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Young Playwriting Scheme ‘Pitch Your Play’ Returns for 2018

Pitch Your Play
Pitch Your Play

Pitch Your Play

Over the last twenty years, the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust (Masterclass) has worked hard to curate unique theatre opportunities for young creatives at the start of their career by opening up the Theatre Royal Haymarket during the day, when most other theatres lie dormant.

The future of theatre relies on today’s generation having the opportunities and support to go forward and create. As such, Masterclass has announced the return of their successful Pitch Your Play scheme which invites people aged 17-30 to pitch for the opportunity to stage a reading of a new play at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Generously supported by the Noel Coward Foundation, Masterclass’ Pitch Your Play scheme offers three successful pitches access to admin support, marketing provision, rehearsal space, office space and creative guidance to hone their ideas at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Working closely with Masterclass, this is an exclusive opportunity to showcase new work in front of an invited audience of peers and industry professionals. It is a chance to invite potential funders, financial producers and potential theatres to see the play or to simply test a new piece of writing on stage in the heart of London’s West End.

Masterclass are asking for all applications to include: a short synopsis of the play, a hard copy of the first 30 pages and covering letter, but the script must be a new, unpublished piece of writing. Applications are now open and the deadline to submit the first 30 pages of the script is 10am, Tuesday 13th March! For more information and how to apply, visit the Masterclass website here.

Speaking about the return of the Pitch Your Play scheme, Jez Butterworth commented:

“Twenty five years ago when I gave up my first and last paying job to try to write for a living, I swiftly felt alone. A scheme such as Pitch Your Play would have felt like a lifeline. Witnessing work rehearsed and hearing it read aloud is oxygen for fledgling playwrights. I’m a bit jealous of those taking part, who will hear something for the first time; the strange and familiar voice, which startles, haunts, galvanises and nourishes them enough to try again.”

One of the initiative’s previous playwrights, Emma Whipday, explains how the process has helped to further her career:

“Having Shakespeare’s Sister staged at the Theatre Royal Haymarket has transformed my career. The staged reading resulted in an offer to licence and publish the play and its first professional production took place at the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia, February 2017. These are career-changing moments I simply couldn’t have imagined before Pitch Your Play. The opportunity to have my work seen by industry professionals has opened so many doors and I’m hugely grateful.”

The Masterclass Pitch Your Play initiative is generously supported by the Noel Coward Foundation.

West End Cyber Bullying Play Filmed & Released Alongside Free Education Resource Packs for Anti-Bullying Week 2017

The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust (Masterclass) in partnership with the Pureland Foundation and children’s charity Kidscape have announced  that during Anti-Bullying Week 2017 (w/c 13th November), a filmed live performance of Cookies by Emily Jenkins will be available to stream directly from the Masterclass website.

Filmed by London-based video agency, Kinura, the film will accompany free PSHE and Drama resource packs which include professional advice from Kidscape, easy-to-follow exercises and over 30 extensive theatre-based, written and creative activities that align with the PSHE Association and AQA A-level and GSCE Drama national curriculum.

Masterclass and Kidscape have spent over a year working with 16 to 19 year old students from varying areas of study, collating and exploring exciting, fresh material through diverse and successful workshops. As such, the resources will help teachers cover various topics within the curriculum using drama-based creative activities.

Blayne George, Programme Director at Masterclass said:

“By using Cookies in the classroom, teachers will be able to encourage students to tackle the serious threats that young people face online and enrich their educational experience. The play can be used as a creative and engaging device to nurture important conversations with students from Key Stage 4 and 5. It provides an opportunity for discussion, encouraging young people to have the confidence to voice any concerns at a time when they are, arguably, at their most vulnerable.”

Cookies played the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 29th October for two performances only and was commissioned as part of The Cyberscene Project; an inspirational theatre initiative which supports the health and well-being of young people affected by cyber bullying and other online issues. Cyberscene was created by Masterclass in partnership with the Pureland Foundation and children’s charity Kidscape.

To watch the filmed version of Cookies and to access our free education resources, click here.

