Festival of plays features new writing by postgraduate playwrights

Festival of plays features new writing by postgraduate playwrights

Eight short plays written by students on the Masters in Writing for Performance and Publication were recently performed as part of RIFT, a mini festival of new writing produced by the students in collaboration with the Leeds Playhouse (formally known as West Yorkshire Playhouse).

The plays, chosen for script-in-hand performances at stage@leeds, were selected from entries submitted by students on the Masters course. The selection panel was chaired by the festival director Alex Mitchell, and included the Course Leader, Garry Lyons and West Yorkshire Playhouse Associate Director Amy Leach, as well as student representatives from the course.

Amy said, “The West Yorkshire Playhouse has a strong history of working with the MA in Writing for Performance and Publication, and it has been fantastic to take this partnership to a new level, providing a hands-on opportunity for students to push themselves and their writing, to see this work realised by a professional team.”

Alex Mitchell worked with each of the chosen writers in developing their scripts in preparation for the event.  Alex is currently on the West Yorkshire Playhouses’ Director Development Scheme and was appointed as RIFT director from a list of over 20 applicants.

Alex said, “It was a fantastic opportunity to work with the wide variety of emerging talent that’s coming out of the University of Leeds, as well as an exceptional cast from across the North.

The RIFT festival emerged as a development of the formal partnership between the School of Performance and Cultural Industries and the Playhouse. Part of the partnership agreement focuses on the area of new playwriting development between the MA Writing for Performance and Publication and West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Literary Department.

The plays were performed by professional actors cast especially for the festival, giving the student playwrights a wonderful opportunity to see their work rehearsed and read at a high professional level.

Garry Lyons said, “RIFT was a terrific example of the University collaborating with a leading arts organisation to enhance the student experience while contributing to the development of emerging  professional talent.”

The plays performed were:

I’ve Got Time by Kieran Launder and Holly Collins
Robin and George by Sofie Rendall and Sean McMahon
Waiting by James Greenwood
The Hand that Feeds You by Nicole Joseph
Other Ways of Knowing by Laurel Myler
Eddie by Luke Haywood and Jack Edwards
A Very Important Meeting by Sofia Rendall
A British Do by Charlotte Dalrymple