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Programme launched to give unheard voices in Welsh theatre a platform

Sherman Theatre
Sherman Theatre has launched a new initiative designed to ensure that unheard voices in Welsh theatre become heard. 

Each year Unheard Voices will champion a different group we would like to be heard more on our stages. In its first year Sherman Theatre’s Unheard Voices will connect, inspire and empower Welsh and Wales-based female writers through a year-long programme of masterclasses and networking opportunities.

Unheard Voices will enable participants to develop their skills, build their professional network and begin a long lasting relationship with Sherman Theatre. Twelve masterclasses will be delivered by key figures in theatre including: Suzanne Bell (New Writing Associate, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Emma Callander (CoArtistic Director, Theatre Uncut), Katherine Chandler (Playwright) Sharon Clark (Playwright, Dramaturg, Producer and Creative Director of Raucous), Jo Clifford (Playwright), Deirdre O’Halloran (Literary Manager, Bush Theatre), Charlotte Josephine (Actor and Writer), Lucy Morrison (Associate Director, Royal Court Theatre), Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (Playwright), and Nina Steiger (Senior Dramaturg, National Theatre).

At the end of the year, participants will be invited to attend a de-brief session led by Sherman Theatre’s Artistic Director Joe Murphy. Throughout the year participants will also be invited to Sherman Theatre production press nights and to other networking opportunities. Participants will be encouraged to see Sherman Theatre as their home and as somewhere where they would have space to develop work. Unheard Voices is part of the Sherman Theatre’s work to support artist development and to build a dynamic and resilient Welsh theatre sector.

Sherman Theatre’s Artistic Director Joe Murphy has said “I am so excited to be launching our new Unheard Voices initiative. At Sherman Theatre we are committed to identifying, nurturing, and producing creative talent from all walks of life: we want everyone to feel safe, welcome and supported here. Unheard Voices is just the first step in cementing Sherman Theatre’s place in our community as a home for all Welsh and Wales based artists.”

The programme is open to Welsh and Wales based writers with any level of experience. Writers need not have extensive experience of writing for the stage. A panel of experts has been assembled to consider submissions from those who would like to take part in Unheard Voices. Places will be offered based on potential. Submissions will be accepted in both Welsh and English. The panel includes Playwright and Sherman Theatre Associate Artist Katherine Chandler, Writer and Theatre Maker Branwen Davies, Director Sara Lloyd, Actor and Sherman Theatre Associate Artist Suzanne Packer, and BBC Writersroom Development Producer Helen Perry.

Suzanne Packer said “It’s so important to hear stories from the real life experiences of people we might never come into contact with in order to extend our understanding of other perspectives. So really looking forward to hearing these new pieces.”

Branwen Davies said “Rydw i’n edrych ymlaen i fod ar y panel gan ei fod yn gyfle cyffroes i ddarllen a mwynhau amrywiaeth o ddramâu gan ferched sydd a rhywbeth unigryw i’w ddweud ac i’w rannu. Mae’n bwysig bod y cyfle hwn yn bodoli er mwyn dangos ymrwymiad y theatr i wrando, datblygu, cefnogi a dathlu lleisiau gwahanol ein cymdeithas. Mae lle i’r lleisiau yma a mae’r Sherman eisiau eu clywed! / I’m looking forward to being on the panel because it’s an exciting opportunity to read and enjoy a diverse range of plays by women who have something unique to say and to share. It’s an important programme because it shows the theatre’s commitment to listen, develop, support and champion the different voices in our society. There is room for these voices and the Sherman want to hear them!”

Details on how to apply can be found online at shermantheatre.co.uk/unheardvoices.
Deadline for submissions is 15th April 12 noon.