Writers’ Lab

Autumn 2023 - Spring 2024
Soho Theatre has played a unique and award-winning role in the development of new writing in Britain for more than 40 years.

“Now I know what the future can hold for me as a writer… I feel a lot more confident.”
Montel, Writers’ Lab participant 2023

Our Writers’ Lab programme is an entry-level course designed to support new writers to create a play over 9 months. Workshops cover a wide range of topics and are led by Lakesha Arie-Angelo, Sharmila Chauhan and Jules Haworth with a number of guest artist masterclasses over the year. We take writers through a three-draft process with one-to-one feedback support, with an opportunity at the end of the process for writers to submit to our annual Tony Craze Award.

Writers who have completed the course:

AJ Yi, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Archie Maddocks, Ava Wong Davies, Charlie Josephine, Danusia Samal, Holly Robinson, Iman Qureshi, Ifeyinwa Frederick, James McDermott, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Kalungi Ssebandeke, Karim Khan, Matilda Feyiṣayọ Ibini, Milly Thomas, Nicole Lecky, Phoebe Eclair-Powell, Ross Willis, Ryan Calais Cameron, Tabby Lamb, Tom Wright, Yasmin Joseph, Yolanda Mercy and many more.

Course structure

Writers Lab runs once a month on Tuesday evenings with occasional Saturday workshops. The course involves 48 writers, who are placed into three groups of 16. Exact dates will be released later in the year.

Workshops will take place in person at Soho Theatre. Applicants must be available for the full programme. For more detail about the course structure and dates, see our FAQs below.

Applications & fees

The fee for the course is £150, which covers the full 9 months, roughly 35-40 hours of workshops and three rounds of feedback. We have a limited amount of bursaries available to people on Universal Credit, other benefits, or a low income. We sometimes have bursaries available – these will be detailed on this page when we know a bit more.

 

Soho Theatre is an equal opportunities organisation, and is using positive action to make sure that the people we work with are representative of our diverse community.

We actively welcome applicants who identify as LGBTQ+, disabled, people of the *Global Majority and people living in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

*people who identify as Black Caribbean, Black African, South Asian, East Asian, Middle Eastern or Latinx.

Applications for 23/24 are now closed. Applications for our 24/25 programme open in summer 2024. Sign up to our Labs mailing list to be the first to hear when applications open. 

Participants

‘This time last year I would NEVER have thought I’d have written a play. It’s amazing.’
Writers' Lab participant

Writers' Lab Sessions

FAQs

The application is an online form which will be available on this page and the questions are listed below.

It’s really helpful for us to get to know people through their application answers, so we’d recommend using up your whole word count /video time limit and answer in as much detail as you can. We appreciate people just being themselves, there’s no need to try to impress us, just be open and honest in your answers about why you want to take part.

You can apply to more than one course if you want to, just submit one application and select the courses you’re interested in, talking through each of them in your answers.

When applications are open, we offer zoom Q&As and Writers’ Lab tasters, hosted by our Labs team, where people can find out more. These will be listed here once confirmed and usually take place in July.

This is an entry-level programme, designed for people who want support to write their first full length play. Maybe you’re sitting on a story you’ve always wanted to share. Maybe you have a passion for creative writing and want to make something for the stage. Maybe you’re not seeing yourself represented in the theatre you’re reading/seeing.

If you have written multiple plays, have had a full production staged, or have received playwriting commissions, this course is probably not the right match for you. Equally, if you will be in full time education over the course period, we recommend you apply once you have completed your formal education, as we find play deadlines land at busy times of year for academic timetables.

Soho Theatre is an equal opportunities organisation, and is using positive action to make sure that the people we work with are representative of our diverse community.

We actively welcome applicants who identify as LGBTQ+, disabled, people of the *global majority and people living in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

*people who identify as Black Caribbean, Black African, South Asian, East Asian, Middle Eastern or Latinx.

The application form works best from a computer, but you can also complete it on a smartphone or tablet. For the open questions, you can also submit your answer by video, by pasting your Youtube link in the answer box. Please attach the 1-2 page writing extract in either a Word or PDF format.

