BCA PLAYWRIGHTS LAB
Driven by a desire to see our stories told by us, with our creatives in lead roles, BCA held our inaugural Playwrights Lab in 2019. We had three emerging black playwrights Alvie McKree, Munashe Tapfuya and Ayo Beckley Adesanya who were paired with industry dramaturgs Annette Morehu, Albert Belz and Nathan Joe. The playwrights were given the opportunity to have two sessions with their dramaturg in the lead up to a 48-hour intensive with actors that culminated in a public reading.
The response to the inaugural lab was incredibly positive with over fifty people attending the public reading at Auckland Theatre Company - and this feedback encouraged us to expand our lab in 2020.
However with COVID, things had to be done differently. As a result in 2020 six black playwrights including returning members Alvie McKree and Ayo Beckley Adesanya, as well as Jazz Dos santos, Simba Matrashe, Estelle Chout and Grace Bentley were given the opportunity to focus exclusively on their scripts with their dramaturgs: Erina Daniels, Annette Morehu, Ahi Karunaharan, Nathan Joe, Aroha Awarau and Dione Joseph. The 2020 lab will continue to develop these plays with actors with a workshop in mid 2021.
Taking part in the BCA Playwright Lab was transformative. When I joined, I was just starting, tentatively calling myself a writer, hungry for advice and direction. At the end of it, I learned and grew more than I could explain. I worked with a tremendous script advisor (Aroha Awarau), met other fantastic dramaturgs and emerging writers, had a script which was later shortlisted for the NZ Adam Award; all the while feeling supported and cared for by Dione, Vira and Ankita. To all the budding Black writers in Aotearoa, joining this lab is an incredible opportunity and a blessing!