Lucy Avery, 10 January 2016

Amy, Marianne, Mary, Laurence and 1 other person came to this session.

We started talking about what may be stopping female writers submitting their pieces:

Inner voice of criticism is too strong: my play's not good enough, my play's not ready…

I talked about the workshop I went to with Papa Tango where they talked about how

they developed the award winning play Tom Cat and how, actually, they don't need

the perfect play submitted, just one that has potential and a story they like. Your play

doesn't have to be the best it can be when you send it in. Some directors will work with

you to make the play the better. Maybe this kind of information is worth putting in the

call out for scripts?

Other comments were:

Society is built for male voices

How really open is the call? Sometimes writers are dubious about this.

Is the person giving the call a venue or a director I'm interested in working in?

Where are these open calls? If you tweet it, is that the right platform?

We then moved onto why you might submit to a particular director and not to others:

You might research the person before you submit. Does your work fit with their work?

Should you scratch your work before sending it in to a director? Is it worth going out

and finding a director to scratch your work or meeting directors through scratching? Is

it more possible to get a commission that way?

Commissions start from relationships.

Bold text creative are a group of writers in the midlands who've got together to

produce their own work -could writers be more active like this and start relationships

with directors in this way?

Mary (a director at Proteus) said that she meets more male than female writers

networking… do women have more demands on their time (if they have a family), are

they getting out and networking?

We then talked about how to network (which affects both men and women).

Laurence's tips for networking like a man:

After seeing a show he will find the director and talk in the bar with them.

He will also just email directors who's work he's seen or who he likes and will send

them his work.

We also heard that some theatres have football teams where writers and directors

meet, some directors are known for hanging out at certain bars.

We then heard about an initiative already in place:

There's a facebook group in the west midlands called ‘theatre cuppa’ where a director

will say that they'll be in a theatre cafe or bar before a show and they'll wear a

carnation and then any writer who'd like to just come and have a chat (not pitch to

them just have an informal chat about their work) can come and find them to talk.

Could this be a possible model for independent directors to meet writers?

We then talked about if we could run a campaign to get more women submitting


If we were going to run a campaign around getting female writers to Just Hit Send or

something, BBC's get creative campaign is looking for stories and articles could a

campaign around getting women submitting scripts actually be part of this?

Should we have a national novel writing month for plays?

Another question that was asked by another director (outside the session) who didn't

actually have this problem when she did an open call for scripts a few years ago was

that after a female writer wins an award you don't often hear what happens next in that

that writer's career. Why is that? We then discussed that maybe these women writers

aren't as visible than their male counter parts and maybe we need to raise the profile

of these women's careers to then have more female writing role models for other

female writers to follow.

Are plays by women not being produced at a big enough scale so we don't fully see

the women who are succeeding? Is there an opportunity to get personal experience

stories from successful women playwrights to break down the barriers for female

writers in getting their writing out there?


1. Find how big a problem this is.

Can we find out demographics of well-known theatres for their submissions? Would

Lucy Kerbel's Tonic have stats on this?

2. Find directors who are looking for scripts (is this something that's more of a problem

for independent directors?) and create an informal networking opportunity for writers

and directors. Research ‘Theatre cuppa’ and set up a scheme like this?

3. Could GAP Salon hold a session about pitching and marketing for writers to help

writers who have low confidence in networking?


New work, directors, Writing, writing, Directing, Women, new work, women,

networking, Directors, plays, Plays, Networking, directing