For other support regarding the application form, please email engagement@sohotheatre.com

Here are the list of questions on the application, in case you’d like to see them in advance:

1-What is your name? (first name and surname)
2-What email address can we contact you on?
3- What’s the best phone number to reach you on?
4- Which Lab(s) are you applying for? (multiple choice)
5 – Have you taken part in one of our Labs courses before? (Yes/No answer)
6 – If yes, which Labs have you taken part in?
7 -What interests you about the course(s) you’re applying for? (300 words, for a text answer, or 3 minute video link)
8- Have you been involved in creative writing/theatre/comedy/cabaret before? For instance, through studying, performing, or as a hobby? (200 words, for a text answer, or 2 minute video link)
9 – Have you seen anything at Soho Theatre recently? If not what other shows have you seen elsewhere?
10 – If you’re applying for the Writers’ Lab, please attach 1-2 pages of script sample here, as a Word or PDF doc. This can be a bit of monologue or dialogue and is just to help us get a bit of a sense of your writing voice/style.
11- Do you require a bursary in order to take part in the Lab(s) you are applying to? (No, I do not require a bursary/Yes, I require a full bursary/Yes, I require a half bursary)
12- If yes, please let us know which bursaries you are eligible for. (multiple choice)
13- If you require a bursary, please let us know a little bit about your circumstances.
14- Where did you hear about Soho Theatre Labs?

As we are a charity, the following questions are to do with equal opportunities data which our funders request.

14- Do you live in London? (Yes/No)
15- If you live in London please let us know which borough you live in. (multiple choice)
16- If you don’t live in London, please let us know which town or City you live in.
17- How do you describe your gender? (multiple choice)
18- How do you describe your sexual orientation? (multiple choice)
19- What will your age be on 1 October 2023
20- Please describe your ethnic origin. (multiple choice)
21- What was the occupation of the main/highest income earner in your household when you were 14? (multiple choice)
22- Do you consider yourself to be disabled?
23- If yes- please let us know how you describe yourself. (multiple choice)

The course involves 48 writers who are placed into 3 classes of 16, participants attend one workshop per month. Some months the workshops involve all 48 writers, meeting on a Saturday daytime. Some months, the workshops are classes of 16 which take place over the first 3 Tuesdays evenings of the month.

Writers are placed into either:

Writers’ Lab 1- meeting the first Tuesdays of the month

Writers’ Lab 2- meeting the second Tuesdays of the month

Writers’ Lab 3- meeting the third Tuesdays of the month

Reading and writing homework is set at the end of each workshop and the course is designed for writers to connect with each other outside of the workshops, to get the most out of the programme. We have designed the course to be around 35-40 learning hours, including script feedback sessions.

Yep. We pair up writers for a 1-2-1 feedback process with the course leaders or people from our script reading freelance pool. Writers receive three pieces of script feedback, which are designed to be face-to-face sessions. Following the third and final draft, writers have the opportunity to submit the script to the Tony Craze Award.

The process usually looks like this:

January: scene submission

March: first draft submission

May: second draft submission

July: final draft submission to be read for Tony Craze Award 

We receive a limited amount of funding to enable people to participate in the programme, if they are unable to pay the full course fee (£150). The bursaries can cover the full cost, or half of the cost of the programme, depending on the circumstances of the person.

If you are unemployed, receiving Universal Credit or other benefits, receive a low income or would like to request a bursary for another reason, please complete the bursary section on the application form. As well as general bursaries which are available to all, we also have a number of sponsored bursaries available.

So, in the application form, we’ve indicated the three questions that help us learn a bit about you. You’re welcome to type these out but also, answer via video. If you’d like to go for the video option, simply film yourself answering the questions, stopping between each one. The idea is you have a separate video for each answer.

Then upload this onto YouTube (there’s a ‘create’ or + button for web or the app, followed by an ‘upload video’ option), or other video platform. Be sure to set your privacy settings so only those with a link can watch the video and then copy and paste the link as your answer.

In previous years we have received 500-750 applications for writers’ lab, for 48 places.

As we are a small but mighty team, managing a large volume of applications, unfortunately we are not able to offer feedback. Inevitably, there are brilliant artists and writers we’re not able to offer places to each year, due to the high application volume and limited course spots available.

Once you have submitted an application through our online Typeform survey, you will receive an automatic confirmation email from the Typeform website to let you know it has been submitted. You should receive this email on the same day you submit the application. Sometime these emails may end up in junk/spam folders, particularly for Hotmail accounts.

We will be in touch with all applicants, whether or not we are able to offer a place on the programme. We will aim to get back to everyone by the end of September

We will be hosting taster workshops in the run up to opening applications so keep an eye on the website and social media. These are open for people to hear more from our team and ask questions.

You can also email us at engagement@sohotheatre.com

Supported by

Arts Council England

The D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust

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