Thursday 3 May 2012, 13:59
In October 2011, we started work on Write by the Quays, a joint project between the University of Salford and BBC Writersroom North to celebrate the launch of Media City UK in Salford.
Over the course of the next three months, students from across the University of Salford worked closely with Henry R. Swindell, New Writing Manager at BBC Writersroom North, to develop short plays about or inspired by Salford – there was an opportunity to attend a launch event for the project, a pitching session and a development workshop.
In total, around 200 students benefitted from these workshops, including 80 students on targeted modules.
In January the entries – over 150 of them – came in.
These were shortlisted by myself and Henry before being passed on to our generous judges – actress Shobna Gulati, Creative Director of New Writing at the BBC Kate Rowland and Associate Director at the Bush Theatre Omar Elerian.
On March 21st, the final six winning pieces of work were produced at BBC Dock House at the Write by the Quays showcase at Media City – directed by Elizabeth Newman, Associate Director at the Octagon Theatre Bolton, and performed by professional actors Cassie Atkinson, Paul Ryan Carberry, Eve Steele and Simon Trinder.
The Write by the Quays showcase was performed before an audience of BBC staff, including many who had recently moved up to Salford, as well as students, their families and the public, offering many a chance to go inside the BBC buildings at Media City for the first time.
Accompanying this blog are two films – interviews with the student winners and a highlights film of the Write by the Quays showcase which took place at Media City.
Both of these films have been entirely filmed, directed, produced and edited by University of Salford students.
As a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Salford, I am aware that the opening of Media City has sometimes been controversial.
The majority of our students at the University of Salford come from Salford or the surrounding areas, many are mature students or students who are the first in their families to go to University and most of these students had never written a play or been to Media City before this project.
In the course of the project, over 500 students had the opportunity to work with Writersroom and all have, I know, come out feeling that Media City is a place which is open and welcoming to them and that both writing and working with the BBC are possible career paths they could pursue.
Above all, I hope that the Write by the Quays project has been a fitting celebration of the BBC and University of Salford’s joint move to Media City, demonstrating that, with training and investment, there is a wealth of local talent from Salford, ready and waiting to be developed even further than we have been able to do with this project.
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