Monday 24 May 2010

IPSG Blog Moved

The blog for the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild has moved location to become integral to the Guild's web site.

There will be no more posts at this location, and we would ask any of our blog subscribers to change their feeds to the new feed for the web site.

Many thanks for your continuing support!

Friday 21 May 2010

Zombie Bashed Storyland

The winner of this year's RTÉ Storyland competition is:

Zombie Bashers, written by Stephen Shields and directed by Conor McMahon.

Thursday 20 May 2010

Playography na Gaeilge

The Irish Theatre Institute recently launched Playography na Gaeilge, a comprehensive online database of Irish language plays premièred from 1975 - 2009.

The database currently contains detailed information on a total of 256 plays by playwrights including Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Liam Ó Muirthile, Alan Titley, Antoine Ó Flatharta, Darach Ó Scolaí and Joe Steve Ó Neachtain.

The freely accessible and searchable website includes translations and adaptations by writers such as Seán Mac Mathúna, Gerard Humphreys, Michael Harding and Gearóid Ó Cairealláin and includes work produced by companies past and present specialising in Irish language plays including Aisling Ghéar, Branar, An Damer and An Taibhdhearc.

The launch of Playography na Gaeilge marks a significant development for Irish Theatre Institute's Irish Playography resource.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Offaly Support for Artist Scheme 2010

Offaly Local Authorities (Offaly County Council, Tullamore, Birr and Edenderry Town Councils) is inviting visual artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers, dance artists, drama practitioners, etc to be selected onto a panel for potential public arts commissions. This invitation will remain open on a continuous basis until the end of 2012.

We intend to maximize the Government’s ‘Per Cent for Art Scheme’ to create innovative and original high quality public experiences in the arts for those residing in and visiting Offaly. We will commission artworks that reflect the distinctiveness of a locality and people and which will build upon our guiding principles of quality, inclusiveness, accessibility and long-term value.

At this stage, a schedule of commissions has not been finally decided; therefore this is not an exercise in matching artists to particular predetermined schemes.

It is not a prerequisite that you have previously engaged in community practice; your work may not be relevant to this particular field. However it is envisaged that the majority of commissions will involve a level of community engagement.

The ‘Per Cent for Art Scheme’ will operate as resources allow and it is envisaged that this panel will remain in place for commissions to take place from 2010 until the end of 2012.

Inclusion on the panel does not guarantee subsequent inclusion on a shortlist, or any commission or remuneration for the artist in question.

Applicants should note that a second stage process of selection will take place, involving the evaluation of shortlisted panellists, as projects arise.

The administrative deadline for this scheme is Friday June 11th. More details about how to apply and the application process are on the web site.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Brass Shillelagh Drama Award

The Boyle Arts Festival is now accepting submissions of unpublished one-act plays with a maximum length of 15 minutes from amateur playwrights for its inaugural Brass Shillelagh Drama Award.

Five winning finalists will be selected to perform on the night of Saturday 31st July during the Boyle Arts Festival.

You will be required to stage the play with your own cast. You need to have your own props On the final night an overall winner will be selected based on the performance and the transformation from script to stage.

By using your own cast you can realize and perfect your vision.

We will provide

The audience, the Judges, advertising, prize money of €300 to the winner, €50 to the four runners up and the prestigious Brass Shillelagh itself.

The closing Date is the 15th June 2010. Further information about the award and how to apply are available on the web site.

Friday 14 May 2010

Storyland II: Final

Voting is now open in the last round of the RTÉ Storyland competition to determine the winner.

The final two projects are:

  • Zombie Bashers, written by Stephen Shields and directed by Conor McMahon
  • We Own the Streets, written and directed by Alan Kavanagh

Thursday 13 May 2010

ILBF Drama Development Proposals

The Irish Language Broadcast Fund is extending its deadline for receipt of drama development proposals to Friday the 28th of July.

(Deadline for receipt of applications for the second ILBF funding round 2010 in all other genres remains 12 noon Friday the 28th of May.)

ILBF development funding is available for a new drama series (6 -10 half hour episodes). The series should be character driven with strong storylines, a contemporary setting consisting of a realistic situation where Irish would be used. The series should be aimed at as wide an audience as possible.

Production companies with suitable experience in drama production - experience in production of Irish language and/or low budget drama especially welcome - should contact commissioning executives at BBC NI (Antaine Ó Donnaile) & TG4 (Máire Ní Chonláin) and the Head of the ILBF ahead of the deadline to discuss potential ideas and the commissioning process before submitting applications.

