Channel 4's The Play's The Thing

Channel 4's The Play's The Thing

Channel 4's The Play's The Thing is launching a search for a new British playwright who will see their work produced in a West End theatre in mid-2006.

Previously un-produced writers are being invited to submit their work now for a four-part television series, THE PLAY'S THE THING, which aims to put a brand new piece of work on to the West End stage and open up the world of commercial theatre for viewers.

West End producer Sonia Friedman has agreed to take on this challenge in association with Channel 4. She, and a panel of experts including a literary agent and a theatre director, will whittle down submissions to a shortlist of three, before the winning play is selected and staged.

Viewers will gain unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the world of commercial theatre. The first three episodes of the series will be broadcast in spring 2006 and will follow the writers as they discover just how difficult it is to get a play - let alone a new play by a new writer- produced in the West End. With help from a variety of theatre professionals, however, their ideas will be developed and one of them will see their play staged. The fourth and final episode of the series will focus on the run-up to the world premiere, with transmission scheduled to coincide with the play's opening night.

"Theatre critics constantly bemoan the fact that there are not enough new plays in the West End," says Sonia Friedman. "I agree. Coming from a subsidised, new-writing background but now working exclusively in the commercial sector, I find it frustrating that so few new plays premiere in the West End. The reason why is obvious: the financial risks are too high and the pressure to succeed is too intense. Therefore I am excited by the prospect of hunting for that elusive new play from that first-time playwright, and then producing it to the highest standards and seeing if it is possible for the play to go on to enjoy critical and financial success."

During the first stage of the search, which closes on 1 July, 2005, new writers are invited to submit a synopsis, dialogue examples and descriptions of all characters . (See: )

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