Artistic Director of Arch 468 Rebecca Atkinson-Lord talks about the Arch 468 Hope Prize

As the industry continues on the roadmap to recovery a year post the pandemic, we’re reminded of just how crucial the arts are in terms of bringing communities together, wellbeing and creativity. In a year that has brought with it various challenges and difficulties for many, it’s a case of rebuilding a more hopeful and sustainable future. Committed to supporting a mid scale production suitable for both a live and digital space, Arch 468 present the Arch 468 Hope Prize, a £10,000 commission supporting a creative team realise a new work offering the vision of hope. Artistic Director Rebecca Atkinson-Lord tells us more about the award.

You’ve recently launched the Arch 468 Hope Prize, awarding a £10,000 commission to new work offering a vision of hope – something we’re all currently seeking at present. What does it mean to be able to support a new piece of work post pandemic

It’s a wonderful thing. Especially after a year when so few new pieces could be commissioned or produced. I think lots of us in the theatre community have found it really hard to find reasons to be optimistic during the pandemic, so launching an open access commission to support plays with a vision of hope feels like an important way to remind us all that we have more control over our futures than we sometimes think. It also feels important to us that we put money into the hands of artists and commit to producing a mid-scale show as a way of kickstarting people’s livelihoods once again. As a company, we have been lucky to be able to continue operating sustainably during the pandemic and because we know that many artists and companies we care about have struggled, there’s a sense of responsibility to pay forward some of that good fortune to the community we love.

The commission is for a full rehearsal draft for a new mid-scale play which Arch 468 will commit to produce. What are you looking for from submissions?

We’re looking for plays that surprise us with a convincing vision of hope for the future. We like clever, mischievous, joyful writing that has a unique voice. The play we choose will be well suited for mid-scale touring by a small project funded company like Arch 468 and will include a clear sense of how the play might be produced in the digital realm alongside a live production.

Alongside the commission, you’ll be offering dramaturgical support, creative friendship and R&D resources as needed. What will these entail?

What that creative friendship involves will be defined by what the winning writer needs most. We know that everyone’s writing process is different so we’re committed to supporting our playwright in a completely bespoke way. That might involve reading and giving notes, discussing ideas, asking difficult questions, enforcing deadlines, helping with research, testing the material with actors, suggesting useful artistic reference points or any number of other things. What’s most important is that we support the playwright to create the best possible piece they are capable of at this stage of their career.

You’re looking for shows that can be produced both live and for the digital stage. What would applicants need to consider when creating a draft of work suitable for both platforms?

It’s important that writers visualise how the piece will work in both live and digital realms. We don’t just want to film plays; we want stories that can be enriched and transformed by a digital telling and experiences that engage and transform our audiences however they encounter the play.

What advice can you offer to anyone looking to apply for the prize?

Be yourself. We care about you and who you are and we really want to get excited about you and your idea. Don’t overthink your proposal; gut instincts are really important. We want proposals that feel enthusiastic and exciting. Bash it down quickly without using fancy words or formal language. Write like you are speaking to us in the pub.

To apply, submit:

  • A 1 page (500 words) outline of the play you want to write. What’s the story, why do youcare about it and why should we?
  • A first rough draft of the first ten pages of that play to give a sense of your voice as awriter.
  • Your CV, including contact details and the name, phone number and email address of tworeferees who have a sense of your work. Don’t worry about picking ‘notable’ referees,Arch 468 would rather speak to people who know and love your work.
  • A completed Equal Opportunities monitoring form.All documents should be emailed in word or PDF format to with thesubject line “Arch 468 Hope Prize 2021”.Arch 468 will host a Zoom Q&A for writers interested in applying at 6pm on 17th March. To book your place please fill in the form here: Arch 468 Hope Prize 2021 Commission Call Out — Arch 468.Please note: You must be free to write a full rehearsal draft of the play, incorporating a minimum of two sets of notes within 12 months of the application deadline.
Written by Theatrefullstop