A supportive programme leads to paid writing commissions

Prior to joining the Pen2Paper programme, Sonali had experience of writing for screen and radio.  She wanted to develop her practice into writing for theatre, but did not feel confident in writing a play without any support. 

The benefits that Sonali hoped to gain from the programme were to learn more about the process of writing for theatre, and to possibly pick up some industry contacts that could help her after the scheme ended.  These benefits were extremely important to Sonali: “I’d realised that the theatre is a real training ground for writers, enabling them to be inventive and take risks in a way that other mediums don’t allow, and that I was missing out by not writing for the stage.  I also had an idea that could only be realised on the stage”. 

Sonali felt really excited about securing a place on the programme, it was a great opportunity to write her first full-length play with the support of a Mentor/Dramaturge, and then to see it workshopped and read at The Door.

Her Mentor and Dramaturge was incredibly supportive.  He showed Sonali new ways of approaching her writing that really boosted her confidence, and also led the workshop on her play, offering an opportunity for Sonali to learn what actors are looking for in a play, and how they engage with the text. 

“Before the scheme, I didn’t consider myself a playwright, and now I do.  The process has directly led to two paid commissions: a co-commission from Kali Theatre Company, Black Country Touring and The REP, and another to co-author a play for The REP”.  Sonali has found the programme supportive, fun and informative, and it has left her brimming with ideas for new plays.

Sonali believes that programmes like this are important because “they encourage a greater range of voices to be developed in the creative industries, leading to more diverse stories and ideas being heard”.



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