Thursday 27 August 2009

GAZE Winners

The Dublin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, GAZE, has announced the winners of its festival prizes:

Best Film: Grey Gardens written by Michael Sucsy and Patricia Rozema, based on a story by Michael Sucsy, and directed for HBO by Michael Sucsy.

Best Documentary: Identities, written and directed by Vittoria Colonna Di Stigliano.

Sheridan gets Pecked

Irish writer, director and producer Jim Sheridan has been named the recipient of this year's Gregory Peck Award, an honour that is bestowed by the Dingle Film Festival in recognition of Excellence in the Art of Film.

The Gregory Peck Award will be presented to Sheridan by Anthony Peck, Gregory Peck's son, at the ceremony in The Phoenix Cinema, Dingle on Friday 11th September at 8pm.

C4 Looking for New Drama

The Stage reports that the upside of Channel 4's decision to axe the reality TV show Big Brother is that the broadcaster is going to inject an extra £20 million a year into its drama budget.

Director of television and content at Channel 4, Kevin Lygo, said the extra funds in the drama budget would allow the broadcaster to deliver more "event dramas" such as this year’s Red Riding and The Devil’s Whore, but added Channel 4 would be looking for "more quirky, returnable series aimed at younger audiences".

In addition, he revealed that Channel 4 was looking for a long-running comedy drama and single films that can sit "at the heart" of themed seasons.

"Channel 4 is at its best when it does things that others don’t or won’t. This is a fresh opportunity to reach out to audiences underserved by drama on the more mainstream channels. We don’t want to be prescriptive about themes or formats. We just want the most creative ideas from Britain’s best new and established drama talent," Lygo said.

Wednesday 26 August 2009

New Film Strategies Needed

The Washington Post has a long article analysing the current trends in the American box office, and what effect this might have on the production of new films in the coming years.

Two kinds of films are doing well: big budget blockbusters with visual impact (and often little else), and the low-budget indie film. One is making money by satisfying the desire in moviegoers for the visual spectacle, and the other is earning because of its low outlay.

The middle-range, well-made film with strong performances is suffering. One distributor in the USA is releasing such films in the theatres, and on its cable company simultaneously, so it can capitalise on the buzz of the film's launch and yet reach those viewers who don't want to leave their couches.

The usual Hollywood strategy of paying $20 million for a prominent actor and expecting that to translate into box office sales for a film is no longer working.

The marketing of the film is being deemed as critical:

Hollywood Reporter writer Carl DiOrio, who in April wrote about the struggles of adult-oriented dramas, says it all comes down to one thing: marketing. "It's less about whether there will be actual motion pictures and more about whether they're concepts that are easily marketed," he says. "You need to let the viewer understand what their moviegoing experience is going to be like in a very simple TV message, and that's not easily done unless you have something that can be boiled down to a [one-sentence synopsis]. And the [typical] modestly budgeted adult-oriented drama of the character-driven variety doesn't really lend itself to a convenient marketing hook."

(Last winter's "Taken" and the current "Julie & Julia," both adult-aimed movies that have done well, exemplify DiOrio's point. One is a fast-moving action thriller about a retired CIA agent who must rescue his abducted daughter. The other features a beloved actress playing an equally beloved American icon, in a story set in romantic postwar France and full of delicious shots of food and cooking. What's not to like?)

Bickford echoes DiOrio's observation. "As long as you can figure out a way to market these movies without spending your entire profit, they'll be made," she says.

"The last 18 months have been just devastating," she continues. "But in terms of audiences for these movies, they're there. Look at how many people want to see Meryl Streep play Julia Child."

YouTube Addresses Copyright

Wired has an interesting article on how the issue of copyright infringement on YouTube is being tackled.

Its ContentID program was initially designed to discover and delete copyrighted material from YouTube. Now, it can also compensate artists whose work is being infringed:

YouTube's database of audio and video fingerprints is learning how to deal with the fact that the guy who added a saxophone part to a particular song deserves a certain minute percentage of revenue when the song appears in your YouTube video. When you upload a video with someone else's song as the soundtrack, you infringe on two exclusive rights of the copyright holder: the right to to distribute the work and the right to synchronize it to video. Nobody cares.

