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Cash windfall for new scriptwriters

Published date: 14 April 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A CHESTER-born theatre maker has successfully raised £2,300 using a crowdfunding website to give new scriptwriters the chance to have their work showcased.

Julia McShane is the artistic director of not-for-profit theatre company Ugly Sister Productions, which she set up in 2009.

The money will be used to fund a new project, called Chapter 2, which will provide the company’s best new writers with an opportunity to showcase their work in a 30 minute slot.

She wanted to provide a bigger and better opportunity for emerging writers than the previous initiative, the Story Project, allowed for. The Story Project ran for five years and previously consisted of 10 minute plays.

Mrs McShane, who splits her time between Chester and London, said: “This project is about investing in emerging artists. We strive to find exciting new writers and we look forward to exposing their work to a bigger audience, as well as giving them more time and space to develop.

“The money will enable us to pay all involved in this project, allowing everyone to focus on making this work the best they possibly can and allowing them to focus their time and talents.”

Talent Backer is a crowdfunding website designed to help people in the arts, entertainment, sport and music to achieve their goals by giving them a platform to seek financial backing. Talents can post their pitches and have 28 days to raise funds by asking friends, family, and contacts on social media to spread the word.

Ugly Sister Productions is a registered not-for-profit company and receives no funding. Despite a lack of finance, the company prides itself on producing high quality work that gives writers, regardless of age or experience, an opportunity to showcase their new writing. Several actors who have been involved in past projects have also been offered work as a result.

But it is the new writing that the company most wants to support.

Success stories include writer Lee Mattinson, who met and worked with director Ng Choon Ping – together they have gone on to win the Sue Hodgkiss Award.

This offers a theatre maker, who has shown outstanding promise, the chance to direct a new piece of work in a production supported by the Royal Exchange Theatre.

Director Ian Brocklehurst said: “There are many highly talented people out there who are held back by a lack of finance. Projects like these cost a lot of money, but are invaluable to the individuals involved, as well as to the Arts generally. We believe opportunities like those provided by Ugly Sister Productions are vital in helping artists fulfil their potential. I’m thrilled that they have raised and surpassed their target, and look forward to seeing the next production!”

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