Applications open for the Write Across Birmingham & the Black Country scheme backed by Lenny Henry

Sir Lenny Henry is backing a new scheme that will support emerging writing talent from across Birmingham and the Black Country

(Image: Nick Robinson)

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The West Midlands’ very own Sir Lenny Henry is backing a new scheme that will support emerging writing talent from across Birmingham and the Black Country.

Applications are now open for the Write Across Birmingham and the Black Country scheme – the product of a partnership between the BBC, Create Central and a number of the West Midlands’ leading creative organisations.

Speaking at the launch event in Birmingham on Friday 2nd February, which was also attended by BBC Director General, Tim Davie, Sir Lenny Henry, said: “This is a very good time to be in the Midlands, the next few years is all about development. It’s going to be a cultural hotspot again. The BBC is here, Create Central is here, BBC Writers is here. I want to be involved in that and Steven Knight wants to be involved in that. Good things are coming.”

On the Write Across Birmingham and Black Country scheme, which provides 12 aspiring writers with a crucial insight into writing for TV, Lenny added: “This is a brilliant way of saying the doors are open, come in. There are a gazillion people who want to write stories, and represent people like them. This is a brilliant opportunity for people to say ‘I’ve got eight weeks, I don’t have to pay, I’ve got all of these brilliant people to learn from, and to nurture me. I want to be part of something like that.’”

Through a series of engaging workshops, expert-led sessions and networking opportunities, the eight-week scheme will cover the foundations of storytelling for the screen, while demystifying the process of writing for television. It runs from June to September in 2024 with applications closing on Tuesday 5th March.

Jessica Loveland, Head of New Writing for BBC Writers and BBC Drama Commissioning, is urging up and coming writers to get their applications in now: “We know there are many brilliant writers in this region who have exciting, entertaining and urgent stories to tell. The aim of Write Across is to give writers the tools and the knowledge to share those stories more widely. And with some creativity, hard work and a sprinkle of magic, hopefully in time they’ll bring their writing to screen.

“We want to work with a range of new voices who represent the diversity of this incredible region. We’re looking for writers who absolutely LOVE TV, who watch lots of shows, read all the scripts and are really excited to explore writing for the medium.”

Lenny continued: “I want to do more things set in the Midlands, my production company are hopefully going to create more here because why wouldn’t you? There are so many talented people here, so many great places. I want to say ‘this is a place you haven’t seen before – Dudley, Wall Heath, Tipton, Smethwick. I want to make a drama in Tipton, in Smethwick. I want to write about the North Street riots. I want to do a story about black American soldiers meeting people in Wolverhampton, and asking what pork scratchings are.”

BBC Writers will be hosting a second launch event for the scheme at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton on Wednesday 21 February.

BBC Writers, which works to support scriptwriting talent, and Create Central, which aims to turbo-charge the creative content sector in the region, are partnering with Birmingham Rep; Script Sirens; Dudley Creates; Creative Black Country; and Black Country Touring for the scheme.

This is the second year of the ‘Write Across’ scheme which was successfully piloted in Liverpool last year. The programme forms part of the BBC’s commitment to create more opportunities outside of London as part of the ‘Across the UK’ strategy and agreement with Create Central and West Midlands Combined Authority. By 2027/28, the BBC will be spending at the very least, an extra £700m cumulatively across the UK - generating an additional economic benefit of over £850 million. This will not only dramatically increase opportunities for jobs and training but improve representation on and off screen.

For more information on how to apply for the scheme, visit the BBC Writers website at www.bbc.co.uk/writers

Free tickets for the next BBC Writers Wolverhampton event are available now from the Arena Theatre box office.

Source BBC One

February 7, 2024 4:00am ET by BBC One  

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