Bruno Wang, Founder, Pureland Foundation commented:

“We are delighted to partner with Cyberscene and to champion its important work to support and empower young people affected by cyber bullying. This innovative initiative from Masterclass mirrors Pureland Foundation’s commitment to promote social and emotional wellness, in particular working with the creative arts to engage and inform audiences. Cyberbullying is an issue affecting not only children and teenagers but also adults. It is very rewarding for all involved that teachers across the country will be able to use Cookies in their classrooms to stimulate dialogue with students on this key issue of our time.”

Through a series of theatre based workshops, the project has explored key concerns and issues facing young people in today’s digital landscape, having collaborated with 120 students across four London Colleges.

Written with young people, for young people, Cookies is an exciting method of educating and engaging young students in a pertinent subject matter. Directed by Olivier Award nominee Anna Ledwich, the play is inspired by true, heartfelt online stories of students and follows seven teenagers dealing with the effects of sexting, radicalisation, cyber bullying and our wider digital world

The project has been delivered under the artistic guidance of renowned British theatre director, Jonathan Church CBE.

★★★★★

Miro Magazine

“Cookies by Emily Jenkins makes an arresting and empowering statement about social media.”

Click here for the full review

★★★★

Hiive

“Jenkins’ use of street slang, emojis and acronyms is the perfect foil for the otherwise lyrical script.”

Click here for the full review

★★★★★

Everything Theatre

“The sinister realities of the play will sit with you long after the show… But it’s worth it!”

Click here for the full review

West End Charity Makes History by Securing Place in the Virgin Money London Marathon for the First Time

Theatre Royal Haymarket Chairman, Arnold Crook & Poppy Corbett

Theatre Royal Haymarket Chairman, Arnold Crook & Poppy Corbett

For the first time in their history, the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust (Masterclass) has been offered a place in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.
As one of only 500 charities with the opportunity to have someone running the famous 26.2 mile on their behalf, today Masterclass has announced that playwright Poppy Corbett will represent them at this year’s marathon.
Corbett holds strong ties with Masterclass having staged the West End debut of her play, Hatchling, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket as a winner of the prominent ‘Pitch Your Play’ scheme. Ahead of the marathon, Corbett will return to the Haymarket in February to host a Masterclass with fellow playwright Polly Stenham on 7th February.

Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Team

Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Team

Speaking about the opportunity Corbett commented;
“I’ve always believed in helping people further down the ladder and running the marathon for Masterclass would give me the opportunity to do so in a practical way. Masterclass changed things for me and I’d like to change things for them too.”

The arts have been one of the sectors most affected by government cuts. As youth groups close and university fees go up, it is encouraging to see organisations such as Masterclass, The Lyric and Chickenshed featuring in the largest fundraising event of the year.
All of the opportunities available through Masterclass remain free for young people aged 16-30, allowing them to fully realise their potential regardless of income or background. However the only way organisations, such as Masterclass, are able to continue their work is through the generous in-kind and financial backing from our supporters.

Blayne George, Programme Director at Masterclass, added;
“We are delighted to have finally secured a place in the London Marathon and are equally overjoyed to have Poppy run for us! Masterclass stands firm as a place which will always support young people in the early stages of their theatrical career.”

Judi Dench Backs Powerful West End Theatre Project to Fight Cyber Bullying

Cyberscene Project

Cyberscene Project

The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust (Masterclass) are partnering with anti-bullying charity, Kidscape, to create Cyberscene – an innovative project which will use theatre to support the health and well-being of young people affected by cyber bullying.

 The digital age has seen social behaviours change dramatically and the ways in which young people communicate and socialise is shifting. 87% of 16-24 year olds now access the internet via a mobile device and can spend up to 3 hours a day just on social media. With such remarkable developments, are our children and younger generations appropriately educated and equipped to use the internet and digital technology safely?

Ahead of Anti-Bullying Week (14th – 18th November) Masterclass and Kidscape are proud to announce Cyberscene: an essential new theatre project that will work with students from South Thames College, Leyton Sixth Form College, Hackney Community College and Barnet and Southgate College to create a powerful new play which explores the impact of technology, social media and cyber bullying.

Working with director, Guy Unsworth, and writer, Emily Jenkins, the play will be scripted through a series of theatre based workshops. In this supportive environment, young people can share their stories, learn from each other and be part of an empowering project which aims to address the impacts of cyber bullying and the wider digital realm. The final production will be staged at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in March 2017.

