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Fellowship to Support New Zealand Play Writing

Auckland Theatre Company
Media Release
For immeidate release
Wednesday, 17 September, 2014
Auckland Theatre Company Establishes Fellowship to Support New Zealand Play Writing
Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) is delighted to announce the inaugural ATC Patrons' Playwright Fellowship.

The fellowship is designed to provide a playwright who has an on-going commitment to write distinctive and ambitious plays, with the opportunity to join ATC for six months, while writing a new play for ATC main bill presentation.

The awarded writer will receive a weekly stipend to a total of $24,000 and the fellowship is to be taken during 2015 at times agreed between ATC and the successful candidate.

Applicants are invited to submit proposals for the play they wish to write during the fellowship by 5pm Monday 20 October.

"We are justifiably proud of the ATC Literary Unit. We have a history of giving scripts a rigorous workout before they reach the stage" says Auckland Theatre Company Artistic Director, Colin McColl.

"We encourage playwrights to stretch form and explore big ideas because that's what excites us as practitioners as well as our large and loyal audience. A developmental workout is a crucial part of getting a new New Zealand play before audiences."

"There are a lot of good plays and talented playwrights out there, but many of them are working to a scale that isn't viable for us to present. We encourage writers to challenge our approach to theatre and to development; we want to be inspired by new ideas and approaches. But we'd also like writers to think about and take account of the scale on which Auckland Theatre Company operates. For main bill shows, ATC is looking for plays that will fill a 450 seat theatre each night over a season of four weeks, and our new Waterfront Theatre will be even bigger." says McColl.

The ATC Patrons have provided the new fund for the inaugural playwright's fellowship. They are strong supporters of new writing having supported numerous commissions over recent years, including "Trees Beneath the Lake" and "On The Upside Down of the World" by Arthur Meek, "Paniora!" by Briar Grace-Smith and "Black Confetti" by Eli Kent.

"Initially we looked at a playwriting award but decided there is more benefit to both the playwright and to ATC if they join us as part of the company. As well as working on their play, and participating in Literary Unit activities, we're looking forward to the exchange of ideas throughout the entire operation of the theatre." says McColl.

"In terms of proposals, we are particularly interested in contemporary stories which reflect the lives, loves and concerns of Aucklanders, but which also have a universality about them. We are keen for the writer to undertake research as part of the fellowship which contributes to the play's development. We don't have any limitations on what the research might be; but we are excited about what might emerge The important thing is that the writer works in a rigorous way and provides meaty, complex work."

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