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The Baptiste Programme

Applications are now closed.

Are you a black Irish writer or writer of colour? Interested in writing for the stage? Are you ready to commit time to exploring ideas about playwriting, putting ideas down on paper and then expanding into new drafts? Did you ever want to work with a dramaturg? Would you like the opportunity to talk to well known playwrights and find out how they go about writing their plays? How about handing your script over to actors to hear your words read out?

If you have ever thought about these things the Baptiste Programme at Smock Alley could be right for you.

The Baptiste Programme is a paid and mentored script development programme for Black Irish theatre makers and writers of colour.

The programme is named after the 18th century Black Irish singer Rachel Baptiste, who performed to great acclaim here in Smock Alley as well as at other notable and prestigious venues and pleasure gardens of the time. There’s a good article about her over on headstuff which is well worth checking out.

This programme is a combination of dramaturgy workshops, mentor seminars and facilitated meetings. The programme culminates in a reading of the new scripts with a professional cast and director.
2021 was the first year of the programme and we were delighted to work with an amazing cohort including Amanda Azams, CN Smith and Kwaku Fortune.

We are planning to run the programme again in 2022 and are now looking for expression of interest from interested artists.

Smock Alley has long been a venue that supports artists particularly in the early part of their career. The Baptiste Programme is one of a series of targeted new work programmes at Smock which seek to professionalise young artists, provide a platform for underrepresented voices and raise skills in artistic practice.

The programme sessions will be held in Dublin and will be a combination of in-person and on-line events.

Please apply via this link: https://form.jotform.com/212722727190049 and include copy of your CV or a bio along with an answer to the following question: Why do you feel this programme will help you at this point in your practice?

The final deadline for applications is 6pm on Friday 5th November.

The programme has been previously funded by the Arts Council and Dublin City Council.

The programme is broken into four stages that take place over 9 months. The first stage includes script concept exploration, writing plans and feedback sessions lead by Pamela McQueen. The second stage will involve master classes with Irish and British writers with established careers. For 2021 we were very pleased to have, May Sumbwanyambe, Inua Ellams and Sonya Kelly deliver these sessions. In stage three the writers will focus on redrafting their scripts with further dramaturgical support from the team and peer-to-peer support facilitated by alumni from the programme. First draft scripts will then have an in-house informal reading with actors. The fourth and final stage is a facilitated two-day rehearsed reading process for the redrafted script with a professional cast and director.

Contemporary of Rachel Baptiste. Portrait by Jean-Etienne Liotard.

Images from our rehearsed readings presentation in August 2021

Pictured Top Left L – R:  Esther Ayo James, Donna Anita Nikolaisen, Ryan Lincoln, Pete Daly, Bairbre Ní Chaoimh, Barry Simpson, Jeanne Nicole Ní Áinle. | Top Middle L – R: Amanda Azams, Jeanne Nicole Ní Áinle, Esther Ayo James | Top Right: Jeanne Nicole Ní Áinle |  Middle Left: Amanda Azams, Alessandra Zevedo, Jeanne Nicole Ní Áinle, Yves Lorrhan | Bottom Left: Bairbre Ní Chaoimh, Caitríona Ní Mhurchú | Bottom Middle: Amanda Azams, Esther Ayo James | Bottom Right: Amanda Azams, Aoife Spillanne-Hinks