The Playgoer: What about the Not-So-Young Playwrights?

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What about the Not-So-Young Playwrights?

Over in London, the Guardian's Lyn Gardner reminds theatres that in their constant search for young playwriting blood, the already "emerged" (or even those emerging past 30) should not be forgotten either.

[I]t has probably never been a better time for emerging writers to have their talent spotted. Such is the proliferation of new writing schemes, hungry like monsters, that need to be fed with ever younger talent to justify their own existence. But what happens after that first play, when the interest is not so acute? How is a career sustained for the long haul – particularly when so few new plays get a further life on UK stages?

With some difficulty, is the answer according to my own conversations with writers. Arts Council England's Theatre Assessment report. published last week, also that noted that "there was much agreement that the emphasis on nurturing new and emerging artists resulted in fewer sources of support for those in the middle stages of their career. Writers, in particular, reported continuing problems in making a career, with less support for writers aged over 25. A number of artists, particularly writers, complained of continuing struggles to earn a living wage, and of more polarised earnings."

Gardner concludes, "It seems odd that an industry claiming to support theatre writers may actually have created a situation where it has never been easier to become a playwright, and never harder to sustain an actual career." Sounds the same as over here, no?

2 comments:

The Playgoer said...

Perhaps I should clarify that I mean playwrights over 25 who are NOT Richard Greenberg, Neil LaBute, and John Patrick Shanley. Their rep's might actually benefit from LESS of their new work being produced...

Lindsay Price said...

That's the trick isn't it? It's not becoming a playwright. It's sustaining the career. Supporting a family. Buying a house. All the things that people with real jobs do. How would things change if there was support for the sustaining of a career, and not the start of one? Hmm.