Artists and Writers Ideas
National Theatre Wales considers the nurturing and development of theatre artists in Wales to be one of its core goals, both as a means to achieve extraordinary new theatre productions, and for the sake of the wider development of Welsh theatre. We want to make it as easy as possible for all artists to establish contact with us and let us know about their work and ideas. We want to focus our resources on activity that will have the most profound impact on theatre making. We want to be equally accessible to artists throughout Wales, and work in a way that supports and encourages other theatre organisations, particularly small and independent initiatives.
With these goals in mind, we have developed guidelines for artists which you can read below.
Short summary (for those who don’t want to read a four page document):
- Join our online community
- Tell us you’ve joined
- Send up to twenty pages of a script/ five mins of video of existing work or an idea in the format that suits you/the idea best to firstname.lastname@example.org
- We’ll get back to you
- Invite us to see your work over a month in advance and we’ll come (some caveats but this is the short version)
Letting us know about you and your work.
Our online community is at the heart of our communication with artists. To let us know about your work, you should register at community.nationaltheatrewales.org and create a profile for yourself.
Try to create a profile that will help us learn about you and what you do, though we understand that some artists are shy and will accept a profile with name and basic details. Please also join a group on the network corresponding to your interests, e.g. Writers, Creatives (including directors and designers); this will help us to keep in touch with you with about relevant opportunities. If you are happy for your work to be open to the public, we encourage you to attach or link samples to your profile. Then send a message to Simon Coates on the network, telling him that you have joined. If you have attached work to your profile, let him know; if you prefer to keep your work confidential, you can send samples of your work to email@example.com. If you have a particular idea that you want to suggest to us, please make this clear in your initial message. We accept submissions from all artists, but we ask you to let us know about your reasons for submitting to National Theatre Wales, and your relationship to or interest in Wales. We will always acknowledge your submission, usually within a week.
We look at what you send us as a way of getting to know about you and your work. Please don’t send unsolicited scripts – partly because we don’t have the resources to read them all, but mainly because we’d be very unlikely to produce a pre-existing script by a writer we didn’t have a relationship with. If you’re a writer and want to send us your work please send us a sample excerpt of a script or scripts – if we want to read more we can contact you to ask for more information. As an indication we’d suggest a maximum of 20 pages of written material or a five-minute video excerpt – to give us a flavour of your work.
Our preferred option would be for you to also send us an idea you are interested in working on in the future. If we were to develop a project with you it’s these we’d be working on, not something you’ve done before. We understand that ideas are very valuable – the ideas are yours and will be treated as confidential. Submission of ideas can be in any format – written, video, audio, images – whatever you think the best way to communicate your ideas to us.
We also want to hear from designers (lighting, sound and set) and would welcome examples of your work.
What happens next?
One of our core staff, or one of the artists currently working with us will review the work you have sent and it will be discussed at one of our monthly artistic meetings. These meetings are an opportunity to review a range of ideas for new work at National Theatre Wales, and are attended by core staff, artists working with the company, and sometimes board and key volunteers. Discussions at these meetings will always be confidential. We will review and discuss your work as quickly as possible and we will try our hardest always to get back to you within three months. Our response could be one of the following:
The most likely response is that we will let you know we have reviewed your work, and that we will keep in touch to let you know of future opportunities. We will keep a record of our initial reactions to your work and thoughts on ways to support you. This will be a confidential record. We don’t send ‘script reports’ on plays, but we can point you towards people who do if that’s what you need.
If we particularly like an idea you have suggested, or you seem like a good person to be involved in a project we are currently working on, we will invite you in for a meeting. We may also ask you to come and meet us if we want to know more about you.
If we want to take an idea further we may offer you an initial seed commission or research fee. This fee will be to cover your time while developing the idea or pursuing your research. We may also suggest you submit your idea as a proposal to WalesLab, our artist development initiative.
Alternatively we might ask you to be part of the artistic team for one of our productions.
What happens in the future?
If we don’t offer you an immediate opportunity to work with us, we may well be able to offer you an opportunity in the future. This could happen in a number of ways:
- If a project arises that looks like it might suit your skills and interests, we will invite you to meet with us and the process outlined above may begin.
- If you have a new project or and idea, just get in touch through the online network. We will always try to look at new ideas, though in some cases we may ask you to wait for a period before submitting new samples of your work.
- We may have developmental opportunities such as residencies, workshops, courses, or jobs such as our Creative Associates. If these are targeted at a particular kind of artist, or artists at a particular stage of development, we will contact a selection of artists based on our records. If it is a more general opportunity we will use our online groups (e.g. Writers group, Creatives group) to let all relevant artists know about it. Such residencies, workshops, etc may well lead to a new opportunity to suggest an idea for production to us.
- We may suggest that your project be developed through WalesLab, our artist development initiative, which provides theatre makers with the space, time and resources to begin the development on new projects.
- Our programme focus and priorities are always under development; so different artists will be appropriate to our work at different times. News of the company’s current interests and activity will be posted on the NTW website/social network.
Inviting Us to See Your Work
We want to encourage as much production of new work in Wales as possible; particularly by independent and emerging companies and artists. So, if your work is being produced, let us know and we will try our best to come and see it. In fact, if it is being produced by an independent professional-level company (which could include a company that you have set up), it is taking place in Wales, and you let us know about it at least a month in advance, we promise to come and see it (barring unforeseen circumstances), or to send an artist we trust to see it on our behalf and report back.
If the event is a public performance please add the show to our events section on the NTW Community. This allows you to let us and the wider community know about it. Once you’ve created the event send Simon Coates a message on the community letting him know you’ve added the event and you’d like us to come. At our weekly team meetings we’ll look at all the events we’ve been invited to and allocate them to members of staff. The further in advance you do this the better. Like you, we’re very busy and the more notice you giver us the easier it will be for us to ensure we get to see your work. If you give us less than a month's notice we might not be able to see it.
Productions we have seen will always be discussed at our monthly artistic meetings. We consider this the best way to get to know you and your work. We also review and ‘attend’ online projects, particularly if you set them up, or publicise them, through our site. We consider online initiatives to be an important part of the wider theatre picture.
Who reviews your work?
National Theatre Wales is committed to expert review of your work. However, we consider the company to comprise of all the artists and production staff who are working with us, not just salaried staff, so your work my be reviewed by qualified staff, by artists and producers who are currently collaborating with us on project, by trusted artists and producers who have a record of work with us, or by qualified individuals such as National Theatre Wales board members. All reports will be discussed at our monthly artistic meetings, with follow up and second opinions sought wherever appropriate. All discussions and records about your work will be kept confidential for your protection.
Everyone involved in reviewing or developing an artists work at National Theatre Wales will be expected to work in line with our policies for Equal Opportunities, Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults, and Dignity and Respect in the Workplace. These policies are available to you on request, and if you are ever treated in a way that falls below these professional standards by anyone involved with National Theatre Wales, we ask you to let us know so that we can address the problem as quickly as possible.