Tips for application success

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Be specific with ideas; rather than including generic ideas, reflecting voguey topics or methodologies, demonstrate an understanding of the nuance of your subjects and offer focused information to create a clear sense of who you are as an individual artist. Be sure to write what you feel, not what you think we or our readers want to hear. We are inspired by your individuality and flare.

Be specific with aims;  identify exact challenges you have faced so far and the effect that the opportunity would have on your career progression. For example; ‘I lack professional networks due to living regionally’, or, ‘I’m not as literate in the cannon as my school didn’t offer drama’.  Then follow that up with specific examples of how the project will benefit. If it’s about a particular organisation’s stamp of approval, how will you use that stamp? Or which specific doors will it open for you?

Explain the ‘how’; move beyond stating what interests/excites/frustrates/motivates you as an artist and going some way to describe how these ideas will be explored or changed through your dramatic work. Consider how to make it engaging, active and live.

Clear and concise; with competitive opportunities, it’s important to check through your application for mistakes. If applications aren’t your strong point, then perhaps ask a friend or colleague to read through it for you. We aren’t looking for the best spellers, but we do need to understand you and your ideas in a way that demonstrates your passion.

For playwrights, the ideas which garner the most success give a strong sense of stretching the writer in ambition, which the level of support and collaboration offered by the opportunity you’re applying for could help you realise.

Popular themes:

  • Split era plays – historical period juxtaposed with contemporary world
  • Two-handers exploring intimate themes of love and relationships
  • Dramatising climate change or mental health
  • A mistrust of technology!

Tips for interview:

  • Take the panel with you; ask questions, make eye contact, listen and respond. Have a conversation and engage each individual in your answers.
  • Tell your story; rather than repeating your CV in person, this is a chance to share your experience with colour and flavour. Show us who you are.
  • Share your idea; Be prepared to talk about your ideas in as much detail as you currently comprehend. You can do this any way that suits you and your process, whether that be through conversation, printed sticky notes, pictures or a puppet show (yes that happened). If you are inspired, passionate and creative then we will better understand your vision.
  • Create an experience; in an attempt to open up opportunities to as many different people as possibly, panels and organisations are often meeting with as many artists as they can adequately resource. Stand out in the crowd by offering an experience for everyone involved. From confirming your interview slot to saying goodbye, every moment is an opportunity to develop a rapport and make sure your talent, personality and flare is undeniable to everyone who has met you.

Tips for pitches:

We’ve found the most successful pitches demonstrated a passion for a particular theme, narrative or situation and provided ideas on how that will be explored, including information about the ‘world’ with characters and story. If your piece isn’t narrative based, then perhaps think through the tonal shifts or audience journey. Of course, there will be plenty of time for this idea to develop and change over the course of the programme, but we do want to understand what the play could be. Make some decisions and lead with what your passionate about. If you’re struggling some simple but effective questions are:

  • What do you want to explore?
  • How could you explore it?
  • Why now?
  • Why you?

The competition is always tough so make sure you BRING IT. We really want you to succeed!

If you would like to improve your pitching, interview or application technique then join us and Rikki Beadle-Blair (MBE) for a series of artist development workshops in 2019. For more information and to book please click here.

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