Please include in your application a brief synopsis of the proposed series including the following details:

  • The setting
  • Character outlines for main characters
  • Style of storytelling
  • Proposed cast and crew
  • Details of company’s previous experience in drama production
  • Proposed production model
  • Proposed production schedule
  • Proposed estimated production budget
Please note that decisions on funding for drama development will be made at the third ILBF funding round in October.

Cuireann an CCG síneadh leis an spriocdháta do Mholtaí d’Fhorbairt Drámaíochta.

Tá an CCG ag cur síneadh leis an spriocdháta do mholtaí d’fhorbairt drámaíochta go dtí an Aoine an 28iú Iúil.

(Fanann an sprioc d’iarratais don dara bhabhta maoinithe 2010 i ngach réimse eile de chláir mar an gcéanna – 12 meán lae Aoine an 28iú Bealtaine.)

Beidh maoiniú forbartha ar fáil ón CCG sa bhabhta maoinithe seo do shraith nua drámaíochta ( idir 6 agus 10 gcláir leath uair a chloig). Scéalta láidir, le béim ar phearsantacht na gcarachtair, suite i suíomh comhaimseartha réalaíoch ina bhfuil an Ghaeilge mar theanga beo ann atá de dhíth. Ba chóir díriú ar lucht féachana leathan.

Beidh fáilte roimh iarratais ó chomhlachtaí léiriúcháin le taithí sa réim drámaíochta – go háirithe iad siúd le taithí i léiriúcháin drámaíochta Ghaeilge agus/nó drámaíocht ar bhuiséad íseal.

Ní miste teagmháil a dhéanamh roimh an spriocdháta leis na feidhmeannaigh coimisiúnaithe de chuid BBC TÉ (Antaine Ó Donnaile), TG4 (Máire Ní Chonláin) agus Ceannasaí an CCG (Áine Walsh) leis na tograí agus an próiseas coimisiúnaithe a phlé leo sular chuirtear iarratas maoinithe chugainn.

Beidh na riachtanais seo de dhíth:
  • Cur síos gairid ar an togra, agus trácht a dhéanamh air
  • An suíomh
  • Mion cur síos ar na príomh carachtair
  • Stíl na scéalta
  • Moltaí do foireann léirithe agus aisteoireachta
  • Sonraí de thaithí an chomhlachta i léiriúcháin drámaíochta
  • Córas léiriúcháin molta
  • Sceideal léiriúcháin molta
  • Meastachán aer an bhuiséad léiriúcháin
Beidh cinntí ar mhaoiniú d’fhorbairt drámaíochta déanta ag an 3iú bhabhta maoinithe de chuid an CCG i mí Dheireadh Fómhair.

Galway Pitching Award 2010

The Galway Film Fleadh Pitching Award is now open for submissions.

The pitch should be a 500-word story idea for the screen, and each entry is reviewed by a panel selected from the film industry. The best five are short-listed.

The five writers are contacted and invited to present their pitch to a panel of judges. This takes place in front of an audience during the Galway Film Fleadh.

The winner of the competition receives €3,000, and the attention of the industry.

The deadline for applications is Friday 18th June 2010 and further details are available on the website. Each entry must be accompanied by a €30 fee.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Yale Drama Series 2010

The Yale Drama Series Prize for Emerging Playwrights is a major new international playwriting competition.

The winner of the annual competition is awarded the David C. Horn Prize of $10,000, publication of his/her manuscript by Yale University Press, and a staged reading at Yale Rep. The Yale Drama Series and David C. Horn Prize are funded by generous support from the David Charles Horn Foundation.

Submissions must be original, unpublished full-length plays written in English. Translations, musicals, and children’s plays are not accepted. The Yale Drama Series is intended to support emerging playwrights. Playwrights may win the competition only once.

Submissions for the 2011 Competition must be postmarked no earlier than June 1 and no later than August 15, 2010.

More information on the rules of the competition and how to enter are on the web site.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award

Each year the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation awards the Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award.

The competition is designed to motivate non-American novice writers under the age of 30, and to offer them the recognition and encouragement that might lead to a successful career in television scriptwriting.

The winner will be flown to New York City to be presented with an award and a US$2,500 prize at the International Emmy World Television Festival on November 20, 2010. The winning script will be read by actors in front of an audience at the Festival, and the winner will be invited to take part in the red carpet festivities at the 38th International Emmy Awards on November 22, 2010.

To enter, you will need to create a completed half-hour to one-hour English-language television drama script suitable for a family audience.

The deadline is 1 July 2010, and an application form can be downloaded from the web site.

