HighTide has announced the 12 writers chosen as part of a special programme to support playwrights during the coronavirus crisis.
Travis Alabanza, Jack Bradfield, Sophie Ellerby and Kelly Jones are among the writers taking part in the Playwright Crisis Support Programme, which will offer bespoke training and mentorship from playwrights such as Nick Payne, Vinay Patel and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm.
The scheme is intended to help the selected writers explore the future of theatre and how the pandemic is shaping performance possibilities.
Other writers chosen for the programme include Kat Rose Martin, Caitlin McEwan, Tonderai Munyevu, Michelle Sewell, AC Smith, Hayley Wareham, Martha Watson Allpress and John Webber.
The Suffolk-based organisation launched its Covid-19 artist support programme in March, opening a series of talent development schemes and a script-reading service for all UK playwrights.
It has now announced a new submission window for the service, with playwrights able to send in work until June 3.
Scripts will be read by HighTide’s associate artists, while writers will be able to select the reader for their play "to help ensure artists from minority backgrounds have their work considered by truly diverse and representative world-class talent".
Priority will be given to writers based in the East of England or writers from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Alongside this, HighTide is launching a new playwright’s network, which will be open to any writers participating in its programmes during lockdown to help build connections between individuals and with industry figures.
Since lockdown began, 150 people have engaged with HighTide’s dedicated support programmes, and artistic director Suba Das said the company would continue working to "demystify the challenges our sector now faces, and ensure as many writers can keep working and making in our new landscape".
He said: "As we have travelled through the evolving experience of this crisis, we at HighTide have been especially concerned that emerging freelance writers, and especially those from diverse or low-income backgrounds, have been isolated from the conversation about what happens next to the creative industries in the UK."
HighTide’s annual theatre festival will not take place in 2020 due to Covid-19, and the next scheduled event is planned for 2021.