YouTube's database pays the saxophonist (and everyone else with a stake in the song) a percentage of ad revenue, depending on the way their contracts worked out. This explains why the JK Wedding Dance video was able to feature Chris Brown's “Forever” without permission, without being taken down.

That said, you can't please everyone. Warner Music Group thinks YouTube's revenue-sharing deal is too paltry and refuses to participate. The label also has a problem with guitar-themed videogames and a longstanding quarrel with YouTube.

But Warner's in the minority here. Other major (and independent) labels have embraced YouTube's partner program, so that in many cases, you can put entire copyrighted songs in your videos and upload them to YouTube. Just one caveat: If it becomes a hit - as the folks behind the JK Wedding Video found out - the rights-holders of the music will get paid while you, most likely, will not.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

GTF Invites Scripts

The Galway Theatre Festival invites submissions of scripts for a series of rehearsed readings.

Plays should be previously unproduced, and not exceed 90 minutes. One Act plays are not accepted.

Successful scripts will be performed as rehearsed readings during the Galway Theatre Festival, a new venture by the Galway Arts Centre, which runs from October 22 - 25 at the Nuns Island Studio.

Please include a brief outline of writing and theatre experience along with the submission.

The deadline for scripts is September 17th 2009.

Send electronic copies to:, and hard copies should be labelled 'Galway Theatre Festival Script' and posted to Galway Arts Centre, 47 Dominic St, Galway.

NI Digital Shorts

Northern Ireland Screen's next four digital short films have gone into production. They are:

  • Davy Jones - written and directed by Richard Parkin.
  • Paint - written by Andrew and Ryan Tohill and directed by Andrew Tohill.
  • Sundays - written and directed by Alanna Riddell.
  • The Dinner Party - written by Mark Jordan and directed by Michael Lennox.
Northern Ireland Screen and The UK Film Council's Digital Shorts scheme is a year long programme which aims to seek out and develop new filmmaking talent and enable them to make innovative short films using digital technology.

Festival of World Cultures

The Festival of World Cultures is going on this weekend (the 29-30 August) in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin.

Immersed in folk, traditional, eclectic, tribal, digital and the experimental, the dlr Festival of World Cultures presents a kaleidoscopic programme of concerts & club nights, fairs & markets, performances, street events, workshops and so much more. Ireland's first Global Carnival!

The Festival is committed to presenting a series of world music concerts that can be experienced by all in a unique and intimate local setting while also offering a 'passport to the world' programme of events, many of which are free to all.

Monday 24 August 2009

Artists Tax Exemption Under Threat

Last Friday the Irish Times broke the story that the Commission on Taxation made 250 recommendations for changes in taxation in Ireland, which included scrapping the Artists Tax Exemption.

Just a month ago the same newspaper reported that there was little windfall to be made from this move. Since the exemption was capped two years ago any artist making a living over €250,000 a year has been paying taxes.

Only 21 artists earned between €500,000 and €1 million, and a further 27 artists earned between €250,000 and €500,000.

Therefore only 48 artists in this country earn over the current cap of €250,000.

A further 129 artists earn in the €100,000 to €250,000 income bracket.

The majority of people registered on the scheme - that's 1,366 artists - earn less than €10,000 a year and the tax lost to the State as a result of their claims is less than €1 million.

While a case can be made for reducing the cap on the exemption, scrapping it entirely will hit the medium group the hardest: those who are barely making a living wage because they are not paying taxes on their income.

It's incredible that in 1969, when our country was hardly affluent, Charlie Haughey had the foresight to establish the Artists Tax Exemption. Through that initiative he established Ireland as a country friendly to the Arts, and which valued creative people's contribution to society.

I'm reminded of the first stanza of Yeats's poem "September 1913":

What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone?
For men were born to pray and save:
Romantic Ireland's dead and gone,
It's with O'Leary in the grave.

Approaches for New Playwrights

The Irish Times has an article today about the difficulties new playwrights face breaking into the industry and having their plays produced.

Handily, the piece also lists several avenues playwrights can pursue if they have a script ready to send out.

