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Write to Play scheme offers opportunity for deaf and disabled playwright

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  • Sixth year of Graeae’s renowned Write to Play programme to be run in partnership with leading South-West England based organisations Bristol Old Vic, Exeter Northcott Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Wiltshire Creative, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Ustinov Studio at Theatre Royal Bath.
  • Applications open to D/deaf and disabled writers based in South-West England from 3 August to 3 September 2018.
  • FREE Taster sessions are being held at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on Tuesday 21 August – sign up here by 17th August


Write to Play is a bold new writing initiative committed to developing the skills and experience of D/deaf and disabled writers.

Over the course of one year, five writers will each write and develop a full-length play through collaboration with some of the most creative minds in the industry.

Paul Jepson, Artistic Director, Exeter Northcott Theatre, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Graeae and our partner producing theatres in the South West on this excellent programme. We are confident that it will enrich our organisation.’

Applications for year six will open on 3 August 2018, closing on 3 September 2018, open to people who identify as D/deaf and/or disabled living in South West England and with some experience of writing for theatre.

Full details on how to apply can be found on Graeae’s website at

The first five years of Write to Play have developed the skills of twenty-five playwrights, many of whom have gone on to have work produced professionally. In August 2017, Graeae and the Royal Exchange Theatre produced for the first time a full length play from a Write to Play graduate. Cosmic Scallies by Jackie Hagan (from year 2 of the programme) premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017, followed by a run at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Both runs played to sell-out houses, 4-star reviews and audience acclaim.

Year five of the programme, for D/deaf and disabled writers of colour, is currently in session, in partnership with the Bush Theatre, Soho Theatre, Ovalhouse, Talawa and Tamasha. The writers are Leanna Benjamin, Lettie Precious, Shahid Iqbal Khan, Charlotte Maxwell and Kathryn Golding.

Click here to read more about the other writers and partners from the previous five years of the programme.

The year-long Write to Play programme includes Playwriting 101 (an intensive craft-focused playwriting course), specialist workshops, mentoring sessions and opportunities to have short pieces of work performed in front of an audience. The programme will not only provide the writers with the opportunity to develop their skills, it will also introduce a new generation of D/deaf and disabled playwrights to the wider theatre landscape.

Graeae will announce the successful writers on the sixth year of the programme in late October 2018.

The Write to Play programme (incorporating Play Labs and Play Chats) is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Arts Council England and Backstage Trust.


Graeae is a force of change in world-class theatre – breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing Deaf and disabled artists centre stage. Artistically led by Jenny Sealey, Graeae’s signature characteristic is the compelling creative integration of sign language and audio description, which engages brilliantly with both disabled and non-disabled audiences. Championing accessibility and providing a platform for new generations of artists, Graeae leads the way in pioneering, trail-blazing theatre. Graeae won the Promotion of Diversity Award at the TMA Theatre Awards UK 2012.

Exeter Northcott Theatre is Exeter’s flagship professional theatre and creates, curates and collaborates on a vibrant programme of exceptional performance, championing inclusivity, education, talent and skill development. Recent productions and co-productions include: Dick Whittington, The Comedy of Errors, People, Places & Things, The Railway Children, Dracula: The Bloody Truth, Peter Pan; French Without Tears, This Is My Body, Betrayal and A Christmas Carol. This year the theatre’s new co-commissioning programme with University of Exeter academics, toured a pioneering first production, Beyond My Control – a play about epilepsy and the brain, ahead of international tour plans. Exeter Northcott also runs an Associates Programme, which supports the next generation of up and coming midscale theatre companies, including PaddleBoat, Metta Theatre, Le Navet Bete and Ara. This autumn, the theatre is the lead producer for a major new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos, and in spring 2019 will be co-producing The Life I Lead – a new comedy starring Miles Jupp.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. We do this by funding the charitable work of organisations that are building an inclusive, creative and sustainable society.

The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK. In 2016 we made grants of £42.4 million towards a wide range of work within the arts, children and young people, the environment and social change. We also have a £45 million allocation to social investments for organisations with the aim of creating social impact.



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