Vicky Graham, 27 January 2013

Session called by: Vicky Graham

Session attended by: Lucy Avery, Abi Anderson, Rebecca Manson Jones, Mark

James Manghan, Alison Goldie, Dick Bonham, Alex Swift, Steven Rayner, Tom

Morton-Smith, Ed Errington, Dan Barnard, Ellis Kerkhoven, Hugh Chapman, Julia

Good, Nicola Stanhope, Lucy Allan, Grace Gummer


This session was originally called “New Writing: Who Cares? (I Do) New Models For

Getting It On” and came from:

- an impression (unproven, unresearched) that the well-made play is going out of


- a fear that (as Fin Kennedy's “Challenge Ed Vaizey” research findings may prove /

disprove) that the impact of funding cuts on new writing won't be seen for ten years,

but will be fatal

- a concern that the newest writers and the biggest / bravest plays aren't being


- a hope that I, as an independent producer, can be more nimble and more creative in

finding ways to get the good stuff on

The discussion was very ideas- and suggestion-focused, and included:

- Agreement that there is space for a Paines Plough-meets-Fuel model with dynamic

producers (like Fuel's) producing plays independently of buildings (like Paines

Plough). What would those producers need? Endorsement from a larger organisation

would help, e.g. National Theatre gave seal of approval and operated box office for

PP's Roundabout Season

- We need to make the well-made play sexy again and shout about new plays by

playwrights (as opposed to artists / companies from other disciplines). Audiences

haven't yet caught up with the fact that non-traditional methods of making are being

prioritised. They still love scripts (said one audience member).

- We'd prefer to see new writing competitions renamed as submissions seasons or

similar (accepting that a focused period of reading is easier for venues / organisations,

but removing the language of “winners” and “losers”)

- Can we produce new plays site-specifically? Yes, but the concern is about how

audiences find a new play in a venue that's also “new”.

- Do we need to leave London? Possibly. There are some good networks emerging

thanks to touring and regional funding priorities (see Actions)

- Should there be a new venue? No, because of the overheads and because of

competition in a saturated marketplace.

- We need to develop networks for distribution of scripts and audience-sharing.

- People mourned the loss of the New Playwrights Trust and Writers' Network as

invaluable information sources and networks.

- Following one Verity Bargate Award, there was a showcase of readings of the “best

of the rest” out of which many went on to have productions by the organisers and by

others. This could be replicated.

- All felt that new writing organisations and literary managers would be receptive to an

approach from able producers saying “let us produce your ‘unproduceable’ plays”.

There's loads out there they'd love to see on.


- Research: Strategic Touring Network, Touring North and Producing North - all of

which are about promoting partnerships, collaboration and co-ordination

- Ensure our mailing lists have an opt-in (or, better, opt-out) tick box for sharing

contact details, and agree to swap data for targeted marketing to interested audiences

- Vicky to consult with organisations and individuals mentioned including NT Studio,

Sarah Dickenson, David Lane (Bristol Writers' Forum), The Last Refuge, The Yard, the

Young Vic, Indhu Rubasingham at the Tricycle, Parabola Arts, David Byrne at the New


- Vicky to reflect on need, desire and ability to create this new entity, identify partners

and report back.

- Others to reflect on whether they / people they know might revive a WriterNet-type

network and / or information pool.

- SPEAK UP in defense of new plays and playwrights and HELP EACH OTHER!


Artistic Policy, new writing, Touring, New writing, Venues, Collaboration, Literary

Managers, London, touring, venues, collaboration, london, Producing, producing