Friday 21 August 2009

IWC Courses

The following courses should be of particular interest to our members, and are only two among many that the Irish Writers' Centre is offering in the coming months:

From Story to Screenplay taught by Michael O'Loughlin
Many features films are based on short stories or novels. But the process of turning one into the other is often more complex than it might appear. In this ten-week course we will look at the techniques needed to turn the story into the screenplay, breaking down each into its key components. We will be analyzing the different kinds of structure in story and screenplay, as well as characterization and plot, using some well-known examples. This is a practice-oriented course, particularly suited to writers who have a completed story they want to turn into a screenplay. The workshops will be weekly, on Wednesdays 6.30pm - 8.30pm, starting September 23, and costs €300.

Screenwriting Workshop taught by Ailbhe Ní Ghiolla Bhríde
A one-day workshop on Saturday, the 19th September, as part of the week-long IMRAM Irish language literature festival.

Further information on the courses is available from the IWC web site.

Thursday 20 August 2009

The Twelve

The Royal Exchange is looking for submissions for The Twelve, its Young Playwrights Course (YPC), which is a free four week course aiming to identify and develop writers of potential between the ages of 18 and 30.

Meeting on Saturdays 17 and 24 October (10am – 5pm) and 31 October and 7 November (10am – 1pm), twelve writers will be taught the craft of writing – from the principles of story and plot through to the structuring of scenes, the development of theme and the generation of ideas. By the end of the course, the writers will have generated an idea for a play and developed this into a storyline. They will then have a further six weeks to write that play. The course will be led by Jo Combes, Associate Director at the Royal Exchange, and award-winning dramatist Nick Leather.

In January 2010 the young playwrights will be given one-to-one tutorials on their plays, and advice on the future. All of the writers who complete an original play on deadline, and to an acceptable standard, will pass the course. The graduates of the YPC will continue to have a relationship with the theatre and have access to the Literary Department.

In addition to their tuition, they will receive two scripts to read before the start of the course and must write a short review on each. Each week they will receive a further script to read and review for the following week. They will also be eligible for discounted tickets to selected productions at the theatre throughout the course.

During the course, the young writers will have access to an online message board, allowing them to share and discuss their ideas and stories together. Following the course, all graduates will have access to a further message board which will allow them to stay in touch and provide mutual support via an online community.

This intensive course will aim to be prestigious, both for the theatre and the graduates, and be built around creating the best environment for promising young writers to fulfil their potential. Over time, the YPC should generate an exciting group of playwrights, who would carry the good name of the theatre on all their future achievements.

The deadline for entries is the 4th September 2009, and information on how to apply is available from the web site.

The Sitcom Trials

The Sitcom Trials is a UK comedy show where brand-new sitcoms compete, and the members of the audience vote for their favourite.

The aim of the Sitcom Trials is to find new situation comedy ideas and scripts, and also to discover professional quality comedy writing and performing talents. We do this through a show which also has to be consistently entertaining. To ensure that the show remains entertaining for the audience, we use a previously established format which keeps the audience directly involved in the outcome of the show, and rewards their participation.

Script Format: 10 minute script with "cliffhanger" and payoff
So, every sitcom script has to be no more than 10 minutes long, culminating in a "cliffhanger" or ad-break moment, leaving the audience wondering what will happen next. The script must then include a 2-3 minute "payoff" ending scene, which will be performed only if that script wins the audience vote.

Submissions are open for the Autumn 09 season, celebrating its 10th anniversary as a contest to find the best new sitcom scripts and comedy writers and showcase their work in front of a live audience and a panel of leading industry figures.

Scripts will be accepted until Midnight on Sunday 6th September

The live shows will take place from mid October in a knockout format in front of an invited panel of industry judges each week..

Last year's grand final saw heads of comedy and entertainment from BBC television and radio, Channel 4, and ITV deciding a winner, and the hunt is now on for new scripts to compete in the new series of live shows throughout October and November.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Culture Night 2009

Yesterday the Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) and Lord Mayor Cllr Emer Costello officially launched the programme of events for this year's Culture Night, which will take place on Friday 25th September across the 11 participating towns, cities and counties in Ireland.