Dame Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench DBE has endorsed the project and notes that theatre can play a significant role in addressing the issue of cyber bullying;  

“As a Patron of the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust, I am delighted to lend my support to a worthwhile project which will harness the power of theatre to bring together a community of young students to address the issues associated with cyber bullying.”

The heart of the project is about giving young people a voice, creating an exciting platform to support their experiences and to raise awareness of the issue to a much wider audience.

Peter Bradley, Director of Services at Kidscape said;

“We are proud to be partnering with Masterclass. We know the internet can be exciting, informative and fun – yet it’s also a world where young people are bullied, exploited and led to harm. There’s a vital need for this project – what you will see on stage is what’s happening in our schools and colleges. Cyberscene will provide a new insight into how young people live their digital lives.”

Cyberscene is generously supported by The Pure Land Foundation and the Theatre Royal Haymarket and will be created under the artistic guidance of renowned British theatre director, Jonathan Church CBE.

For more information on the Cyberscene project, please visit the Masterclass website here or watch the information video here

 Additional links and support

If you or someone you know is experiencing cyber bullying and you would like some additional support please visit Kidscape’s website for further guidance.

 

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Masterclass Launch ‘In Your Hands’ Campaign

Masterclass want you to write your passion/profession on your hand and upload it to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram using the hashtag #InYourHands

Right then. Here’s a Q&A with Josh Brown (Press and Marketing Manager at Masterclass and Theatre Royal Haymarket).
To kick things off I asked Josh some questions. Josh is good at talking about Masterclass’ place in the Theatre cosmos, and how the ‘industry’ works in 2016.

Here’s how the chat went.

Hello! What are you doing at the moment?

Well, it’s been pretty hectic. We’ve just launched our new In Your Hands campaign and have been redesigning all of our marketing material to fit in with the rebrand!

Please tell me a bit about the #InYourHands Campaign.

Creating career opportunities in theatre is challenging, but I think a far greater challenge is instilling the confidence and self-belief in young people to actually put themselves forward for such opportunities. In a nutshell, that’s exactly what Masterclass’ In Your Hands campaign aims to address. We want to empower emerging theatre makers and to foreground the diverse range of career routes available within the Arts.

HI YA! Josh Brown, ladies and gentlemen.

Whether you’re working as an Actor, Stage Manager, Journalist, Director, Technician, Producer, Reviewer, Marketer etc (the list is endless!), be proud of what you do and never shy away from an opportunity because you feel under qualified or intimidated by the sheer volume of other creatives out there. Instead, rest safely in the knowledge that everything you work to achieve, really is the future of our industry.

So basically you’ve rebranded Masterclass, launched a campaign and continue to schedule some brilliant schemes and opportunities for young people and it’s not even March?

Haha! Well the rebrand has been in the pipeline for about a year now and I think all of us knew we were going to hit the ground running for 2016! It’s a really exciting time to be involved with Masterclass. The whole team work incredibly hard to ensure that the programme can offer these unique opportunities to people aged 16 – 30. This year alone we’ve offered out 3 paid apprenticeships in Design, Directing and Stage Management to work on Breakfast at Tiffany’s and, as you say, we’re just launched a new campaign – It’s relentless! I love it.

Photo credit Alex Rumford

Do you feel that too much power in the industry is held by people with little to no taste in Theatre?

Well, I think that’s probably dependant on the definition of taste. There are some wonderfully original, thought-provoking pieces of theatre being created, particularly in fringe venues, and it’s just a case of shining a spotlight onto this work for a mainstream audience.  Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of those working in theatre today to empower and inspire emerging theatre makers of tomorrow. The future of our industry really is in their hands!

 And what else do you have coming up?

On Tuesday 9th Feb, we’ve got a Masterclass with Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director at the Tricycle Theatre, and she’ll focus on new writing, which should be really exciting! Then on 1st March we have Ruth Sheen coming in to work on characterisation and improvisation – again, another really exciting session to be involved with!

Indhu Rubasingham (above)

We also have some really big announcements and plans for later on in the year so make sure you keep an eye on our website across the next few weeks and sign up to our mailing list!

One thing is for sure, the future of Theatre is definitely safe in the hands of these people.

N.B. Please use a solvent free and non-toxic pen!