In 2020 Sphinx Theatre Company announced Sphinx 30, a year-long programme celebrating Sphinx Theatre’s 30th anniversary. Writers were selected via an Open Call and also via partnerships with theatres including:
The Bush Theatre, Derby Theatre, Graeae Theatre Company, Hull Truck Theatre, Kali Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Nottingham Playhouse, Octagon Theatre, Red Ladder, Salisbury Playhouse, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Theatr Clwyd, Watford Palace Theatre and New Earth Theatre.
These theatres co-funded 15 female playwrights to participate in the landmark Sphinx 30 programme; the programme was supported by Arts Council England.
The scheme was co-designed by the company and leading theatre practitioner and academic Jennifer Tuckett. It drew inspiration from 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) and aimed to provide advice from the industry, craft and business skills, and a chance to write a play with mentoring, with the aim to equip female playwrights with information, skills and dramaturgy on their work to support their careers.
Playwrights received 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.
Collaborators of the programme included many of the UK’s leading female playwrights including April De Angelis whose plays include Playhouse Creatures, commissioned and first produced by Sphinx Theatre, Winsome Pinnock, author of seminal work Leave Taking and the first black female playwright to be produced at The National Theatre, and Timberlake Wertenbaker, whose credits include modern classic Our Country’s Good. Other mentors included Dame Rosemary Squire, co-founder of the Ambassador Theatre Group and Trafalgar Entertainment, Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive at Nottingham Playhouse, Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre and Dance at the Barbican Centre, Brigid Larmour, Artistic Director of Watford Palace Theatre, and Sphinx Theatre’s Artistic Director Sue Parrish, and Jennifer Tuckett.