Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Platform Activities | 2011, September 28 – 2012, February 28

Playwrighting Competition

Ever since Platform 11+ began with its networking project, one of its main aims has been to inspire professional authors to write new plays for young audiences.
The press statement put it like this: „After four years of work, PLATFORM 11+ wants to present a many-layered (self-) portrait of a young European generation, whose presence at the beginning of the 21st century is reflected in more than 30 new plays“.

Now, almost three years later, we can be proud of the fact that we’ve managed to have done justice to our ambitious aim: Authors from 12 European countries and from South America have been continuously involved in this project. New plays have come out of the project, plays written on the basis of Schoolyard Research and at present through the process of co-writing. The majority of these plays have been premiered as national productions or as co-productions. An Anthology, featuring all of the new plays, was published in 2011. The title was ‘New Theatre Plays from Europe and South America for young people aged 11–15’. All of the authors have written short texts for the Final PLATFORM 11+ Production ‘Face Me’. The premiere of this play will be in Pilsen, in the Czech Republic during the 4th Annual Encounter. The authors widely varying texts are all based on the theme of the difficult transition from childhood to adult- hood. Twenty resulting scenes were the basis for the rehearsals that were led by the 6 directors.
But that’s not all: A European-wide Playwright’s Contest has been announced in the theatres. Authors from the participating countries have been called on to contribute current texts. These texts will be judged by a professional jury and the winner will receive an award. The theatres have approached the goal of this project in a variety of ways:

Pilot Theatre launched their playwriting competition ‘Generation Z’ in summer 2011. Promoted nationally and regionally through both traditional and digital media, it invited submissions from writers of all ages, professionals and non-professionals, for proposals for new theatre work aimed at our target audience. All genres and styles were welcomed, though writers were encouraged to research Pilot’s areas of special interest in terms of work produced, such as multimedia and hypermedia, and develop ideas they felt would fit well with the company’s creative profile and future plans.
Proposals were requested rather than finished scripts, as Pilot was keen to work with the winning writer from an early stage and develop the project collaboratively. Over fifty entries were received, which were then read blind by the judging panel to ensure that writers would be considered wholly on the basis of their idea rather than on established reputations or existing creative relationships. Jessica Fisher was announced as the winner in January 2012, a result sup- ported unanimously by the judging panel. Jessica is a playwright with a developing career who won the prestigious Nick Darke Award for another script in 2012. Her winning proposal ‘Ghost Town’ is inspired by the UK inner city summer riots of 2011 and will begin a research and development process in Spring 2012 with Pilot Associate Director, Katie Posner.
The judging panel was so impressed by a number of other proposals that they decided to award a special Highly Commended status to five other ideas. These writers – David Napthine, Henry Raby, David Lane, Imogen Joyce and Charlie Covell – were offered the opportunity to work with Katie Posner and Pilot Associate Artists Richard Hurford and Tom Bellerby to explore possibilities for further collaboration with Pilot Theatre. This is an on-going process and means that through the ‘Generation Z’ competition Pilot has been able to develop creative relationships with six playwrights and discover a wealth of new theatrical material, ideas and possibilities for the future.
Richard Hurford, associated playwright Pilot theatre

Up until a few years ago, there hadn’t been any new Hungarian plays that dealt sensitively with the problems of young teenagers. The drama competition proves that Hungarian playwrights have now come to enrich this genre, popular throughout Europe, with more exciting plays.
From all plays that were submitted into the competition, the jury (Pe?ter Horva?th, A?kos Ne?meth and Istva?n Tasna?di) selected three plays for the main prizes and one that received a special mention. The awarded plays were: ‘Delete’ by Katalin Gyo?ri, ‘Cso?ngo?’ by Ma?rton Kiss, ‘Veritas Duplex’ by Sa?ra Ola?h-Horva?th. All three plays contain qualities that make them suitable for theatrical presentation. Our decision was to divide the 4000 € prize money equally between the three writers. Kolibri Theatre provides an opportunity for them to receive consultation from the members of the jury. Pe?ter Horva?th will work with ‘Cso?ngo?’, A?kos Ne?meth with ‘Veritas Duplex’ and Istva?n Tasna?di will provide further feedback on ‘Delete’. The special compliment was given to Pali e?s Lea by Bea?ta Adorja?n.

Theatre Institute will announce the winner of the playwriting competition on 1 June 2012 – on the occasion of the International Childrens’ Day. The name of the competition is ‘DRAMA 11+’. This refers to the national playwrights’ competition for original theatre plays in both the Slovak and Czech language. Known as ‘DRAMA’, this competition has been conducted annually by the Theatre Institute for the last 11 years. The texts will be judged by a jury consisting of professional playwrights and theatre makers. Five of the best plays will be published in 2013 in a book ‘Drama 11+’.