Grainne Millar, Head of Cultural Development at TBCT said "Culture Night 2009 is a unique platform that presents the wealth and variety of Irish cultural treasures on a scale that is accessible for everyone. We are delighted to be in a position, in our fourth year, to bring together cultural communities across Ireland to capture the imagination of an estimated 500,000 people as they go out and explore culture on their own doorstep. Culture Night began in 2006 with an attendance of 40,000. The year on year growth and the participation of 11 towns, cities and counties this year is a reflection of the enormous positive contribution culture can make to our society"

"In these times, it is more important than ever for Culture Night to connect with families and strengthen the relationship between culture and the public against the backdrop of current economic difficulty so that we can imagine a different future where culture is recognized as an intrinsic dimension to our development and growth as a society"

A brand new Culture Night logo 'See All Sorts', designed by Maeve Keane from DIT, Mountjoy Square, illustrates the diverse mix of culture that visitors can expect to experience on the night. From live animals in the Dead Zoo in Dublin to a Lord Mayor's Tea Dance in Cork; Theatrical Entertainment in Galway to An Cosán Glas sculpture trail in Letterkenny; a tour of a thousand years of art and antiquities in the Hunt Museum in Limerick to an Altered Images exhibition in Ballina, Mayo; a tour of Artists Studios in Boyle and Roscommon to a bag of culture on the culture trail in Sligo; Dancing In The Green in Tralee to culture in Waterford and An Céilí Mor in Dun Mhuire Theatre, Wexford.

In Dublin a record 124 cultural venues will open their doors for Culture Night including St Stephen's Green Park, the National Museum of Ireland, the Science Gallery Trinity College, The Revenue Museum, Guinness Storehouse, RTÉ Performing Groups, Dublin Castle State Apartments, Gallery Zozimus and a Francis Street Treasure Hunt, The Ark Cultural Centre for Children and much more.

Not Up in Smoke

The Irish Times reports that archaeologists have uncovered artefacts and part of the original Smock Alley theatre (then known as the Smoke Alley theatre) - which dates back to 1662 - during a dig at the site.

Commenting on the discoveries yesterday, Patrick Sutton, director of the Gaiety School of Acting and the Smock Alley project, said what had been found was "not only the original walls of the 1662 building but of some of the walls of the later buildings". He said a mosaic tiled floor uncovered was "as ornamental and beautiful as anything you would see". Also recovered were timbers from the theatre's stage, wine bottles and a man's wig curler.

The discoveries, which form a national monument, are being recorded in situ before being moved to the National Museum. The excavation, which ended yesterday, will be sealed up on Monday, but it is hoped a permanent exhibition will be incorporated in the completed complex.

Mr Sutton paid tribute to the archaeologist Linzi Simpson, who he said had surprised him with the discovery when he returned from America. He also paid tribute to the Temple Bar Cultural Trust, Dublin City Council and the Department of Arts for their help in bringing the €8 million project along. "We have more than half the funding in place and will be setting up a foundation in the States to get the rest, I am confident it will be done," he said.

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Story Development for Film and TV

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is running a course on Story Development for Film and Television over a three-month period starting on 22 September, 2009.

Participant Profile:
Irish professionals involved in producing, writing, development, directing and script editing in the television and film industry. Participants should be involved in developing current serialised or feature fiction projects.

Course Profile:
The aim of this course is to enhance participants' understanding of the story development process for both for serialised content and feature films. Through project development, participants will gain an understanding of the TV drama and feature film development process, the different drama formats, how cinematic and televisual storytelling differ, and the roles and responsibilities of writers, script editors, directors and producers in the development process.

The course will mentor eight projects through 3-4 months of development from idea to first draft stage – four television projects, and four feature projects. Projects can be writer-led or submitted by companies, and projects with either one participant or a team are welcome. Teams can be comprised of writers, writers/directors, writers/directors/producers, writers/script editors, writers/script editors/producers, or writers combined with anyone involved in the creative development process. Through project development, lectures, exercises and case studies, the creative team identifies the key milestones in the development process, and how to achieve the best possible results through creative collaboration.

An additional strand of the programme seeks script editors to apply without a project, and collaborate on writer-only participating projects. There will be two script editor participants who will attend all project sessions and also partake in additional sessions in order to enhance their story development, communication, and production skills. These two participants can be freelance script editors seeking to enhance their skills, development assistants in production companies, assistant script editors on television, or development personnel seeking to enhance their understanding and engagement in the script development process.

