Matt Smith to be Patron of Young Writers Festival

10 February 2012

PRESS RELEASE

Thursday 9 February 2012

MATT SMITH TO BE PATRON OF ROYAL COURT’S YOUNG WRITERS FESTIVAL 2012

Actor and Doctor Who star Matt Smith will be the next patron of the Royal Court’s Young Writers Festival running from 23 Feb until 14 April at the Royal Court Theatre.

Matt Smith’s first professional acting job was at the Royal Court in the play Fresh Kills by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, as part of a special young playwrights season in 2004. He went on to appear in Polly Stenham’s debut play That Face in 2007 alongside Lindsay Duncan which then transferred to the West End after a sell-out run at the Royal Court.

On stage, he also appeared in On the Shore of the Wide World, History Boys and Chatroom/Citizenship at the National Theatre and on television appeared in Party Animals on BBC before becoming the 11th Doctor Who in 2009.

As patron of the Young Writers Festival, he follows in the footsteps of previous festival patrons Ruth Jones, Catherine Tate, Ray Winstone and Kathy Burke.

This year’s Young Writers Festival is the biggest in its history, featuring two full productions of new plays, four staged readings, ten short plays and a series of free workshops, talks and ‘afterdark’ late night events in the bar.

Since its inception in 1973, the Young Writers Festival, held every two years, has become one of the premier showcases of young writing talent from across Britain, launching writers such as Simon Stephens, Christopher Shinn, Bola Agbaje, Leo Butler, Andrea Dunbar, DC Moore, Michael Wynne and Chloe Moss.

There will be full productions of Luke Norris’ play Goodbye to All That (23 Feb-17 Mar), which looks at the enduring nature of love and asks if it’s ever too late to start again and Hayley Squires’ Vera Vera Vera (22 Mar-14 Apr), which looks at violence, neglect and apathy in the wake of another young soldier’s death in Afghanistan.

There will be staged readings of Brilliant Adventures by Alistair McDowall, Ain’t No Law Against Fish ‘n’ Chips by Rose Lewenstein, Reflection by Rianna Mitchell-Henry and Where the Shot Rabbits Lay by Brad Birch. There will also be a staged reading of ten short plays by children aged 8-15 – a culmination of a series of schools playrighting workshops, held for the first time this year.

The Young Writers Festival is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and is in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK, with additional support from the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.

The Young Writers Festival Development Phase has been supported by John Lyon’s Charity.

Notes to Editors:
Young Writers Festival
Since its inception in 1973, the Royal Court’s Young Writers Festival, held every two years, has become one of the premier showcases of young writing talent from across Britain, launching writers such as Simon Stephens, Christopher Shinn, Bola Agbaje, Leo Butler, Andrea Dunbar, DC Moore, Michael Wynne and Chloe Moss.

Writers aged 25 and under were asked to submit a full-length play back in spring 2011 with no restrictions or guidelines on content. Over 300 plays were submitted and each one read by a team of 17 readers, made up of playwrights, directors, Royal Court staff and previous Young Writers Festival winners.

This year, the Young Writers Festival was opened up to a younger age group, accepting submissions from ages eight to 25 in order to uncover stories from the UK’s younger population. Supported by John Lyon’s Charity, the Royal Court worked with 75 young people from 18 schools delivering a six-week writing programme under the tutelage of writers Debbie Tucker Green, EV Crowe and Nick Payne to create a fully-realised play that would be suitable for submission to the Young Writers Festival.

The young people’s plays will be performed in a staged reading Saturday Shorts on 17 March.

Listings
Goodbye to All That by Luke Norris, directed by Simon Godwin
23 Feb – Sat 17 Mar
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Mon-Sat 7.45pm (except 2, 3, 9 ,10 March at 8.30pm)
Thurs and Sat mats 3.30pm (from 1 Mar)
Tickets £20 (concs available) www.royalcourttheatre.com 0207 565 5000
Frank has been married for forty years. Three years ago he fell in love. This taut and tender new play asks if it’s ever too late to start again.

Vera Vera Vera by Hayley Squires, directed by Jo McInnes
22 Mar – Sat 14 Apr
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Mon-Sat 7.45pm (except 30, 31 Mar, 13, 14 Apr 8.30pm)
Thurs and Sat mats 3.30pm (from 31 Mar)
Tickets £20 (concs available) www.royalcourttheatre.com 0207 565 5000
The boy who comes back from a war far away in a wooden box is glorified and called a hero. As the funeral plans are made in a small Kent town, his siblings squabble over who he was. Maybe the fanfare isn’t needed for this heroic martyr. Vera Vera Vera is a blackly comic play about what we are willing to fight for.

Staged Reading:
Brilliant Adventures by Alistair McDowall, directed by Caroline Steinbeis
6pm 2 & 3 Mar
Tickets £8 www.royalcourttheatre.com 0207 565 5000
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Rob’s less than impressed by his brother Luke ’s new flat. That is until he discovers it’s ideally placed to become the area’s drug supply epicentre. Thrown into a dangerous world, the brothers must salvage what’s left of the home and family. Luke’s got an ingenious solution which could solve all their problems…

Staged Reading:
Ain’t No Law Against Fish ‘n’ Chips by Rose Lewenstein, directed by Richard Twyman
6pm 9 & 10 Mar
Tickets £8 www.royalcourttheatre.com 0207 565 5000
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
As Pete struggles to find a job in the East End of London, he finds solace in the words and cause of some radical locals. But as Pete’s ideological fervour grows so does his sense alienation from the people most important to him.

