Amy Liptrott (Academy Director & Producer), who accompanied the young writers to London, tells us more.
The Andrea Project was created as a response to Out of Joint's co-production of Andrea Dunbar’s play Rita, Sue and Bob Too with the Octagon Theatre Bolton and the Royal Court in London. Dunbar, was just 15 when she wrote her first play, and 19 when she wrote Rita, Sue and Bob Too. Director, Kate Wasserberg and Out of Joint's Education Officer Gina Abolins wanted to nurture and encourage young women writers, and so, The Andrea Project was born.
For the young women involved, writers Abi Earnshaw, Beatrice de Goede, Katy Hamer and Caitlyn Vinning, this project started back in September 2017. They were brought together in a quiet room with professional playwright Laura Lomas and set their task: to write a ten minute theatre piece to be performed at the Royal Court on 20th January.
The group met weekly under Laura's brilliant and encouraging eye. Laura led them through six weeks of writing workshops to develop and nurture their own stories and voices. The young writers all commented on how liberating it was to be in a female-only space. They felt - and were surprised to feel - how different that experience was to being in the conventional, mixed gender environments they are used to through school and other activities they take part in. And their writing flourished.
Needless to say, their families and those who supported them at the Octagon were proud of what they had done. I don't think any of us were prepared for the quality and sensitivity of their writing: it was stunning.
Since the rehearsed reading at The Royal Court, all four writers have said they are going to continue writing. On 22nd February, the plays were presented back at home in Bolton, via a rehearsed reading with professional actors, to an audience of friends and family at the Octagon.