these extraordinary new works to millions of people worldwide.”

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