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Be staged and be published is the aim for Guildford's Youth Theatre

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Playwriting competitions are nothing new, but there’s something rather different about the initiative being promoted by Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre’s own Youth Theatre. It’s Festival Fringe Shorts and the winning play will not only run for two weeks at Paradise in The Vault as part of 2013’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe but be published by specialist drama publishers Stagescripts.

Submissions have to be original, to have a running-time of about an hour and be suitable for a cast of six or eight young actors. The closing date for submissions to the festival is 20 July and the first entry stage is for writers to submit a synopsis, a single sentence that sums up their story and one sample page of dialogue. There is no restriction on subject matter.

By the end of July, the expert panel will have drawn up its shortlist; those writers included will then be asked to provide a ten-minute excerpt which will be submitted for the next stage of the selection process. In October there will be a two-night festival of these Fringe Shorts performed by senior members of the Youth Theatre.

The panel consists of playwright Mark Davies Markham, critic and novelist Stephanie Merritt (who lives locally and writes as S J Parris), actor Eddie Webber, head of YAYT Adam Forde and YAYT leader Lucy Betts. The selected play will be developed with the Youth Theatre before previewing at the Mill Studio and then transferring to Edinburgh.

Forde explains that the YAYT have taken work to Edinburgh for the past three years and that there has always been a commitment to new writing. “We hope to attract a wide range of writers – they may be established, or they may be a student or someone who’s had an idea gestating for years. The festival in October will be an entertaining event in itself but the fact that one of the excerpts will be expanded and performed on the Fringe adds an extra and exciting dimension.”


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