Show menu

First Commissions

HighTide's aim is to produce new plays by writers who are yet to receive their first commission. 
First Commissions is HighTide's attachment programme for writers. Every year, we work with six emerging writers under the age of 30, and aid them to:
  • Write a new stage play;
  • Produce two rehearsed readings in professional theatres;
  • Collaborate with a director;
  • Engage an established playwright to act as a mentor and dramaturg;
  • Make an application to Arts Council England for funding.

HighTide commissions are developed and made in Suffolk, and at least one commission every year will be relative to life in or by a writer from East Anglia. HighTide produces well resourced debut productions with substantial research and development periods, which benefit from development with HighTide associates and audience feedback. HighTide playwrights are new, adventurous and diverse in terms of ethnicity, political philosophy, and socio-economic backgrounds.

What Are We Looking For? 

We’re looking for playwrights with vivid, theatrical voices who have something important to say about the world we live in now. We’re also interested in writers/theatre-makers who challenge the conventional relationship between a play and an audience.

Writer and Play Development

Each play selected for this programme will undergo at least one year of development with HighTide. The first stage of this development is, with mentoring from HighTide associates and artists, to research, develop and write a draft of your play suitable for a public reading. During this time you will also build a relationship with an emerging director who will aid you in development of your play. After this stage your play will be read at the annual HighTide Festival of new plays as a rehearsed reading and, following further feedback and development, will receive a rehearsed reading at one other professional theatre. Following this stage your play will be developed again, and submitted to HighTide for consideration for production as a fully resourced debut production that will either premiere at the annual HighTide Festival of New Plays, or at a co-producer venue across the UK.

Please note: an offer of a place on our First Commissions scheme is not a guarantee of a full production. A commission will only be optioned for production by HighTide and possible co-producers if it is deemed of a production ready standard and quality. In some special circumstances if plays are deemed of a high enough quality after the initial reads they may be optioned for production early.

First Commissions applications will re-open in 2018. 

First Commissions is supported by the Martin Bowley Charitable Trust, the Noel Coward Foundation and the John Thaw Foundation.