Chichester Young Playwrights

Chichester Young Playwrights (CYP) was a fantastic partnership project between New Writing South and Chichester Festival Theatre. Working under the guidance of a playwright from the New Writing South, aspiring writers, aged 16- 25, were guided through ten tailor-made workshops to inspire and develop them as playwrights.

The group has gone from strength to strength, with writers going on to have their work performed at Southwick Playhouse, the Young Vic and BAC, to name but a few.

Chris Taylor of New Writing South, said: ‘It’s a project NWS wanted to see realised for some time – an opportunity for young people in the South East to have access to a professional writing programme that was attached to a major producing theatre. The inspiration came from the Royal Court’s Young Writers Programme and we finally found the perfect partners for the scheme at Chichester Festival Theatre.’

One of the remarkable strengths of Chichester Young Playwrights programme is the connections and associations made. Recently the group have met with Lucy Prebble (Enron, The Effect), Steve Harper (Theatre 503), Steven Atkinson (High Tide) and Julian Mitchell (Another Country). Previous visiting artists have included award-winning playwrights such as Ronald Harwood, Chloe Moss, Dennis Kelly, Bryony Lavery.

Rupert Rowbotham, Director of Learning and Participation at Chichester Festival Theatre, explained: ‘When I started at CFT, I was struck by the thriving youth theatre and passionate engagement of young people, and the Youth Theatre Director and I both felt that the skills being shared in these sessions could and should be diversified to reflect all of the skills that theatre employed. Then I met with New Writing South – I had heard what excellent work they were doing – and found that Chris shared the same ambition.’

As the young writers developed, so did the project, and CHAPS was born, the next step for some of the writers, where they work towards creating a full-length play.

Chichester Young Playwrights culminated in Play Pod, where several short pieces are selected to be developed and performed as part of the CFT programme. Directed by the Festival Associate and Assistant Directors, and performed by Festival actors, the showcases are an exciting short showcase of tomorrow’s playwrights.

We are also delighted that our first Chichester Young Playwright had her first full length play performed at the Minerva – well done Amelia Mlynowska!