A national contest for a new play was organized, and 16 plays were submitted on time for the deadline which was on 31st December 2011. The professional jury consisted of Oulu City Theatre Artistic Director Mikko Kouki, Platform 11+ Project Manager Sari Tanner and Director Heta Haanpera?. The winning play ‘Liian vanha ja liian nuori’ (‘Too Old and Too Young’) was written by Heikki Ita?nen (born 1957). The play depicts a humorous and recog- nizable dialogue between parents and their 14 year old son, stemming from the generation conflict and difference of perceptions. Such an ordinary situation, well known in many homes today, is presented in a refreshing way, it gives voice to a young person as an equal, thinking individual. ‘Ita?nen’ is a Finnish script and the playwright who comes from Ruovesi, has written many TV and radio programmes and series over the past twenty years. ‘Liian vanha ja liian nuori’ will premiere at Oulu City Theatre during the 2012–13 season as part of the professional repertoire. The touring production, directed by Heta Haanpera?, will be done in the style of forum theatre.

The playwright competition was announced in September 2011, the deadline being the 31st January 2012. Ten texts were submitted, quite a large amount of plays for a country in which theatre productions are often developed in improvisation processes.
The winner, announced on 10th May, during the festival ‘Segnali’, was Marco Renzi with ‘E? arrivato un barcone carico di europei’. This play will be produced at Teatro Elsinor in the next season and will become a part of the theatre repertoire.

Brageteatret is cooperating with Dramatikkens HUS (House of Drama) and DUS (Scene for Young People), to produce theatre scripts written for youth. Seven professional playwrights are engaged in the project, and young peo- ple with writing ambitions are also invited to participate in an open writing competition. They will get professional support during the process, a team of advisers will cooperate with the author of the best script in order to obtain the utmost quality before producing the play. A jury will chose 3 prizewinners. All the scripts will be ready in May 2012. Then they will be offered to several groups. The young people will both act and produce the scripts themselves. One of the theatre scripts will be chosen for a workshop, the aim is to use the script for a professional production at Brageteatret.

A theatre work with/for young audience has been a much discussed subject since the late 1970s among Portuguese companies and cultural institutions. Founded in 1974, O Bando found its roots in community work – direct involvement in schools and in cultural associations. As a result of this historical debate and because our country already has some competitions that award playwrights, O Bando’s artistic direction decided to invite some artists to re- flect about creating for this very specific audience. This work will result in a coproduction to be announced next October and premiered next November.

Emergency Exit Arts rarely has the opportunity to work with playwrights so it was great for us to search for new blood from a new creative angle. We wanted young aspiring writers so restricted the age limit to 30 and advertised through youth oriented channels. 48 applicants, each with example texts led to an entertaining elimination process with 5 being interviewed. Our decision was unanimous: Shireen Mula, a quirky, witty writer with a passion for outdoor events. We chose the London premiere of ‘Beginning’ to announce the award: Shireen worked with a group of teenagers to help create a prelude to the show and a hilarious interaction with local sun worshippers. Inspired, we raised further funds to create ‘PENt Up’ – a mentor-led writing project for young people. We were incredibly proud to receive a Clore Duffield Award for the project and are scheduled to launch a new writing publication in June 2012. Meanwhile Shireen is sketching out ideas for a new script based on ideas generated by young people through the ‘PENt Up’ project.

VAT Theatre commissions three youth plays to be written. We have asked three Estonian writers, all belonging to different generations, to write a youth play, the best of which will be staged in VAT Theatre. All of these three writers are established in their field, but they have never addressed young people using drama as a medium. Through these commissions, we give them such an opportunity and simultaneously we draw attention to the importance of youth theatre in our society. The commissions will be announced before the end of this season in order to have the plays ready by autumn. One of these plays will be premiered in spring 2013.

Theater de Citadel and the writing and performance department of the HKU (Hogeschool vor de Kunsten), are discussing the possibility of working to- gether to organize the writers’ contest in Autumn 2012.

theater junge generation and PLATFORM 11+ have searched together, in a joint competition, for plays aimed at an 11–15 year old audience, which deal with the reality of adolescent life. From a total of 52 submissions, a jury (including the artistic director Felicitas Loewe) has chosen two winners. So the prize of 4000 Euros for the winning play will be between: Michael Mu?lller from Hamburg with his play ‘Junge Junge’ (‘Boy Boy’, Theaterstu?ckverlag) and Lilly Axster from Vienna with her play ‘Victoria Station’ (Verlag der Autoren). The jury writes:
“‘Victoria Station’ manages to summon up an exciting and surprising change of perspective: All themes of puberty are examined, the emotional confusion and the inner and outer chaos seem to have more to do with the environment rather than the young protagonist: parents, siblings, friends… All seem to be equally involved with problems and only concerned with themselves.”
Michael Mu?ller’s play ‘Junge Junge’ (‘Boy Boy’) unfolds a piece of multicultural reality of life without cliche?s. In an impressive and funny way it relates how friendship helps two boys to distance themselves from common stereotypes and to take a position in everyday life and fundamental things.

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