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Sally

Sally McKenzie

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: Queensland Arts - Performing > Theatre And Stage
To research screenwriting tenets within playwriting contexts and institutions with playwriting courses - UK, Canada, USA
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Summary of Key Findings

  • In Canada, the U.S. and the U.K, the playwright and their voice are revered
  • Canada’s Nationalist movement proved the making of Canadian Theatre
  • In Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. the playwright is developed by a range of initiatives, which are delivered by theatre companies, dedicated play-development agencies and festivals. Some are also writer‑driven
  • Writers’ groups are a cost-effective, low‑maintenance developmental activity, which engender a sense of community, foster collaborations, promote collegiality and provide a framework for critical response
  • New Dramatists, which was established in 1949, has set the tone for the development of playwrights across the U.S. by empowering them to drive their own development
  • Successful models are those that encompass development of playwrights in the company of fellow playwrights
  • Writer residencies in theatre companies need not impact on the finances of the theatre company. They give the playwright a ‘home’, a sense of community and confidence
  • The immersion into theatre life afforded by theatre internships is invaluable to the development of the playwright
  • One-act play festivals assist the playwright to develop from short form to long form
  • The role of the dramaturg is respected in Canada but generally not in the U.K.
  • Production is instrumental in developing playwrights
  • Playwrights should be allowed to fail
  • In the U.S., playwrights drive their own feedback after their play is read
  • In the U.K., some theatre companies develop playwrights by stepping them through the process of writing for smaller spaces to larger ones
  • The RSC often immerses a playwright in their company culture before commissioning them
  • Many of the companies and institutions that teach playwriting have affiliations with and are associated to universities. This assists with activities like staging script‑development conferences cost‑effectively
  • Change comes through passion, a sense of justice and focus
  • Canada’s Recommender Grants program is successful for both the theatre company and the playwright
  • The development of playwrights in Toronto rely on theatre companies not tertiary institutions
  • Playwrights in the U.S. are trained to work as both playwrights and TV writers, making a writing career financially viable
  • Playwrights in the U.S. are targeted by TV companies to work in their drama departments

Keywords: plays, stage plays, playwriting, playwrights, theatre, theater, play development, dramaturg, dramaturge, writer residencies, writer retreats, dramatic writing, drama, writers' groups

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