On completion of training the students will be able to:
  • Identify suitable TV drama vs. cinematic/feature concepts
  • Identify different drama formats and slots.
  • Correctly structure an episode of television drama or feature film.
  • Explore character and story arcs over the course of an episode and a series
  • Identify different television formats – series, serials, etc.
  • Write a treatment for a television drama or feature film.
  • Write a Step Outline for a television drama or feature film.
  • Write a series bible
  • Work collaboratively with writers, directors, script editors and producers.
  • Work to tight television and feature film deadlines
  • Be aware of and rewrite for production considerations

The cost of the course is €750.00, and all applications must be processed via the FSTI web site. The deadline for application is: Wednesday, 2nd September 2009.

Irish Meet-Up at Edinburgh

Culture Ireland, the Consulate General of Ireland to Scotland and Irish Theatre Institute will host a networking event in Edinburgh on August 22nd to celebrate and promote the programme of Irish work at this year's Festival which includes:

This annual networking event enables the Irish companies and artists to meet with international presenters and to promote their work with a view to international touring in 2010/11.

Friday 14 August 2009

NWU Against Google Deal

Wired reports that the National Writers Union -- which represents 1,500 freelance writers -- has officially come out in opposition to the Google Book Settlement.

The union, which helps freelance writers recover money from publications that don’t pay as promised, has not yet decided whether to file a friend-of-the-court brief or talk to the U.S. Justice Department, according to Tom Gradel, a member of the union’s Chicago steering committee. It decided to oppose the deal after days of discussion and a vote at its recent biennial convention.

Finger Puppet Film Competition

Popular snack food Hula Hoops is running a competition for people to create a finger puppet film in under two minutes using your fingers, Hula Hoops and whatever props stimulate your imagination.

Films will be judged in the following categories: The People's Choice Award (the top-rated film), Best film, Best costume design, Best actor/actress, and Best use of sound.

All films will be uploaded to the web site and voted on by the public. The closing date is 22 November 2009, but the earlier the film is online the earlier people can vote for it. No copyrighted music or material may be used in the film.

The top prize is a trip to Hollywood.

All details about the competition are available from the web site.

Thursday 13 August 2009

Dublin Fringe 09

The programme for the forthcoming Dublin Fringe Festival (5-20 September) is now online, and tickets can be booked for all the shows.

From a barge on Grand Canal Dock to an abandoned ward in St Brendan's Hospital, from a pastoral meadow on Dame Street to a looming shadow over west Temple Bar; this festival is all over and all about Dublin.

Those with a keen sense of adventure, who love finding the festival in the most unusual and extreme locations should take a look at our 'Totally Fringe' shows, or see what your 'Fringe Favourites' are up to this year. And if you're on a tight budget, don't worry - we've got lots of free shows and many more that are under a tenner.

And make sure you check out the Absolut Fringe Factory at Smock Alley Theatre, where we've programmed some of our most exciting, radical and thought provoking shows.

You can download the 2009 programme by clicking here (6MB .PDF)

Wednesday 12 August 2009

Touch Film Festival

BlackBerry and Vodafone have launched the Touch Film Festival, which will showcase recreated scenes from famous films shot on mobile phone cameras.

Entrants are encouraged to be as creative as possible, and the scenes can be from 10 seconds to 3 minutes maximum in duration. The public will rate the top 30 films, and they will be put forward to a judging panel led by host, writer and TV and radio broadcaster, John Kelly. Judging will be based on originality and creativity.

Three nominees will be selected from each genre: horror; comedy; science fiction; gangster; romance and action. These eighteen finalists will be invited to see their films screened at the Touch Film Festival Awards Ceremony in The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin on the 30th September 2009.

A winner from each category will be chosen, as well as an overall winner who will win a trip to Hollywood with 3 friends and spending money.

The closing date for entries is 6 September 2009, and further information on the application process is available from the web site.

Tuesday 11 August 2009

A Familiar Story

The Writers Guild of America (West) has published the 2009 Hollywood Writers Report, called Rewriting an All-Too-Familiar Story?, which looks at the statistics regarding the employment of screenwriters in Hollywood broken down by gender, race and age.

What's notable is that the percentage of women writing for film/television is not improving, and there is some evidence that their earnings are decreasing (these figures only go as far as 2007 before the current change in the economy). The situation among writers from a minority background has improved by a barest margin.

