Two of the RSC’s 37 Plays will be performed script in hand on 28 Oct at Norwich Theatre Playhouse.
The plays – North Star by Tom Murray and The Ever Changing Sea by Jordon Grant – were selected in the final 37 from more than 2,000 entries.
It marks the conclusion of a year-long search to discover the most exciting voices of today to honour the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the first time his plays were brought together in one book.
The North Star is based on real events: when Nazi Deputy Leader, Rudolf Hess, flew a solo plane to Scotland in 1941 to end the war and crash-landed in a farmer’s field.
The Ever Changing Sea tells the story of Joe and Ciaran, two boys from a care home. Joe has been rejected by a local fisherman who has been grooming him and thinks he can hear the sea talking to him. Wading out, he goes in and out of the water, changing form.
Pippa Hill, Head of New Work at the Royal Shakespeare Company, said: “It has always been vital to the RSC to celebrate, nurture and stage the voices of contemporary writers alongside our house playwright, and we feel very privileged to have met and worked alongside so many writers that are new to us over the past 12 months. The writers of the chosen 37 plays have all received bespoke dramaturgical support and are now building strong relationships with the RSC’s network of theatre partners in order to be fully involved in the preparations for the readings of their plays to be held this autumn.
“When we embarked on this initiative, we always envisioned this collection of new plays to be read and performed all over the country in collaboration with our partner theatres: on their stages and community stages, in schools and by both amateur and professional acting companies.”
The search for plays closed on 31 Jan 2023, attracting 2,000+ submissions from across the UK. Over six weeks, 24 readers read 31 plays per week to create an initial longlist of 350 plays. From the longlist, a total of 71 plays were shortlisted for commendation, with the final 37 coming from locations as far afield as Devon to Edinburgh and from writers aged under 11, from 11 – 17 and over 18+.
Play submissions were divided into three age categories: up to 11 years old, 11 to 17 years old and 18 years old and above. Multi-authored plays were invited to nominate a lead writer or average age of writers.
Submissions were requested to be predominantly written in English or in British Sign Language, with a translation provided for any text not in the English language. Submissions needed to be a complete original story, not a sample of a story or an adaptation of a story, and submitted plays should not have had a professional production or have been under commission at the time of submission.