Sphinx 30

Sphinx Theatre Company is delighted to announce Sphinx 30, a year-long programme celebrating Sphinx Theatre’s 30th anniversary. Sphinx 30 will be launched with the pilot of Sphinx Lab, a brand new writers’ development programme for female playwrights and will conclude with a series of showcase events as a celebration of 30 years of Sphinx Theatre. Partners on Sphinx 30 are 15 of the UK’s leading theatres and theatre companies, including:

Derby Theatre, Graeae Theatre Company, Hull Truck Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, Nottingham Playhouse, Red Ladder, Salisbury Playhouse, Stephen Joseph Theatre, and Yellow Earth, with more to be announced at a later date.

As stage one of Sphinx’s 30th anniversary programme, Sphinx 30 is delighted to be able to offer ten £1000 seed commissions to emerging or mid-career female playwrights based in the UK via an open call. For more information see our Open Call.

Sphinx Lab

Each selected Sphinx 30 playwright will take part in the Sphinx Lab, a pilot writers’ programme for female playwrights which has been designed by Sphinx 30 Literary Director, Jennifer Tuckett, inspired by her work at Yale School of Drama, one of the world’s leading playwriting programmes, and by the WP (Women’s Project) Lab in New York.

The Lab is also informed by Sphinx’s recent year long research project and the Women Centre Stage Forum which was run in partnership with The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, Equity, ERA 50:50, University Women in the Arts, Stage Directors UK, Black Womxn in Theatre, The Stage, the December Group and Trafalgar Studios.

The Sphinx Lab will offer advice from leading female playwrights, advice from the industry, craft and business skills, and a chance to write a play and receive guidance on your work, with the aim to equip female playwrights with information, skills and dramaturgy on their work to support their careers.

Playwrights will receive a £1000 seed commission to write the new play, written for the main stage, as part of Sphinx’s 30th anniversary, with the opportunity for the play to be showcased and published, showcasing some of the best female playwriting talent in the UK as part of the anniversary, and with the opportunity to apply for further development at the end of the year.

The WP Lab in New York has been described as “a beacon of hope for women writers and directors. This theater gave me a community in which to thrive when I was an emerging playwright, and more recently, a home in which to experiment. I celebrate its past and look forward to its future!” (Sarah Ruhl, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and playwriting lecturer at Yale School of Drama)

We hope the Sphinx Lab will provide similar support for the UK’s female playwrights.

Tutors on the Lab include Winsome Pinnock, the first black female playwright to be produced at the National Theatre, April de Angelis, whose adaptation of My Brilliant Friend was recently produced at the National TheatreTimberlake Wertenbaker, Professor of Playwriting at the University of East Anglia, Sphinx 30 Literary Director Jennifer Tuckett who has designed and led creative writing programmes including for the BBC and who has most recently been completing a major research project into how to improve the transition for women from studying the arts to working in the arts at the University of Cambridge, and Sphinx Theatre Artistic Director Sue Parrish.

Industry tutors include Dame Rosemary Squire, co-founder of the Ambassador Theatre Group and Trafalgar Entertainment, Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre and Dance at the Barbican CentreBrigid Larmour, Artistic Director at Watford Palace Theatre, and Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive at Nottingham Playhouse.

The Lab will run from September 2020 (please note this date may be delayed due to the coronavirus crisis) with four all-day Lab sessions which will take place in hub theatres across the UK or online, and will finish with a period of mentoring before the showcases, which will take place in 2021.

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