Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I have an announcement.

I've been appointed Associate Artist at Tamasha Theatre Company. It's a great new artist-led scheme which they were advertising for at the end of last year. They wanted a playwright and a filmmaker, and it was a pretty open brief which allowed us to say what we would use the opportunity to do.

Those of you who pay attention to these things will know that Tamasha is the UK's leading theatre company specialising in developing stories and artists from the Asian diaspora. Mulberry School, where I have been writer-in-residence for the past four years, also has a 94% British Asian student population due to its location in Tower Hamlets, east London.

So I put in a joint application with Mulberry's filmmaker in residence Tanya Singh, to run a pilot scheme linking up the two organisations between February and May this year. It seemed like a natural fit, and I'm really chuffed that both companies have decided to give it a punt.

My idea is to run an attachment scheme for playwrights, where about 8 of them will be recruited to come into the school and spend some time doing some focused sessions with a small group of students, alumni and staff, with a view to developing a 10-15min new play for performance at a Tamasha scratch night in May. The course will be overseen and dramaturged by me, as well as involving some sessions from Tanya on multimedia techniques and their potential for live performance. She'd also use film and media exercises to get students to document some of their home lives and bring it in for the writers to see. (Tanya's a bit of a genius at all this and I'm really excited she'll be working with us.)

The background to all this is about the next stage in the evolution of the extra-curricular theatre work going on at Mulberry. Each year we've added something new, and expanded our ambitions. The first year just taking a show to the Edinburgh Festival was enough. In 2008 we added stage management and design opportunities. In 2009 there were also radio and filmmaking apprenticeships, and we won a Fringe First. Then last year we held our own festival in London and had all four of the plays published by Nick Hern Books. What next?

I think that next is to start to broker some new relationships for the school with other writers, and also professional theatre companies. My ambition is, eventually, for Mulberry to become a 'training school' for playwrights who want to get experience working in this way. (God knows any formalised training of this kind is hard to come by - but in my experience it can massively enrich a writer's craft.)

The school is also having its own studio theatre built on site this year, and after May will be looking for writers to develop work on a longer term basis for its opening season. The theatre will be east London's newest performing arts space, so it's a timely point to start to open things up.

Anyway, this pilot scheme is, I hope, the first step in starting to achieve some of this. If you know any writers who might be interested, do send them in this direction. The official ad is going out today, I reproduce it below. (There is also a full brief and application forms available by emailing Tamasha.)

Tamasha Theatre Company in collaboration with Mulberry School for Girls in east London is inviting applications for 8 playwrights for a pilot attachment scheme running February - May 2011.

This is an opportunity to create a new piece of writing and develop practical workshop skills in a school environment.

The scheme will be overseen and dramaturged by Mulberry playwright-in-residence and Tamasha Associate Writer, Fin Kennedy. There will also be input from Tamasha Associate Filmmaker Tanya Singh, including the opportunity to develop multimedia performance ideas.

This is a unique opportunity to develop a relationship with both companies, learn some practical workshop skills from experienced practitioners, and develop a new piece of writing (10-15 mins long) for and about a specific inner London community. A small bursary and some training will be provided.

For the full brief and application forms please email admin@tamasha.org.uk or contact Felicity at the office on 020 7633 2270.

Open to artists from all cultural backgrounds.
Deadline for applications: Monday 31st January at 5pm

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