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Launch of the Squint Playwriting Award and Educational Programme for Low-Income Artists

We're so excited to be a part of The Squint Playwriting Award through our Freelance Royalty Scheme. The Award was announced today by award-winning, East London-based theatre company Squint, in partnership with Stratford East, Hackney Empire, Applecart Arts, and Arts Council England.

Accompanied by a six-month Educational Programme, the Award is designed to support East London artists from low-income backgrounds for whom money is currently a barrier to professional development. The programme includes Workshops, Masterclasses, and Q&As, with each of the participants assigned a mentor relevant to their background and emerging practice.

Andrew Whyment, Artistic Director of Squint, and Lee Anderson, Literary Associate of Squint, said today: “As a new work company comprised of artists from low-income backgrounds, we know first-hand how a lack of money, few industry contacts and feelings of imposter syndrome hold artists back. It’s the talented playwrights who struggle to pay bills and have to work second and third jobs just to scrape by who are often the first to leave our industry. So we’re doing something about it. Our programme will discover, develop and champion ten exceptional playwrights of the future”.

Nadia Fall, Artistic Director of Stratford East, said today: “We are thrilled to partner with Squint Theatre on this great initiative through our Freelance Royalty Scheme. It’s vital that we continue to support local artists, particularly from low-income and marginalised backgrounds. I’m really proud that Stratford East will be hosting the final showcase in November, and we urge new writers to apply”.

Squint will remove financial obstacles to participation by paying participants London Living Wage for all contact hours throughout the programme as well as travel expenses. Bursaries for access costs are also available. Following research from Create London, University of Edinburgh and University of Sheffield reporting that only 18% of the arts industry is from working-class backgrounds, this programme addresses this by providing professional development opportunities for ten early-career playwrights from low-income backgrounds.

Following an Industry Showcase at Stratford East, one participant will be awarded The Squint Playwriting Award, a Writer’s Guild of Great Britain one-act play commission, to realise their first full-length play. This includes a commissioning fee of £6110 and six months of additional mentorship and dramaturgical support.

Participants are invited to submit either a written or audio/video application. Applications close on Mon 08 May with Selection Workshops on Fri 19 May and Sat 20 May. Sessions will then run 1-2 times weekly from Wed 05 July at Applecart Arts, in the form of Workshops, Masterclasses, Q&As and Mentoring sessions, the majority of which will be run by practitioners from low-income backgrounds. Confirmed artists include Debbie Hannan, Kane Husbands, Sami Ibrahim, Sid Sagar, Elliot Warren and Ross Willis. The programme culminates in an Industry Showcase at Stratford East on Fri 03 Nov and the Award Announcement on Mon 06 Nov.

Supported by Applecart Arts, Arts Council England, Cardboard Citizens, Compass Collective, Hackney Empire, John Thaw Foundation, Maria Bjornson Memorial Foundation, National Youth Theatre, Synergy Theatre Project, Stratford East’s Freelance Royalty Scheme and Unity Theatre Trust.

This is a pilot year of what Squint hopes to be an annual programme. If you’d like to support Squint’s work contact Producer Claire Gilbert at producer@squinttheatre.com For further information and to apply, click here.

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