Timberlake Wertenbaker, Roy Williams and David Edgar join Simon Stephens for ‘Turning the Page: Creating New Writing (1945-2013)’ at the University of Reading on Friday 13th-Saturday 14th September 2013.

In the last of three conferences organized by the AHRC-funded project, ‘Giving Voice to the Nation: The Arts Council of Great Britain and the Development of Theatre and Performance in Britain 1945 – 1995’, ‘Turning the Page: Creating New Writing (1945-2013)’ seeks to chart and explore the peaks and troughs of New Writing since the advent of state subsidy to the arts. With a specific focus upon fostering dialogue across the decades, this conference brings together academics, practitioners, funders and policy-makers to share knowledge, perspectives and insights into the histories, practices and discourses of ‘New Writing’.

Wertenbaker, Williams, Edgar and Stephens will be joined by fellow practitioners and academics Jonathan Petherbridge, Michael Raab, Steven Atkinson, Fin Kennedy, Andy Smith and Dan Rebellato on a diverse range of keynote platforms entitled reflecting on ‘Two Kingdoms: England vs Germany’, ‘Participation and Agitation’, ‘Changing Landscapes’ and ‘From Ink to Inc.: New Writing Today’.

The conference will also see representatives from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, LAMDA and RADA talk about the importance of commissioning new writing in actor training institutes, alongside over 25 academics delivering papers on a variety of topics including ‘Theatre for Young People’, ‘Text / Non-Text Based Theatre’, ‘Institutions and Networks’, ‘Authors and Authorship’, ‘Dramaturgy and Playwriting’ and ‘The Arts Council and New Writing’.

Award Winning playwright David Edgar said:

“Following last year’s conference on subsidy and patronage, I’m very pleased to be speaking at this year’s conference. Despite recent hostility to the written play among some scholars, critics and funders, new writing has been and remains one of the great success stories of postwar British theatre, and I’m looking forward to defending its importance and discussing how to create conditions in which it can continue to flourish.”



Friday 13th September 2013 (9.30am – 6.30pm)

Saturday 14th September 2013 (9.30am –5.00pm)


University of Reading (Minghella Building) Whiteknights, Shinfield Road, Reading, West Berkshire, RG6 6UR


Full rate: Single Day £50. Both days £100.

Writers’ Guild of Great Britain / Unwaged / Postgraduate Student day rate: £40. Lunch and coffee is included in the conference fee.

Online Booking:


For further information, to request a Press Pass or to arrange interviews/editorial please contact:

Simon Sladen (Conference Administrator)

Email: s.sladen@vam.ac.uk

Tel: 07986506280


Giving Voice to the Nation Research Project Public subsidy is the cornerstone of post-war British theatre: new writing; new theatre spaces; new theatrical styles and genres; the birth of the fringe and the encouragement of ethnic minority involvement all owe their continuing existence to the policies and financial backing of Arts Council of Great Britain (ACGB). Its impact on theatre policy and practice is often alluded to but has never been fully explored, either in those books that deal with the history of the ACGB, or those that focus on the history and historiography of post-war British theatre. This is due partly to the scale of the archive (approximately 25000 files) and the labyrinthine nature of departments and cross panel committees.

In January 2009, the University of Reading and the Victoria and Albert Museum were awarded a major AHRC Research Grant to undertake a five-year project to investigate the theatre archive of the Arts Council of Great Britain. By surveying all the material relating directly / indirectly to regional theatre, touring companies and new writing the project will offer new insights into the practice and policy of post-war British theatre. Once the project is completed, the project outputs (catalogue, display, readers’ guides and publications) and an accessible archive will ensure that the benefits of the project will be both long-term and widespread across the academic theatre community and practitioners, and across the research communities of history and cultural studies.

More info: http://www.reading.ac.uk/ftt/research/ftt-givingvoice.aspx

University of Reading

The University of Reading is ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world. It is a global University that enjoys a world-class reputation for teaching, research and enterprise. The University was established in 1892, received its Royal Charter in 1926, and has developed into a leading force in British and international higher education. The Department of Film, Theatre and Television at the University of Reading has been leading its field for over four decades and pioneered the teaching of film studies in British Higher Education. The Department has established a world-leading reputation in theatre, television and film research and is housed in the Minghella building, a £11.4 million building with state-of-the-art specialist facilities, located at the cultural and geographical heart of the University’s attractive Whiteknights campus.

More info: http://www.reading.ac.uk/ftt

V&A – Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert museum is the world’s greatest museum of art and design and houses the Theatre and Performance collections. The collections were founded in the 1920s when a private collector, Gabrielle Enthoven, donated her extensive collection of theatrical designs, memorabilia, books and photographs to the Museum. She continued to add to her collection and worked on it as a museum volunteer until her death in 1950. Since that period the collection has continued to grow and has provided a home for many other significant objects and archives.

Between 1987 and 2007 some of this material was housed at the V&A’s branch museum in Covent Garden, the Theatre Museum. New galleries devoted to the performing arts opened at the V&A in South Kensington in 2009. Material not on display there is housed at the V&A’s premises in Kensington Olympia, where a reading room provides away to access much of this stored material.

More info: http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/t/theatre-and-performance/

Simon Sladen

Assistant Curator, Modern & Contemporary Performance Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

Tel: 020 7471 9867 (Ext. 8867)

Visit: http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/t/theatre-and-performance/

Sky Arts Ignition: Memory Palace at V&A South Kensington Until 20 October 2013 Book now on www.vam.ac.uk/memorypalace

See the exhibition for free if you join as a V&A Member www.vam.ac.uk/members

War Games

Until 9 March 2014 at V&A Museum of Childhood Admission free

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