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Writers Guild

Issue: Writers Guild

Convener(s): Julie Wilkinson

Participants:

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:
The Writers’ Guild is the trade union for writers and devisers – for anyone who comes up with an original text, which might be used more than once.  The Guild has negotiated minimum terms contracts with all the funded organizations and commercial producers;  so small scale, repertory and national theatre companies, the West End, television companies, film producers, radio (the BBC) and to an increasing extent, Guild contracts are protecting writers rights and income in web writing, and new media outlets.
In recent meetings the Guild as a whole and the theatre committee in particular have been discussing how established writers who have been commissioned can help to support the next generation of new writers.  The work of supporting new writing for the stage has been done by Theatre Writing Partnership, North West Playwrights and many other organizations – and these organizations grew in the beginning from a self-help movement – writers promoting their own work and their own development.

The Guild is talking now about how best to support the next generation of writers given that the Arts Council cuts have affect this area disproportionately.  We would like to see a national network of development support, run for writers rather than geared to the needs of particular producers – and we feel that producers recognize the need to continue to develop the talent pool of young and new writers, from a wide range of backgrounds.

The Writ Large report published by the Arts Council in 2009 (check out the ACE Website) showed that an uplift in funding for new writing in the early 2000s had increased the numbers of new writers and new plays, and increased audiences for new writing all over the country.  That fantastic achievement is what is now under threat.  This regional spread is also important, as is the access to a high level skill – writing for the stage – for a diverse writing community.
Julie Wilkinson  – for and on behalf of  the Writers’ Guild members, who met here today. 9/23/2011

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