A new script-reading company has been launched with the aim of making dramaturgy more accessible to playwrights at all levels.
Directors and dramaturgs Tamar Saphra and Tommo Fowler, who have read scripts for theatres including the National, Royal Court, Almeida and Bush, are behind the venture.
The organisation, called RoughHewn, aims to address the “challenge UK theatres face in providing direct feedback to playwrights submitting unsolicited scripts” by offering an “affordable service to help bridge the gap”.
Saphra said: “We founded RoughHewn to enable us to work directly with playwrights via a dramaturgical process that puts their aims and intentions at its heart, as well as to demystify theatres’ unsolicited submissions processes.
“We want to empower writers, to support them in getting their stories to their most clearly articulated next stage.”
Fowler added: “Our mission is simple: to make dramaturgy accessible to all, especially to playwrights without the support of a building or experienced network of peers. This can happen at any point in the work’s development: sometimes it’s about getting a script ready for production, but often it’s about exploring and refining the potential of an initial idea – digging down deeply into what’s really important to writers, then helping them express it theatrically and with clarity.”
RoughHewn will charge a standard fee of £85 to cover reading the play, a face-to-face meeting and an email outlining next steps, with the fee based on the Equity minimum pay rate for directors for six hours of work.
There is a £10 discount for online meetings, and other pricing options are available depending on the writer’s needs.
However the company has said it “will not let money be a barrier for dramaturgical support” and has urged anyone who cannot afford the fee but would like to use the service to let them know.
RoughHewn is also currently seeking funding to subsidise the cost of its services.
Arts journalist Holly Williams will work alongside Saphra and Fowler as a consulting associate, providing additional reads and feedback.