First Laureate na nÓg

Irish Publishing News reports that Siobhán Parkinson has been announced by President Mary McAleese as Ireland's first Laureate na nÓg. She will hold the position for two years.

Established by a combination of the Arts Council, the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Children’s Books Ireland and Poetry Ireland the Laureate will promote children’s literature and build engagement wit young readers. The role is also supported by Eason’s and by the Irish Times.

Parkinson writes for both children and young adults whose work has been translated in several languages. She has won the Bisto Book award as well as been shortlisted for that award and several others. Most recently she co- founded New Island’s children’s imprint, Little Island.

Pat Moylan, Chairman of the Arts Council, said, ‘The Arts Council is proud to initiate Ireland’s first laureate for children’s literature. Laureate na nÓg seeks to broaden and enrich young people’s imaginative worlds, to encourage a love of reading and to inculcate the value of literature among children and young people.’

The new laureate Siobhán Parkinson said, ‘I am thrilled and honoured to be chosen as the first Laureate na nÓg. I believe that children’s literature lays the foundations of the imaginative life of a people, and that every child deserves to have access to a reading haven — a well-stocked and well-run library in their school and in their community.’

Monday 10 May 2010

Coming Up in Belfast

Northern Ireland Screen has teamed up with Channel 4 and Touchpaper TV to host a special Coming Up event in Belfast on Wednesday 19th May.

Coming Up is the only talent scheme currently in the UK where emerging film-makers have the opportunity to make an authored drama with a guaranteed network broadcast.

Ben Stoll, Channel 4’s Coming Up commissioning editor, Elinor Day and Emma Burge, Touchpaper producers, will be in Belfast along with local writer Ronan Blaney, who wrote Boy one of the successful 2010 Coming Up films. Three of this year’s diverse 30 minute films will be screened, including Boy.

Applications are now open for Coming Up 2011, after the screening Ben will explain what Channel 4 is looking for. Emma and Elinor will discuss how the production works and Ronan will speak about his experience of the scheme. There will also be time to network following the event.

This is an excellent opportunity for writers and directors who are trying to break into the film and television industry.

The event is free of charge and Northern Ireland Screen strongly encourage all local writers, directors and emerging short and feature film makers to attend. Places are limited so please contact as soon as possible to secure a place.

Date: Wednesday 19th May
Time: 6.00pm
Venue: Moviehouse Cinema, Dublin Road

Further information on Coming Up can be found here.

Thursday 29 April 2010

Give me Direction II

After the success of last year's event, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board announced yesterday the return of the screenwriting event Give Me Direction, which will be run in association with the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

This year the focus of the conference will be on interrogating the topic of comedy in filmmaking. The two day event will be held on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th June in Dublin.

Further details of the event and the release date for tickets will be announced shortly.

Wednesday 28 April 2010

Dublin Scriptwriters Group

Ever thought about joining a writers' group?

Being a writer can be, by its nature, a fairly solitary existence so being part of a group can be invaluable. As well as the companionship, it is also important to have someone (who isn't your mammy) with whom you can share your writing, get (honest!) criticism from and bounce ideas off.

The Dublin Playwrights and Screenwriters Group (apologies for the long title) is one of two groups which meet every two weeks in Filmbase in Temple Bar, Dublin, to discuss our stage and screen writing projects and generally chat about what's going on in the writing world. If you think a group would be helpful to you and your writing, we would like to invite you to come along to one of our meetings to see if you would like to join.

You can get in touch with us through the IPSG ( or 01 6709970) and we can arrange for you to come to the next meeting.

Happy writing!

Paul FitzSimons
Group Co-ordinator
Dublin Playwrights and Screenwriters Group

Tuesday 27 April 2010

Dublin Gay Theatre Festival 2010

The Dublin Gay Theatre Festival will be happening from May 3 - 16 in venues across Dublin City centre.

The programme of features, comedy and musical theatre includes Eight World Premières, Eight European Premières and Four Irish Premières. This year the festival includes productions from Ireland, UK, USA, Spain, South Africa and Australia, with a particular emphasis on new writing from emerging playwrights.