Staged Reading:
Reflection by Rianna Mitchell-Henry, directed by Gbolahan Obisesan
6pm 30 & 31 Mar
Tickets £8 www.royalcourttheatre.com 0207 565 5000
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Jamal’s ready to fly the nest and sort his life out but his overbearing mother and criminal record are standing in his way. Will a chance encounter with a wealthy businessman offer Jamal the opportunity he’s been waiting for?

Staged readings of ten short plays by 8-15 year olds:

Staged Reading:
Where the Shot Rabbits Lay by Brad Birch, directed by Nick Bagnall
6pm 13 & 14 Apr
Tickets £8 www.royalcourttheatre.com 0207 565 5000
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
In the wake of an acrimonious divorce, a father and son venture into the wilderness on a camping trip looking for reconciliation.
Saturday Shorts directed by Charlotte Gwinner
17 Mar: 10.30am 7 shorts by writers aged 8-11,12pm: 3 short by writers aged 12-15
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Tickets £8 (concs available) www.royalcourttheatre.com 0207 565 5000

AFTERDARK: Music in the Bar Fri 16 Mar, 10.15pm ‘til late
Café Bar, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
‘Jazzheadchronic’ DJ Mickey Smith brings the sounds of motown, and oldskool funk to the Royal Court Café Bar plus special guests. FREE
AFTERDARK: Spoken Word Night Wed 28 Mar, 10.15pm ‘til late
Café Bar, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Line up includes legendary artists Inua Ellams, Polarbear and Kate Tempest. FREE
AFTERDARK: The Literary Ball Sat 14 Apr, 10.15pm ‘til late
In association with La Coopérative d’Ecriture
Café Bar, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Party with a literary twist with French writer Nathalie Fillion. Dance until the early hours. FREE but ticketed. 0207 565 5000 www.royalcourttheatre.com.

WORKSHOP: Quickfire: How to write a 100 Word Play – SOLD OUT
Sat 3 Mar, 2.30pm-4.30pm
The Wilson Studio, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Playwright and Royal Court resident Writing Tutor Leo Butler leads an engaging and exploratory session offering advice and practical exercises. Each participant will write a 100 word play to be displayed at the Royal Court during the festival.
FREE but ticketed. 0207 565 5000 www.royalcourttheatre.com.

WORKSHOP: Make a Play: Playwriting workshop for Children – SOLD OUT
Sat 17 Mar 2.30pm – 4.30pm
The Wilson Studio, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Ages 8-11
Do you have lots of stories whizzing around in your head? In this fun and interactive workshop led by playwright Nick Payne, write a short story and see it performed by professional actors. FREE but ticketed. 0207 565 5000 www.royalcourttheatre.com.
LITERARY TOUR: Explore the Royal Court
Fri 30 Mar 12pm
Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Learn about the life of a script, the process of putting on a play at the Royal Court and writers past and present in this insightful tour led by the Literary team. FREE but ticketed. 0207 565 5000 www.royalcourttheatre.com

TALK: In Conversation with Luke Norris and April de Angelis
Thurs 1 Mar 6pm
The writer of Goodbye to All That is joined by April de Angelis for a discussion on the writer’s journey from the first word to opening night.
In Conversation with Ultz and Tom Piper
Wed 14 Mar 6pm
Acclaimed theatre designers Tom Piper and Ultz discuss the process of designing for the theatre and the Royal Court.
In Conversation with Hayley Squires and Leo Butler
Thurs 29 Mar 6pm
The writer of Vera Vera Vera talks to playwright and Royal Court resident Writers Tutor Leo Butler about writing your first play and the Royal Court.
In Conversations: Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS FREE but ticketed. 0207 565 5000 www.royalcourttheatre.com

Coutts is the Principal Sponsor of the Royal Court Theatre

Coutts is the UK private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Coutts has a long history of supporting the arts going back 200 years, having looked after the financial affairs of many famous clients connected with the arts such as Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens and Chopin. In 1816, Thomas Coutts married Harriot Mellon, a popular actress of her day, and together they became partners of a number of London Theatres, including the Drury Lane and the Royal Opera House. Coutts has even featured in a number of artistic works including The Gondoliers by Gilbert and Sullivan, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In the new millennium, this tradition has continued not only through managing the finances of many of today’s top writers, actors and musicians, but also through our arts sponsorship programme and we are delighted to support The Royal Court and its diverse range of ground-breaking performances.

The Young Writers Festival is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and is in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK, with additional support from the Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.

The Young Writers Festival developmental workshops with European playwrights have also been supported by the European Commission Representation in the UK.

The Young Writers Festival Development Phase has been supported by John Lyon’s Charity.

For further information please contact Anna Evans in the Royal Court Press Office on
020 7565 5063 or e-mail annaevans@royalcourttheatre.com.