The International programme of the London based Royal Court Theatre is a chance for emerging playwrights to receive professional assistance in writing and staging of a contemporary play as well as gaining wide international acclaim.
The Royal Court Theatre is known to be a worlds renowned experimental theatre and laboratory for New Writing. It has been working with playwrights all over the world for more then 20 years. Among the Ukrainians that had earlier a chance to collaborate with the Royal Court are Natasha Vorozhbyt, Maksim Kurochkin, Anna Yablonska.
In March 2011 the Royal Court programme for emerging playwrights was initiated by the British Council in Ukraine and Georgia. Through an open selection process there were identified seven Ukrainian and seven Georgian playwrights who in May 2011 started their collaboration with the Royal Court team.
Young playwrights took part in three joint project sessions with the Royal Theatre's team during the year and a half and were able to discuss their texts and improve them. You can find more details about these meetings in the Project Diary section.
Associate Director, the head of the Royal Court International Programme Elyse Dodgson, International Associate Caroline Steinbeis and Associate Director Simon Godvin, playwrights Nick Payne, April De Angelis and Rory Mullarkey, and director Ramin Grey were among those who were involved in the project during its various stages.
There is an agreement between the Royal Court theatre and the British Council to continue the programme for emerging playwrights from Ukraine. Details of the selection process and project working plans were offered for partners in Ukraine for negotiation.
If you are interested in finding out more about the project partnership, you should contact Anna Bubnova, Project and Partnerships Manager for the British Council in Ukraine: email@example.com
The announcement about the next stage of the project launch will appear on our Facebook and VKontakte pages and on the project partners' websites: THEATRE Portal and Drabyna art workshop.
As a result of the open competition a group of fourteen participants (seven from Ukraine, seven from Georgia) was formed, who started working with experienced Royal Court playwrights and directors. A knowledge of English language is not required at all stages.
The 1st stage of the programme is a one-week workshop led by two trainers-practitioners, usually two playwrights or a playwright and director. Participants will discuss topics which they think are important and need public attention. Then they will choose a topic for their future script which they will write in cooperation with the Royal Court. Around three months are allocated for writing the first draft of the play.
At the 2nd stage professional translators will advice participants on how to proceed with the plays and whether it's worth it. All the drafts will be also translated into English. Sometimes the actors are involved at this stage and the readings are organised. At the end of this stage participants continue working on their plays.
At the 3d stage new drafts are read again, they are evaluated and translated into English before the team comes together for the final work. At this stage public readings can be held. Sometimes participants cooperate with local directors who help to finalise the play.
Once the scripts are ready, there are several scenarios. Some playwrights might be invited to London to continue cooperation with the Royal Court and for the public readings. Other plays are likely to be staged in local theatres. Some scripts developed during the Programme, might be published as a standalone set of works for other British theatres.
Please note that most of foreign authors of the Royal Court have graduated from this programme or the Summer International Residence.
April De Angelis began her career in theatre as an actress in the 1980s. Her first play ‘Breathless’ was produced in 1987. Since then her work has been presented by every major British Theatre including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Court. Her fourth play for the Royal Court will be produced in October 2011 and her previous work for the Royal Court includes ‘Hush’ (1992) and ‘Wild East’ (2005) and ‘Catch’ (co-author, 2007). April was the previous director of the Masters Degree in Playwriting Studies at Birmingham University. She has led previous Royal Court workshops for the International Department in Latin America, the Middle East, India and Russia.
Nick Payne is a young playwright who won the prestigious George Devine Award in 2009 for his play ‘If There Is I Haven’t Found it Yet’ which was produced at the Bush Theatre in London. A former member of the Royal Court’s Young Writers Programme his play ‘Wanderlust’ was produced at the Royal Court in September 2010. His adaptation of ‘Electra’ is currently running at the Gate Theatre in London.
Elyse Dodgson has been on artistic team of the Royal Court since 1985 – first as Director of the Young People’s Theatre and since 1995 as Associate Director, Head of International Department. She was the first director of the International Summer School (now the Royal Court International Residency) which she started in 1989 and has produced the Royal Court Young Writers Festival (1985–91) and the International Season since 1997. Elyse has coordinated play development projects in many parts of the world including Brazil, Cuba, Nigeria, Uganda, Mexico, Palestine, Russia, Syria, and India. She has also edited five anthologies of international plays all published by Nick Hern Books, from Germany, Spain, Mexico and the Arab World. In 2010 she received an MBE for her contribution to ‘international theatre and young writers overseas.’
The Royal Court Theatre was founded in 1956. Right from the start, during the first theatre season, the theatre staged John Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger that transformed British theatre and became the symbol of the whole generation of playwrights of 60s to 80s, coined as ‘angry young men’.
During the mid. 90s the Royal Court encouraged the development of so-called ‘new writing’. Mark Ravenhill, Sarah Kane, Martin McDonagh made their first appearance at the Royal Court stage, and their work heavily influenced the contemporary European theatre. Royal Court directors collaborated with leading British playwrights from Robert Bolt and Harold Pinter to Caryl Churchill and David Hare, allowing first experiments in verbatim theatre at the end of 80s.
Initially founded as a repertory theatre to be specialised in both contemporary and classic drama, the last ten years the Royal Court has been mainly working with innovative and emerging writers. It was an absolutely logical decision as for quite a long time the Theatre has been known as a laboratory for new drama. During its regular season the Royal Court has 15–10 premiers of the newly developed work. The plays for the theatre are written by five dozen regular writers, while the theatre’s literary department annually considers more then 300 plays sent to the company from throughout the world.
Over the last 20 year the Royal Court has been facilitating international work at a grass roots level, developing exchanges which bring young writers to Britain and sending British writers, actors and directors to work with artists overseas.