Perth Theatre has teamed up with Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Birnam Arts, Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland and local playwright Lesley Wilson to launch Perthshire Plays, an intensive 2-year programme to support new and existing playwrights from across Perth and Kinross.

Perthshire Plays launched on Monday 27 January in Perth Theatre, as 11 playwrights, chosen through an open selection process, met with Lesley Wilson for the first of a series of regular Playwriting Group meetings. They heard the story of James Croll, a Perthshire man who is credited as being the world’s first climate change scientist from Mike Robinson, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society – a prompt for new pieces of writing telling positive stories around climate change.

The Playwriting Group will give participants the tools to write a play, improve their writing skills, and increase their confidence in a supportive environment.

Participants will receive script-in-progress feedback from Lu Kemp, artistic director for Perth Theatre and Elizabeth Newman, artistic director for Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

Writers' desks will be available for use free of charge at Perth Theatre, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Birnam Arts and Playwrights' Studio, Scotland.

Perthshire audiences will be able to get involved through a series of public events. This will include masterclasses led by some of Scotland’s most acclaimed playwrights and leading stars who have brought their work to life. The programme of events will include a series of lunchtime performances featuring work developed through the programme covering local issues ranging from Perthshire history to climate change.

Lu Kemp said:

“We are thrilled to be launching Perthshire Plays in partnership with Playwrights’ Studio Scotland, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Birnam Arts. We are looking forward to building a strong network of playwrights living outwith the Central Belt, and to supporting the development of their craft. We hope to bring fresh, entertaining writing to our audiences through lunchtime theatre events in Perth Theatre Café and Bar.”

Pitlochry Festival Theatre Associate Director, Caitlin Skinner said:

“At Pitlochry Festival Theatre we grow plants, plays and people and our Highland Perthshire home is rich with stories and storytellers who we want to nourish here at the theatre. That’s why we are so happy to be collaborating with our friends at Perth Theatre, Birnam Arts and Playwright’s Studio Scotland, to develop playwrights in Perthshire and to allow our audience the chance to hear those stories, fresh from local artists.”

Drew Campbell of Birnam Arts said:

"We're so pleased to be working with our colleagues at Perth Theatre and Pitlochry Festival Theatre as a part of this ground-breaking project. Theatre plays such a vital part in our national and local life, and we're particularly fortunate here in Perthshire to have a wealth of talent, history, and skilled professionals to draw upon. Thanks to the Playwrights' Studio for their boldness in supporting this venture, the next couple of years will be an exciting prospect for Perthshire, playwrights, and anyone who cares about homegrown drama and theatre."

Fiona Sturgeon Shea, creative director and chief executive of Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland said:

“As Scotland’s national playwright development organisation, we are dedicated to supporting playwrights in every part of the country. As a small team with big ambitions, we initiated this project to find partners who shared our vision of Scotland as ‘a place for playwrights.’ Birnam Arts, Perth Theatre and Pitlochry Festival Theatre proposed an exciting and collaborative programme that connects playwrights strongly with local audiences, venues and the inspiring landscape, places and spaces of the region. After a period of intense planning, we are delighted to unveil Perthshire Plays and its component parts.

This includes the eleven-strong group of playwrights who come from an exciting mix of creative backgrounds and are united in their commitment and infectious enthusiasm for writing new plays for the stage. Guided by the project’s Associate Playwright, Lesley Wilson, and with generous contributions from all of the partners, we look forward to working actively and creatively with them and sharing their playwriting journey!”

Thursday 30 January 2020