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Birds of Paradise & Playwrights' Studio Mentoring Award

for a disabled playwright

Applications are now closed.

A career in the arts is not straightforward for anyone, and we recognise that disabled artists face increased barriers; from starting out to working professionally. This new opportunity, created in partnership with Birds of Paradise, will support an aspiring playwright with an exciting and strong idea who would benefit from some time, resources and expertise to flourish.

The Birds of Paradise & Playwrights' Studio Mentoring Award is a professional development opportunity for an aspiring disabled* playwright living in Scotland, with a genuine commitment to writing for theatre.

The Programme gives the playwright the structure and support to write the play they want to write, without the constraints of writing in a particular style or for a specific brief. They will improve their playwriting skills and gain valuable insight into the playwriting process.

A message about COVID-19

Delivery of the Programmes
There will inevitably be some changes to how we deliver our Programmes now and in the future. We anticipate that much of the activity in 2020 will not take place face-to-face but will happen online or in alternative ways. We will be flexible to the needs of playwrights and other artists involved, within Government guidelines and our own resources.

In applying for our Programmes, we invite you to think about stories, characters, settings, language or forms that challenge you creatively. We are launching these Programmes in the half-space between lockdown and the 'new normal,' but things are changing all the time. So, that monologue about isolation written and performed for Zoom which feels vital right now may not have the enduring appeal you intended.

Our message to you is not to limit your imagination or feel restricted in the stories you want to tell or how you want to tell them.

What is included as part of the Birds of Paradise Mentoring Award?

  • A £2,000 cash bursary 
  • Six mentoring sessions (one two-hour session each month for six months from January to June with an experienced professional playwright. This includes script-in-progress feedback).
  • Four skills workshops. In previous years, these have included Writing for Radio with former BBC Radio Drama Producer David Ian Neville and Introduction to the Business of Playwriting with playwright and screenwriter Stephen Greenhorn.
  • Community building, including the skills workshops, panel discussions and opportunities to meet socially.
  • A Cultural Trip, which includes a visit to the theatre to see a play with other playwrights from the Playwriting Programme, and the opportunity to meet key practitioners in Scottish theatre. At present, it isn't possible to schedule this precisely but it is hoped that this will take place no later than spring 2021.


Playwrights' Studio, Scotland and Birds of Paradise will work closely with the playwright selected for this Programme to ensure that their specific requirements are met. For example, this could be provision of BSL interpreters at mentoring sessions, travel expenses, childcare costs or simply documents printed in a different format. We have a dedicated access budget that enables us to provide this support. If you would like to, please contact us via to discuss what we can do to support you through the Programme.

Dates for your diary:

Friday 4 December Playwriting Programme Induction Day
w/c 25 January First Mentoring Session - two-hour meeting with your mentor
w/c 22 February Second Mentoring Session - two-hour meeting with your mentor
Friday 26 February Playwriting Workshop
w/c 29 March Third Mentoring Session - two-hour meeting with your mentor
Friday 2 April Panel Discussion with key practitioners in Scotland
w/c 26 April Fourth Mentoring Session - two-hour meeting with your mentor
Friday 30 April Playwriting Workshop
w/c 24 May Fifth Mentoring Session - two-hour meeting with your mentor
w/c 28 June Final Mentoring Session - two-hour meeting with your mentor
July Individual read-through of your script with a professional director and a cast of professional actors. More information will be available at the Playwriting Programme Induction Day.
August/September Day of Playwriting Workshops delivered by external partners

Before starting your application, please read the Frequently Asked Questions and use the practice application form & guide.

*A note on terminology - what do we mean by disabled?

We use the term 'disabled people' or 'disabled artists' to refer to anyone who self-identifies as disabled. This can include D/deaf people if they identify as disabled as well as others living with impairments (physical, sensory, learning, cognitive, mental health, etc.) that identify as disabled. Birds of Paradise and Playwrights' Studio use the Social Model of Disability and recognise that some people experience disabling barriers.

We recognise that some D/deaf people may not identify as disabled.

This award is open to anyone who identifies as disabled and meets the criteria on the How to Apply page.





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