Tim Price posted this in the Writers Group earlier today:
Is it time National Theatre Wales or The Sherman Cymru supported Welsh theatre but copying Northern Stage's Edinburgh model?
This year Northern Stage, the Newcastle based theatre, took over St Stephen's venue in Edinburgh and curated a series of plays by North East writers, and North East theatre companies. Northern Stage organised box office, promotion and even accomdation.
Every year I ask ACW if Dirty Protest can take a play to Edinburgh and every year the reply is, we'll only fund a show outside of Wales if the dates outside of Wales amount no more to 15% of a total tour.
That means for a 4 week run in Edinburgh, we have to create a tour for a piece of new writing for a probable first time writer, has to tour wales for just under 24 weeks before we can take it to Edinburgh. Or more than likely, after Edinburgh. Now blind as I am to the failings of new writing, even I can sense that that might be a hard sell.
So what can we take from this? ACW just don't want us to take our work out of Wales?
Whereas Northern Stage are taking the bull by the horns and leading the charge. Is there a theatre in Wales that would/could be so dynamic?
Imagine a venue curated by Sherman Cymru hosting plays by Velvet Ensemble, Dirty Protest, 3D, Undeb and NTW.
Or NTW hosting plays by Volcano, Marc Rees, Not Fit State. Imagine, god forbid, that the Welsh Venue might even be the hip venue one year?
Why in Wales do we have to wait British Council year before any RFO Welsh theatres will do anything up there? Or why do our fringe companies have to pay out of their own pockets, or perform enormous tours to go there?
Read this article by Daniel Bye about his experience as one of the artists programmed by Northern Stage in Edinburgh. It is surely a model for Wales to adopt.
So I thought we should open up this discussion about what people think about this issue, and see where we could go with it.
If we say we'll leave this debate open for a month, and if the interest is there we'll the arrange a meeting with interested parties - or it could be a great discussion for D&D at the Sherman?
Let us know your thoughts.
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