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What’s the difference between a theatre maker and a theatre writer?

Issue: What is the difference between a theatre writer and a theatre maker?

Convener(s): Hannah Stone

Participants: Kristy, Ollie, Julian, Amanda, Imogen, Dominic, Kevin

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Difference- writer start on a page, theatre makers don’t
Call out and commisions are often for writer and not very often for companies, why can’t theatres comission companies?
Is this because of timescales?
Playhouse for example, hard to use companies because they have funding commitments.
Is it more expensive to commision a company?
Approx £7,000 to commision a writer which equals 4 weeks rehearsal with 5 actors or 2 weeks with 10. so no not more expensive. More risky? Yes!
But is it more risky? Because theatre companies still have a reputation. Unless you’re emerging, then it’s very hard for people to trust you, take the ‘risk’.
But a devised show is much more enriched than a writer sitting alone in their room isn’t it?

Imogen talked about trying to write a musical but can’t because can’t make low budget musicals. Dominic said it’s more exciting to make theatre. Doesn’t mean theatre makers aren’t writers as well. Good to see how traditional theatres do it as it feeds into how we make theatre.
Theatre making process is more democratic which can be brilliant but can be difficult.
Script read throughs have started to happen but not so much in east midlands. Actors who are happy to do this!
How do theatre makers get recognition that writers get? It’s just as valid.
There are theatres outside of the east midlands who comission companies but nowhere in East Midlands does? Does it? Anyone?
Non theatre spaces- more exciting. Buildings are precious- seem more concerned with the building itself than whats going on inside it. Face red tape if you want to do anything experimental. AS a result there is more theatre happening in non theatre venues but no money to support this. Auditoriums are too big, they should knock them down and make more spaces.

Lets get radical- national theatre of scotland doesn’t have a home, it’s in the air!
Why don’t we get radical, split the arts council budget 50 percent for building based theatre and 50 percent for non building based theatre. Investment in theatre makers!

All comes down to risk- theatres should take more of a risk on theatre makers!

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