A new writing programme for female playwrights, offering £1,000 seed commissions and support from writers including April De Angelis, has been launched by Sphinx Theatre.
The pilot writing programme, called Sphinx Lab, and the commissions have been announced to mark the company’s 30th anniversary.
Emerging to mid-career female playwrights can apply for one of 10 commissions by submitting a CV and an example of their work to Sphinx Theatre by June 15. Further opportunities are to be announced for mid-career to established female playwrights.
The 10 playwrights selected for the £1,000 seed commissions will also have the opportunity to take part in Sphinx Lab, which is designed to provide support and development for female playwrights.
Sphinx Lab will provide online support from established female playwrights, industry advice and the opportunity to write a new play with guidance, dramaturgy and mentoring.
Writing tutors on the lab will include De Angelis, Timberlake Wertenbaker, Sphinx Theatre literary director Jennifer Tuckett and Sphinx Theatre artistic director Sue Parrish.
A number of industry figures will also provide advice for participants of the scheme. They will include joint chief executive and executive chair of Trafalgar Entertainment Rosemary Squire, Barbican Centre head of theatre Toni Racklin, Watford Palace Theatre artistic director Brigid Larmour and Nottingham Playhouse chief executive Stephanie Sirr.
Parrish said: “As part of the 30th anniversary of Sphinx Theatre, we are delighted to launch the Sphinx Lab alongside partnerships with 15 leading theatres, which we will be announcing shortly.
“We hope this pilot will help contribute to changing the cultural landscape and supporting female playwrights in the UK.”
Sphinx literary director Jennifer Tuckett added: “In the current climate of the coronavirus crisis, we are pleased to be able to offer 10 £1,000 seed commissions for female playwrights, which we hope will provide support to 10 female playwrights as artists lose commissions and jobs in the current circumstances.
“Sphinx 30 will also pilot the Sphinx Lab, which we hope will become an important development programme for female playwrights in the UK, in a similar way to the WP (Women’s Project) Lab in America.”
The initiatives are supported with funding from Arts Council England’s project grants programme.