The following are some highlights from the report:

Women Writers' Overall Employment Share Remains Largely Flat

Between 2003 and 2007, gains for women writers have not exceeded one percentage point in any of the employment areas. Women, who account for slightly more than 50 percent of the U.S. population, remain underrepresented in television employment by 2 to 1 and in film employment by nearly 3 to 1.

Earnings Gender Gap in TV

Women television writers earned about the same in 2007 ($82,604) as they did at the beginning of the five-year report period in 2003 ($82,000), despite spikes in earnings in 2005 and 2006. The television earnings of white male writers, by contrast, increased by nearly $4,000 over the report period (from $84,300 to $87,984), after peaking at $100,000 in 2005 and 2006.

Earnings Gender Gap in Film

The gender earnings gap in film for 2007 ($41,724) was the largest since at least 2003. Film earnings for women were down from the 2003 figure of $62,500 in 2005 ($50,000), 2006 ($55,500), and 2007 ($57,151). By contrast, the earnings of white male writers increased by more than $8,000 over the period, from $90,476 in 2003 to $98,875 in 2007.

White Males Continue to Dominate in Overall Earnings; Minority Earnings Approach Those for Women

Minority writers earned $87,652 in 2007, compared to $90,686 for women and $112,500 for white males. The $24,848 gap between minority earnings and white male earnings in 2007 represents nearly a $14,000 reduction in the $38,490 gap evident in 2005, the last year covered in the previous report. Meanwhile, the overall earnings gap between minority writers and women writers closed to its smallest point in 2007 ($3,034), which improved upon a much wider gap in 2005 ($12,868). Nonetheless, the overall earnings of white male writers significantly outpaced those of the other groups throughout the study period, reflecting the continuing dominance of white males in the industry

Irish Opera's Proposed Merger

The Stage reports that the Arts Council is proposing to merge three Irish Opera companies - Wexford Festival Opera, Dublin-based Opera Ireland and the Opera Theatre Company (OTC) - into a single national company from 2011.

It's suggested that the merged opera companies will be based from the Wexford Opera House.

Opera Ireland, which confirmed it is considering the reform plan, acknowledged the need to find "an agreed way forward for the art form through the difficult financial climate in which we all find ourselves." But according to sources close to the discussions, there are members in all three companies who are less than happy with what is being proposed.

Under the shake-up plan, the functions of the three existing companies would be incorporated into the new national one, though staff would not automatically transfer. This, in turn, could lead to contracts having to be bought out and to redundancy payments, all of which could prove costly for the cash-strapped Arts Council.

Despite the potential difficulties, the council is optimistic the reform plan will get the go-ahead. It hopes to be able to reduce the level of grants to the three companies next year as they wind down and the new national company, with a name that "reflects its all-Ireland role and remit", gets ready to open for business.

Monday 10 August 2009

Galway Art Commission

Galway City Council invites artists and arts practitioners of all disciplines to submit proposals for a public art commission to take place in the Carrowbrowne Halting Site, Headford Rd, Galway. The budget for the Carrowbrowne Public Art Commission is €15,000.

The practitioner is asked to respond to the context of the Carrowbrowne site and its community towards the development of a new public arts project that will be informed by the culture and lives of the Traveller Community.

Proposals for any medium of the arts including Drama/Music/Dance/Literature/Sculpture/Visual Arts/Film/Performing Arts are accepted, as are proposals for temporary and engaged projects as well as permanent installations.

Proposals from members of the traveller community professionally involved in the arts are welcome.

Deadline: 4.00pm on Friday 25th September 2009.

Submissions to:
Megs Morley
Public Arts Officer
Galway City Council
College Rd

The full project brief is available to download, or can be obtained from the Public Arts Officer at or +353-91-536588

The Next Stage

The Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival in association with Theatre Forum and the Abbey Theatre, with funding by the Arts Council, is organising a two-week programme aimed at performing artists and creators called The Next Stage.

Eighteen people will be selected to take part in a programme of master classes, talks, physical workshops and performances to broaden and deepen their experience of theatre from conception to performance.

The programme takes advantage of the unique opportunities presented by Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival and the world-class directors, playwrights, actors and designers who will be in town during the Festival.

