37 Plays, led by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in partnership with the New Vic and 11 other regional theatres has been launched today. The major new project is open to anyone in the UK and encourages people to write the stories of today.
The New Vic will work with local people of all ages throughout 2022 and into 2023, including 12 local schools, to inspire them to tell their stories for submission to the project.
37 Plays is open to anybody of any age whether they be a first-time writer, an emerging or a professional playwright. New Vic Youth Theatre members aged 13 to 19-years-old, as well as participants of the New Vic Education department’s regular adult groups and members of the public across Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme will be encouraged to take part.
Throughout the spring and summer, young people and adults will take part in play reading groups, with a focus on introducing them to great writing, before playwriting workshops are held in autumn. Submissions to the 37 Plays project will open from 1 to 31 January 2023, with the 37 chosen plays announced in April 2023 and performed script-in-hand across the UK and online in autumn 2023, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio.
Local schools taking part through the New Vic include lead school Springhead Primary School in Talke Pits, Baldwins Gate C.E Primary School, Betley C.E Primary School, Dove Bank Primary School in Kidsgrove, Ellison Primary Academy in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Harpfield Primary Academy, Hempstalls Primary School, Parkside Primary School in Stafford, Seabridge Primary School, St Luke’s Primary C.E Primary School in Silverdale, Sutherland Primary Academy, and Thursfield Primary School.
The website 37plays.co.uk has now launched, with a podcast and resources providing practical tips on writing a play, curated by award-winning playwrights Mark Ravenhill and Juliet Gilkes-Romero.
Submitted plays will be read by a national panel selected by the RSC’s network of Associate Regional Theatres.
Head of New Vic Education Jill Rezzano said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Royal Shakespeare Company for such an exciting and important event. 37 Plays will give us the chance to discover the fascinating stories and important voices in our community, creating a lasting treasure trove to celebrate and enjoy. It will also give us a golden opportunity to continue our work with schools and young people, using the unique qualities of writing drama to boost literacy skills and confidence to share our work with one another.”
New Vic Education Practitioner Becky Salt said: “37 Plays is an exciting opportunity for everyone to get involved in learning to write their very own new play. Whether you are an avid theatre goer or completely new to it, we believe everyone has a story to share. Exploring the many approaches to playwriting and providing supportive resources this opportunity will be accessible to every member of our community.”
Erica Whyman, Acting Artistic Director of the RSC said: “37 Plays represents the most ambitious, public writing project in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s history. After these last two years, we all have a story to tell, and what better way to have those stories come to life than write them for performance. Working very closely with our resilient partner theatres up and down the country we will set out to encourage everyone to find their voice. Shakespeare offers us such an amazing array of plots and characters and with this 37 Plays I have no doubt we will unearth an equally rich kaleidoscope of stories; comedies, tragedies, untold histories, from the fantastical to the startlingly familiar, we will celebrate new voices for different dramatic platforms whether that's on our stages, on our streets, in schools, online or in new locations and spaces we haven't explored yet.
“As we look forward to 2023 and to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio, we will celebrate this landmark moment in the company’s history with a remarkable new collection of plays that speak directly to our world today.”
37 Plays will be open for submissions nationwide from 1 to 31 January 2023. For more information visit 37plays.co.uk.