Highlights from the programme include The Laramie Project (USA) a play which recounts the brutal kidnap and murder of Mathew Sheppard, Kiss the Women (South Africa), a brave and deeply moving exploration of growing up as a black lesbian in South Africa, Loaded (USA) a no-holds barred look at internet sex, identity and ageism, Exiles (UK) a fresh and unique perspective on James Joyce's only play, Working Late (Ireland), a coming out comedy set in today’s economic crisis, Under the Rainbow (Ireland) a musical journey through the many lives of actress and entertainer Liza Minnelli and Drags Aloud (Australia) Joan Rivers support act that’s part Glee, part Scream, with a health dose of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Festival Director, Brian Merriman, said "This year we break through many barriers with our diverse programme of theatre that seeks to dialogue culturally with mainstream society." He added that festival was "delighted to welcome so many Irish companies to our programme this year. Playwrights as young as 18 year old Aaron Rogers were successful amongst the largest ever cohort of Irish applicants."

Monday 26 April 2010

Dublin Arts Bursary

Dublin City Council is looking for applications for its Arts Bursary of €4,000, which can be used to fund 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,The LAB, Foley St, Dublin 1.
Tel: 222 7850 or email:

Deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm Friday May 14th 2010. Only applications in hardcopy form will be accepted.

Application forms and information on how to apply are on the web site.

Thursday 22 April 2010

iad-T in the Park, April

The last event in the iad-T in the Park season is taking place this Saturday 24th April, at the the Tea Rooms in the People’s Park, Dun Laoghaire. The theme is: Play 4 Today (drama).

At noon there will be an Improvisation and Storytelling Workshop followed at 2pm by a Presentation by Annie Ryan and Michael West of The Corn Exchange, the theatre company behind the Dublin Theatre Festival's hit Freefall.

The events are organised by Mia Gallager, the 2009/10 IADT Writer in Residence.

IWC Publishing Day

On Saturday May 8th from 10.30am - 5.00pm the Irish Writers' Centre in Dublin is hosting an information day on publishing.

The event will feature talks with Dermot Bolger; Literary Agent, Jonathan Williams; Commissioning Editor for Hachette Books, Ciara Considine; Editor and digital publishing expert, Eoin Purcell; and Literary Publicist, Cormac Kinsella.

Tickets are €50 and can be booked by paying online or calling the Centre.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

BBC Writers Academy

Applications are now open for the BBC Drama's Writers Academy


The training you receive from BBC Drama’s Writers Academy will give you the specific skills required to write for some of the BBC’s most popular series such as Doctors, EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty, and a springboard to write across all the BBC’s drama output.

To be eligible for this scheme, writers will have already had at least one professional (paid) drama commission in film, television, radio or theatre.

The Writers Academy will train up to 8 writers a year, over a period of twelve months.

Course Breakdown

The course will break down as follows:

Introduction to Writing for Continuing Drama Series

This is a 3 month training course in writing for Continuing Drama Series which will consist of a number of workshops and lectures accompanied by intensive writing exercises and analysis.

During this period each writer will write a broadcast episode of Doctors.

The training course will be lead by John Yorke, Controller, Drama Production and New Talent, and other industry experts from all areas of drama production.

Course participants will be required to attend classes at the BBC premises in Elstree for three days per week, and one day at Television Centre in London.

Some expenses will be paid for writers based out of the London area for this period.

Writing for Broadcast

After you have completed the initial training and the Doctors script, your work will be assessed. If you have reached the required standard for production on Continuing Drama Series you will begin the next phase of the training.

Writers will rotate across Casualty, Holby and Eastenders in turn, writing a broadcast episode, spending a maximum of 12 weeks on each show.

At the end of the 12 months, each writer will have written for each of the four shows.

Core team & HQ

The course will be run and administered from BBC TVC in London W12 and BBC Elstree Studios. The course will be overseen and run by a Course Producer.

The deadline for applications is: May 5th 2010. More information and how to apply is on the web site.

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Storyland II: Final 2

The final two series in the RTÉ Storyland competition are:

  • Zombie Bashers, written by Stephen Shields and directed by Conor McMahon
  • We Own the Streets, written and directed by Alan Kavanagh

McGuinness Play on TV

The Stage reports that Sky Arts has announced its successor to its Theatre Live! series, which saw six novelists make their playwriting débuts in 2009.

This year it's called Sky Arts Playhouse - Live, and will bring new work by established playwrights to the screen, including Irish playwright Frank McGuinness, whose credits include Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.

The plays will be broadcast live every Wednesday from June 9, with each production being previewed at the Riverside Studios in the UK for four nights prior to transmission.

As with Theatre Live!, there will be a special company of directors and actors formed for the series, which will be overseen by Sandi Toksvig as artistic director, and Pip Broughton, who is creative director.

