India has a long and vibrant storytelling tradition. Yet at the turn of the century, as far as the backbone of theatre – the script – goes, very few writers were writing plays and even fewer were doing so as a profession or in a dedicated manner. In 2003, Rage productions approached Paul Smith the then Director West India at British Council with a proposal to build capacity for playwriting in India. The latter got in touch with Royal Court Theatre – UK’s home of new writing – and ten years and three editions later, there has been a drastic change on the playwriting front in India.
Jindal Steel Works (JSW) hosted the first residential workshop at their farmhouse at Vasind near Nasik in Maharashtra, where aspiring playwrights worked closely with trainers from the Royal Court to develop both their skill and style.
After a second round of workshops, nine amazingly fresh, new, original scripts emerged. Since the soul of a script resonates on stage, these workshops led to India’s first festival of original Indian playwriting – Writer’s Bloc – where the scripts developed at the workshop were performed. New, young, contemporary voices now had a platform through which their stories could be told. The theatre community now had the beginnings of new work that could be produced, created, and called their own.
This unique theatre programme discovers, trains, and presents exciting new playwrights by putting the script at the centre of the theatre-making process. Since 2002, the project has uncovered 32 new playwrights to produce 32 exciting contemporary plays. The sourcing and training of the playwrights, and the festival that follows, is a collaborative effort between the British Council, Royal Court Theatre, UK and Rage Productions.
A call for applications is sent out encouraging aspiring and amateur playwrights to submit their draft scripts in any language. These are then screened by Rage productions and the most appropriate are sent to Royal Court.
The Court then chooses the 10 writers whom they feel have the potential to grow and develop.
The first two week residential workshop takes place at the JSW guesthouse with Royal Court trainers and participants.
Playwrights work on the first draft of a new play for six months after which these drafts are sent to the Royal Court for their comments.
A second two week residential workshop takes place where these scripts are further developed with Royal Court tutors.
The writers then go home rethink, rewrite and submit their final drafts to Rage productions. They look for suitable directors and production houses who are willing to work with new writers. Once the teams are in place, work on the Writers’ Bloc festival begins.
Writer's Bloc 4 - Call for applications!
32 playwrights have emerged with 32 exciting new plays over the last three editions.
With 100 shows over three festivals, the Writer’s Bloc legacy continues into its fourth edition.
Calling playwrights from all over India!
British Council and Rage once again bring the Royal Court Theatre, London, to town for Writer’s Bloc 4 – three development workshops for playwriting over two years culminating in a festival where the plays are performed for the first time on stage.
What do the workshops entail?
- Improving dialogue
- Fine tuning structure
- Character development
- Strengthening sub text
How to apply?
Send in a one-act or full-length play in any language to email@example.com.
15 playwrights will be chosen for the first two-week residential playwriting workshop at the JSW guest house near Hampi, this October.
For details call Rage at 9821050095.
Also follow: www.facebook.com/writersbloc3
Deadline: 15 June, 2014