We are delighted to announce this year’s recipients of the 2021 New Playwrights Programme, a six-month writing development programme, aimed at new and early career playwrights to create new work. This is the fourth year of the prestigious writing programme at the Lyric, and this year saw the highest number of applicants they have ever received with 330 submissions, resulting in a shortlist of 29. In the end, five writers were awarded places on the programme: Caitlin Magnall-Kearns, Caoimhe Farren, Rose Coogan, Paul Mallon and Eléonore Maudet.
The programme for 2021 is more important now than ever to support local freelance creatives, and comes shortly after the Lyric announced it had employed over 310 freelancers in the past year despite the closure of the theatre. As part of the Lyric’s commitment to supporting and developing emerging talent, the writers will now develop their ideas over the next six months with the support of Lyric’s Literary Manager, Rebecca Mairs. The new works will be brought to life on stage at the Lyric Theatre in Autumn 2021 by professional actors and directors.
Rebecca Mairs, Literary Manager, Lyric Theatre, commented:
“We’re thrilled and deeply honoured that so many writers wanted to develop their work with us, despite the challenges of the past year. The array of talent, originality and ingenuity across the submissions was remarkable and fills us with hope for the future. Whilst the reading and selection process was a long and considered one, it clearly emerged that there were four projects which had the edge (including a writing team), and we’re so excited to be working with this super talented group.”
Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said:
“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to partner with the Lyric Theatre on the New Playwright’s Programme, supported by our National Lottery and public funds. This important programme ensures that emerging writers get dedicated, bespoke mentorship support over a six-month period to create and showcase new work. This year’s line-up of five new playwrights – all from or based in NI – is really exciting. Two young writers with urgent, unique voices and stories to tell; and two established actors starting on their writing journeys with thrilling projects born from lived experience. A really dynamic host of artists, and I very much look forward to seeing their work on the Lyric Theatre stage later this year.”
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