Toksvig said: “With Playhouse - Live, we’re staying true to the theatrical experience whilst simultaneously ensuring that we successfully marry the components of theatre and television that make each experience so unique. We’re thrilled to have such an extraordinary range and calibre of playwrights on board, and are delighted about partnering with the Riverside Studios to give the creative teams an opportunity to preview each play.”

The schedule is:
  • June 9; The Typist, by Rebecca Lenkiewicz; directed by Bijan Sheibani.
  • June 16: Ghost Story by Mark Ravenhill, who is also directing the play.
  • June 23: Hens by Alia Bano; directed by Peter Gill
  • June 30: Crocodile by Frank McFuinness; directed by Toby Frow.
  • July 7: Ensler's Here by Eve Ensler; directed by Josie Rourke.

Monday 19 April 2010

West End Remains Popular

According to the Hollywood Reporter theatre is still proving very popular in the UK despite the recession, and the latest figures reveal that attendance at the West End in London hit 14 million last year and box office revenue made a record £500 million.

The current success owes to several factors, not least of which is a high standard of excellence. Critics have joined the public in being generally bowled over by the range and quality of what has been presented of late.

Two more reasons for the growing appreciation of what's onstage: The lackluster state of British film and television means local talent is gravitating to the theater; and the development of well-trained directors.

Says Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough: "TV in the U.S. is infinitely stronger. Most U.K. sitcoms are pathetically vulgar and crude."

Meanwhile, the current crop of top stage directors is among the most innovative and distinctive to date, with Rupert Goold ("Enron"), Michael Grandage ("Hamlet," "Red"), Howard Davies ("All My Sons"), Christopher Morahan ("The Caretaker"), Ian Rickson ("Jerusalem") and Nicholas Hytner ("London Assurance," "The Habit of Art") following in the footsteps of Sam Mendes, Richard Eyre, Stephen Daldry and Trevor Nunn.

Says Burns simply, "We train great directors." It shows.

Burns, who runs Nimax Theatres with U.S. producer Max Weitzenhoffer, adds: "Not only are more people coming, they're paying more money to see the plays and musicals. Last year, it was a coincidence that so many plays came to fruition in one performing year. It was very much the year of the play. But that doesn't mean the musicals were struggling -- it means the plays did better."

Friday 16 April 2010

The Cant, Can

The winner of the inaugural McGuire International Playwriting Competition is Dublin writer Shay Linehan, for his play The Cant.

Shay is an IPSG member, and found out about the competition via our newsletter, and workshopped his entry at the IPSG's Dublin writers' group. He was also a nominee for the 2009 Zebbie Award for Best Radio Script. Currently, Shay is the director of Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company, a professional theatre company based in Dalkey, Ireland and engaged at Dalkey Castle and Heritage Center.

The world première production of The Cant will open the Irish Classical Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary Season at the Andrews Theatre, Buffalo, NY from September 9 – October 3, 2010.

Thursday 15 April 2010

The Daisy Chain

Horror feature film The Daisy Chain, written by acclaimed screenwriter and Guild member Lauren MacKenzie, is opening on Friday 16th April at the Omniplex cinemas in Dublin (the Savoy), Cork and Galway.

Directed by the critically acclaimed director of Song For A Raggy Boy, Aisling Walsh, and starring double Oscar-nominee Samantha Morton, The Daisy Chain is a supernatural thriller of obsession, superstition and fear.

The film was also nominated for Best Irish Film at the 2009 Dublin Film Festival.

The Engine Room Pitch

FÁS Screen Training Ireland is running a two-day course called The Engine Room Pitch starting on the 20th of May 2010 in Dublin. The course tutors are Christina Burnett, Micheal O'Meallaigh and Niamh O'Connor.

The cost of the course is €150.

Application Procedure:
Please apply online attaching a CV and a one page proposal for a doc/factual project. You can attend either as a pitcher with project, or as an observer. All projects which are submitted by the deadline of Wednesday May 6 will be considered and those which are selected to pitch will be notified in advance of the workshop.

Participant Profile:
This workshop is aimed at producers, directors, researchers and development personnel who wish to refine their proposals and explore the commissioning process.

Course Profile:
THE ENGINE ROOM PITCH is a unique 2 day project development and pitching workshop for documentary/factual filmmakers seeking Irish and international commissions and market intelligence. It is also an exceptional networking opportunity.

Created by leading international pitch trainer Christina Burnett of Wide Eye Pictures, THE ENGINE ROOM pitch formats have been successful in the UK, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Intense, friendly and focused, the workshop develops real projects which are then presented to two commissioners for feedback. MEDIA Desk Ireland will also give an introduction to the funding, training and opportunities available at international festivals and markets.