Doncaster playwright & Lantern Theatre searches for local writers

Rony Robinson
Rony Robinson

Sheffield’s Lantern Theatre is searching for three new playwrights in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire regions.

The theatre wishes to find and develop new local talent and are asking for local unpublished writers to submit ideas throughout July. From September 2012 the theatre we will then work with the chosen writers alongside established playwrights to perform the finished work at the Lantern in June 2013.

Overseen by Artistic Director Ruth Carney the three writers will be mentored by award winning playwrights Richard Cameron, Simon Burt and Rony Robinson. The writers will be mentored to write a one act play that will be developed over 9 months, this will include help with structure, ideas, draft notes and preparing actors to read and feedback on the work. Then over two weeks in June the plays will be showcased in a produced event at the theatre.

Artistic Director Ruth Carney and Creative Producer (Theatre) Martin Derbyshire will shortlist a selection of plays that will then be passed to the mentors to make their final decision by the September 14 2012. Writers can submit ideas throughout July and must be living in the South Yorkshire or North Derbyshire area. Writers need to submit either a play or an excerpt and a treatment for an idea. Ideas need to be submitted with contact details to or by post direct to the theatre.

Ruth Carney today said “ This is an exciting opportunity for local talent to work with us, we want to offer unpublished writers the unique experience of working with a professional company and three award winning writers. I’m positive there is some brilliant local talent out there, we want to nurture and develop this and help someone up the ladder towards a career in writing for theatre.”

Acclaimed Doncaster playwright Richard Cameron will mentor; Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down was originally written and directed by Richard for his drama students and became a huge success at the Edinburgh Festival where they represented the National Student Theatre Company and won, as well as a Fringe First, The Independent Theatre Award for best over-all production. Part of the award was a transfer to Hampstead Theatre, London, where it sold out every night of a three week run. It was this play which changed the direction of Richard’s work from teacher to full time playwright. He continues to write for theatre, radio and television, having won the Sunday Times Playwriting Award three times, the inaugural Dennis Potter Television Play of The Year Award for Stone, Scissors Paper – with Juliet Stevenson and Ken Stott (filmed in Sprotborough, by the Don Gorge), and the Mental Health in The Media Award for his radio drama The Kon Tiki 2 Expedition. His playThe Glee Club for The Bush Theatre transferred to the west end and toured nationally. He adapted Berlie Docherty’s Sheffield story Dear Nobody for BBC television. Almost all of Richard’s work is set in South Yorkshire. Richard’s latest play Roma and The Flannelettes for Theatre By The Lake, Keswick, is part of their 2012 season.

Simon Burt will be the second mentor; Simon grew up in Wakefield and moved to London to be part of the Royal Court Young Writers Group. His playsUntouchable, Got to be Happy and Bottle Universe all premiered at The Bush Theatre and met with uniformly excellent reviews, and his site specific play,Reason, Season, Lifetime, premiered as part of the summer festival at The Almeida Theatre. Simon’s written two Afternoon Plays for BBC Radio 4, Another Big Day and It’s Not You and has contributed two episodes to the long running ITV drama Where The Heart Is. Simon is a script reader for the Almeida Theatre and the annual Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Simon is currently writing more plays, as well as developing original drama projects for television with Little Brother Productions and Tiger Aspect.

Rony Robinson will be the third mentor. He is a writer and broadcaster, born and lives in Sheffield. His adult novels include The Beano (Faber),about the 1914 brewery trip to Scarborough that also became a 90 minute Radio 4 play and a stage performance in innumerable play and a stage performance in innumerable versions, including a musical and a ballet. His most successful children’s work is his Faber novel I Want Doesn’t Get (Faber) that teaches children how to survive their parents-as does his much used play for young people Frankly Frankie. (Macmillan). He was BT Millennium Playwright in 1998, and his No Love Lost (French) was produced by 38 companies simultaneously- including the real world premiere at the Lantern. His four BBC Radio plays about sex in unlikely places includes the Sony award winning No Love Lost on Radio 4, with songs by Sally Goldsmith. He presents the morning programme on BBC Radio Sheffield six days a week. He was Sony award runner up for national Local Broadcaster of the Year (Silver). He published his memoirs Who’s Been Talking? in aid of the Sheffield Children’s Hospital last year telling some of the unlikely things that have happened in his 26 years on the radio and elsewhere.