So I'm involved in an emerging playwrights' mentoring scheme up north, based at ARC Theatre Stockton, where some inspiring people (namely Exec Director Annabel Turpin and Programme Manager Becci Sharrock) are pioneering opportunities for new playwrights in a region where there are next to none.
The Arcade writers' group was successful in a bid to ACE earlier this year, for funds to pay for a programme of mentoring and workshops, and I was approached to help match each writer to an industry mentor. I'm proud to say that we have got some great people on board, among them Viv Franzmann, Roy Williams, Alexandra Wood, Anders Lustgarten, Stella Feehily, Ali Taylor and Kenny Emson.
There's just one problem.
It turns out the Arcade scheme ACE budget pays for us, and for the writers’ expenses to travel and stay in London, but it does not include a fee for the writers to write their actual plays. All of the writers are at the stage of having day jobs and writing in the evenings and weekends, so they are trying to raise a shared pot to buy them all a bit of time to properly dedicate to the task in hand, to allow them to make the most of this opportunity. They have very proactively started a crowdfunding campaign and I have said I would try to help promote it for them.
The link to the campaign donation page is here. A few of the writers have also written heartfelt blog posts about what being part of this scheme means to them (which also serve as compelling reasons to donate). You can read those here, here and here.
If you can pitch in, even a little bit, it would be hugely appreciated. I'm optimistic that in time, what Annabel and Becci have started up in Stockton could be the beginning of a movement of new writing from a seriously under-represented region on the nation's stages.
This is your chance to help make that happen.