Seeking budding BME playwrights

New Black Showcase - Critical Mass-2011 by Paul Blakemore

New Black Showcase - Critical Mass-2011 by Paul Blakemore

Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre is looking for 20 budding writers to take part in its free Critical Mass playwriting programme specifically for writers from Black and Minority Ethnic Communities.

Initially launched at the Royal Court Theatre, the country’s leading theatre for new writing, and in association with The Drum, Birmingham, Critical Mass is an 11 week introduction to playwriting programme for writers aged 18 and above from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities.

Unfortunately the programme is no longer running at The Drum but it is now entering its third year at the Belgrade where it is an integral part of the theatre’s ongoing aim to provide opportunities to develop the full range of voices from Coventry’s diverse communities.

As part of the Critical Mass programme participants will take part in weekly workshops which will include writing exercises, group discussion and reading plays, as well as tips, tools and advice from a tutor. Participants may also have the chance to see some Belgrade productions and listen to guest speakers and playwrights. At the end of the course the participants will have written their own full length play.

Leon Phillips, Drama Worker (BME) at the Belgrade said, “This is a great opportunity for people from the local BME community to discover and develop talents they never knew they had. The programme has already helped to develop not only the writing skills, but also the confidence, of around 60 people and has provided them with opportunities they may not have had otherwise. I’m really proud to be a part of the programme and am really looking forward to welcoming the new participants.”

Previous Critical Mass programmes have been met with great success among participants. Bola Agbaje, who wrote her play Gone Too Far during the programme, said: “Critical Mass has changed my life.”

At the end of the last Critical Mass programme some of the participants got to see and hear their finished plays being read out loud on stage by professional actors in The New Black Showcase.

People wishing to apply for Critical Mass may submit up to 10 pages of writing intended for performance. This does not have to be a full piece of work, it can take the form of a few scenes, but it should be the most gripping part of the story.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 30 June. All submissions should be sent to Leon Phillips, Belgrade Theatre, Belgrade Square, Coventry, CV1 1GS. For more information, contact Leon Phillips on lphillips@belgrade.co.uk or call 024 7684 6712.

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