25 February 2024Stromness Plays - Playwriting Competition

Award leads to new playwriting mini-festival for Orkney

Orkney will be home to one of ten SSP50 fellowship award projects, announced earlier this month by the Scottish Society of Playwrights to celebrate playwriting in Scotland.

The project is called Stromness Plays and is a collaboration between professional playwright Rachael McGill and Stromness Drama Club.

Rachael said, ‘Stromness Drama Club is really dynamic and great at giving opportunities to budding actors and directors. I think there are people in Orkney, of all ages, who’d like to write theatre too. This is a competition, training opportunity and showcase for them.’

Inspired by debate

The inspiration for the competition was Rachael’s fascination with the minutes of the Stromness Debating Society, which met for 6 decades, closing in 2012. ‘My granddad was a founder member and my dad was one of the last secretaries. I was looking through the minutes, which Dad has now given to the Orkney Archives. They’re a funny, fascinating snapshot of Stromness people’s thoughts on issues since the 50s; everything from ‘Old Stromness is not worth preserving’ (1966), to ‘the experiment of democracy has failed’ (1995).

Challenge to write a short play

The competition is open to anyone with an Orkney connection. The challenge is to write a 5-25 minute play. It can have any style, theme, or setting but must use one of the debate topics as its title or a line of its dialogue. There’s a topic list is on the project’s websites and in the Stromness and Kirkwall libraries.

There will be up to three prizes of £300. These winners and other selected writers will have their play performed in a staged reading by Stromness Drama Club in Stromness Town Hall on 1 November. There will be opportunities for those interesting in acting or directing too.

Competition entry is free and is done through a form on the websites, where you can also find the guidance and rules. The deadline to submit your play is 31 May 2024. The competition judges will be announced in April and the winners at the end of June.



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