Key information:
Dates: It begins Thursday 24 September and ends Sunday 11 October 2009. N.B The programme is intensive. It involves seeing 19 shows so you are out almost every night and participating in workshops all day including Saturdays!
Times: 10am - 6pm daily with performances most evenings.
Participation fee: (including 19 performances and all workshops and talks) €250

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 21 August.

All information on now to apply is available from the web site.

Awards for Young People's Theatre

The Theatre Centre in the UK wants submissions for its Brian Way and Adrienne Benham awards

To qualify for the TC Brian Way Award, the play must have been written for young people and been professionally produced between 1 October 2008 and 30 September 2009. The winner of the TC Brian Way Award 2010 will undertake a limited yet specific role in delivering TC’s vision as an ambassador and expert in the field of new writing. It is awarded as a cash prize of £6,000.

The TC Adrienne Benham Award for New Promise is presented to an emerging playwright who displays an interest in writing for young audiences. It is awarded as a £2,000 Seed Commission.

The deadline for submission for both awards is 1 December, 2009.

The criteria for submission and the application forms are on the web site.

Friday 7 August 2009

2008 ZeBBies Awards Report

A .pdf document of the 2008 ZeBBies Awards Report is now available to download from the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild web site.

The ZeBBies are the annual awards created by the Guild - named in honour of O. Z. Whitehead - to acknowledge the best scripts written by Irish playwrights and screenwriters during the previous year.

From compiling the list of all work commissioned for the film, radio, theatre and television in Ireland each year the Guild is able to offer valuable information about the state of the industry. The 2008 report marks the second year this data was gathered: from July 2007 - July 2008, which is before the advent of the current recession.

Next year's report will undoubtedly reflect Ireland's economic downturn.

Fit for purpose?

Exchange Dublin in association with Temple Bar Cultural Trust are organising Culture and the City - The Debate: "Is this City fit for purpose?"

Speaking about the event Lorraine Maye, Cultural Projects Manager at Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) said 'We are delighted to host this event on Meeting House Square; a fresh, bold new take on traditional debate formats and a timely opportunity for people to have their say about culture in Dublin. All are welcome and we would encourage everyone to come along, participate in and experience what promises to be a lively, informative and fun event.'

All audience members, invited guests and crew will be required to wear a white upper face mask upon passing a screen at the entrance to Meeting House Square and all will remain anonymous throughout. This theatrical experiment aims to break down some of the barriers that exist to real discussion and debate, using anonymity to encourage people to give their truthful opinions.

Posing the question 'Is this City fit for purpose?', Dylan Haskins of Exchange Dublin and Debate Curator says 'In a city like Dublin where everyone knows everyone, this event is an opportunity for people to say what they really feel as users of the city without worry of who it might offend. The only thing we ask is that people leave their associations behind, be it business, political, friendship or otherwise and speak as individuals.'

This event will take place in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar on Wednesday August 19th at 6.30pm (gates open at 6pm), a landmark outdoor public space in Dublin city centre which for one week only, from Sunday 16th - Sunday 23rd August, will be equipped with a marquee roof covering. Join us as we bring the debate out into the open!

This is a free event and does not require tickets - just come along!

Thursday 6 August 2009

Dublin Bursaries

Dublin City Council invites applications from artists who wish to be considered for a Bursary of €4,000 towards studies at an advanced level or the development of work/professional skills.

Artists, resident in Dublin City Council's administrative area, can apply for a Bursary in Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Drama and Literature. One Bursary will be awarded in each discipline.

Application forms, guidelines and criteria may be obtained by contacting:

The Arts Office,
Dublin City Council,
Foley St,
Dublin 1

Tel: 222 7850 or email:

The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm on Monday, September 7, 2009.

Hotel Darklight

As part of the Darklight Festival (8-11 October, 2009) this year a lo-no budget filmmaking project will be taking place called 'Hotel Darklight'

The Brief

In Smithfield, Dublin there exists a mysterious hotel. Think of it as Dublin's very own Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, where the magical, the impossible and the terrifying all co-exist alongside one another.

The producers are looking for story outlines for 3 - 7 minute short films that revolve around Hotel Darklight.

