Interval thoughts: Welcome to PlayMakers 29/05/2020

“New plays are the lifeblood of theatre and playwrights its beating heart.”

Last week, Box of Tricks launched our PlayMakers Network for Northern playwrights. We want to connect playwrights and theatremakers at this time of disconnection and send a clear message that you’re not alone.

With theatres shut for the foreseeable future, and uncertainty hanging over the industry, we’ve postponed productions for 2020 and reimagined the year ahead. We’ve tried to adapt to changing needs and the challenges before us. A crisis focuses the mind and highlights priorities so we’re doubling-down on our commitment to playwrights. How can we forge a sense of community at a time of crisis? How can we support those artists who fuel our creative fires? How can we come together to collectively build a better future?

We hope the PlayMakers Network will go some way towards offering a response to those provocations. A lot of the ideas that have fed into the programme have been bubbling beneath the surface long before the corona-crisis. We listened to playwrights at our PlayBox Takeover: Writers’ Breakfast at HOME back in January and those conversations have shaped our thinking. Our Pen Pals initiative emerged from ideas at that breakfast and is central to the Network’s ethos to connect, collaborate and create. We’re opening up our 2021 PlayBox programme through a submission window and look forward to reading new work from new voices. We’ll deliver Masterclasses and Creative Surgeries for playwrights and theatremakers across the North. But this is just the start. Watch this space as we launch programmes, announce opportunities and signpost initiatives now and in the future. Our aim is to foster a supportive, creative community where everyone can hone their craft, find their voice and tell their story.

Living life under the current restrictions, there’s a real opportunity to broaden the conversation and open doors to everyone. Now is the time to explore imaginative ways to connect, collaborate and create with artists. The shift towards digital platforms and online connections can hopefully make Q&A’s, masterclasses and surgeries open to all. We’re committed to every event and opportunity being free and as accessible as possible. If you have specific access requirements, let us know how we can help.

As we start to slowly emerge from the immediate shockwaves of this crisis, let’s look ahead and start down the road to recovery. There is plenty to make us all feel despondent at this time. But there is also space for optimism. We hope this crisis can be a catalyst for positive change and, in launching this initiative, we want to foster a community of Northern playwrights and theatremakers. Not just now as we ride out this storm, but as we figure out the road ahead and what the future holds.

This is your creative home – a place to connect, collaborate and create. We welcome your feedback and creative ideas, so feel free to drop us a line at any time:

We look forward to starting this journey together.

Love and solidarity,

Adam Quayle and Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder
Joint Artistic Directors, Box of Tricks