Writing for the stage in Scotland: what future do we want? Open Space event


You can access the notes and reports from this event on Devoted & Disgruntled's website!

Writing for the stage in Scotland: what future do we want was an Open Space event hosted by Playwrights' Studio, Scotland and facilitated by Improbable. This took place on Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 March 2014, 11.00 - 18.00 at CCA, Glasgow.

Over the course of the weekend, playwrights, theatre-makers, directors and others passionate about new writing gathered together to think, talk and dream about the future. They explored the idea that, if new work truly is the lifeblood of Scottish theatre, how do we make sure everyone is properly nurtured and rewarded? As ways of making work evolve and as audiences' expectations change, how do playwrights and other theatre-makers respond? What role can theatre play in a world where political and cultural certainties are disappearing?

These are some of the reasons why this Open Space event happened:

"Last year, playwrights and theatre-makers made it very clear what kind of future we didn't want to have imposed upon us. This is the opportunity to start thinking about the future we do want, from the inside out. In a room full of people, who all want to make great theatre, we can start to deal with how we go about it now, with honesty and understanding."

Linda McLean, Chairwoman, Playwrights' Studio, Scotland

"To me, theatre is a mercurial medium, constantly shifting and never easy to pin-down. Even though the way we create work for the stage continues to evolve, writing is almost always at the heart of it, whether it's a newly commissioned play, a piece made collaboratively or a text for music. This event is a fantastic opportunity for us to get together and talk, provoke and inspire one another with ideas, thoughts and questions. Even if you don't call yourself a playwright, we want to hear from you - it would be wonderful to hear as many voices as possible."

Nicholas Bone, Artistic Director, Magnetic North, board member

"Part of our role is bringing people together. And because Playwrights' Studio is 10 years old this year, we wanted to do this in a big way.

I have attended two Open Spaces and found them powerful and liberating. I also had a brilliant time, met new colleagues, made new alliances and discovered unexpected things about the people I work with regularly. Open Space has a track record in Scotland for really getting things done. Ideas about developing the young people's theatre sector and the National Theatre of Scotland gained real momentum through events just like this.

I am privileged to work at Playwrights' Studio. During the last decade, we have worked closely with thousands of you - as playwrights and colleagues working in the wider arts sector. You have taken us into your confidence, shared brilliant ideas, fledgling projects and cautious first drafts with us. We rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to all sit down together for a decent amount of time and share the joys and challenges of making theatre for audiences in Scotland."

Fiona Sturgeon Shea, Creative Director

What is Open Space?

Over the course of the weekend, you set the agenda to discuss, debate, take action and explore the future of theatre in Scotland and beyond. Open Space is a democratic and satisfying way of doing this as everyone gets the chance to propose a starting point for discussion, take part in any of the conversations or flit between them all. You get to contribute in whichever way you find most comfortable. Unexpected leaders emerge and rarely does anyone come away thinking, "I didn't get a chance to be involved."

Who was it for?

Everyone! We wanted this event to include all sorts of people - playwrights (and those writing for the stage in different ways), devisers, theatre-makers, directors, performers, designers, dramaturgs, producers, administrators, marketers, academics, journalists, audiences...the list goes on and on! The event was free. 

For more information about Open Space in general go to Improbable's website.

The project was funded by Creative Scotland as part of a Creative Economy (Sustainable Development) grant.  

Playwrights' Studio, Scotland acknowledges ongoing funding from Glasgow City Council and Creative Scotland.

Photo Credit: Julie Ellen's Twitter (@Julieellen1)

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