Successful participants will be short-listed to develop their ideas into short films that will be shown at the upcoming Darklight Festival.

The writers who are selected will collaborate with producers and directors to work their creative vision into a portmanteau narrative that will feature several other short films with the same uniting vein: some or all of the story must take place in this mysterious location. If the story does not take place directly in the hotel it should have a strong link to the hotel.

Genre Suggestions

Mystery, sci-fi, horror, thriller, fantasy, supernatural or a combination of one of the above with other more traditional genres such as comedy, romance, etc. Anything weird, imaginative, or terrifying is welcome. Challenge your imagination and prepare to take your audience on a roller coaster ride into the unknown.

Submission requirements

The producers do not want finished scripts. Please send a one-page outline of the story. Each applicant can submit a maximum of three ideas.

Please remember to supply your contact details - email and mobile phone number - with your application.

Email submissions to:

Update: please note the submission date has been moved back.

The deadline for submissions: Midnight on Friday 21st August 2009.

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Storyland Finalists

The last two projects in the RTÉ Storyland webisode competition have been announced:

  • Hardy Bucks
  • Rental Boys
Both of them will be making a fifth webisode, and the final vote in the competition will begin at 5pm on the 31st August.

Mayo Public Art Commissions

Mayo County Council wishes to appoint a panel of artists for its Public Art Commissions, funded by the Per Cent for Art Scheme.

Artists are invited to apply for a place on this panel, from which a wide variety of public art commissions will be awarded in 2009 - 2011 (budgets up to €64,000).

The panel is open to a wide range of disciplines, including music, dance, drama, literature, film, visual and performing arts. There will be two categories within the panel, one pertaining to commissions of €10,000 to €64,000 and the second pertaining to commissions of under €10,000.

An application form is available via the Mayo County Council web site, or contact Gaynor Seville on 094-90-47561, email

To apply, please send a completed application form, CV, an artist's statement, and documentation of work: this can be in the form of slides (max 12) or images, DVD or video, audio tape or manuscript to:

Gaynor Seville
Public Art Co-Ordinator
Mayo County Council Arts Office,
Áras an Chontae,
Co. Mayo.

Closing date for applications is Thursday 13th August 2009.

Hunger Wins in Poland

ScreenDaily reports that Hunger, which was written by Steve McQueen and Enda Walsh, and directed by Steve McQueen, won the Grand Prix and the Film Critics Award, winning $43,175 (€30,000) at the 9th Era New Horizons International Film Festival in Wroclow, Poland. It is now guaranteed distribution in Poland.

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Irish Films Worldwide

According to Variety Conor McPherson's film The Eclipse will open the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival on September 23 at the Linwood Dunn Theater.

After the screening there will be a reception hosted by the Irish Film Board, with a performance by musical trio the Henry Girls.

This news follows the announcement last week that six Irish films were selected for the Toronto International Film Festival (September 10-19):

  • Ondine, written and directed by Neil Jordan
  • Perrier's Bounty, written by Mark O'Rowe, directed by Ian Fitzgibbon, and starring Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson
  • Triage, written and directed by Danis Tanovic, and starring Colin Farrell
  • Colony, the feature documentary directed by Ross McDonnell and Carter Gunn
  • Cracks written by Ben Court and Caroline Ip, directed by Jordan Scott, and starring Eva Green
  • Eamon, written and directed by Margaret Corkery

Byrne Highlights Theatre

Last week The Irish Times reported that broadcaster Gay Byrne and actor Gabriel Byrne were in Dublin to mark their appointment as honorary directors of the new Grand Canal Square Theatre in Dublin.

Construction of the theatre - designed by award-winning architect Daniel Libeskind - is expected to finish by St. Patrick's Day next year. It will seat 2,100, making it the largest theatre in Dublin.

Gabriel Byrne, who was recently nominated for an Emmy for his role as a therapist in In Treatment , highlighted the importance of the new theatre for Dublin.

"Every village, every city, needs a theatre. It’s not just a building; it’s about being exposed to new ideas. Theatre changes the way we view society and connects us to global ideas. In the past, we’ve suffered from being closed off.

"The theatre is seriously important for who we are. In the past, the most important building in a village was a church," the actor added. "A theatre can be as powerful as a church, but without being as controlling."