The School of HighTide  

HighTide Theatre Company  has announced the first phase of its Inventing the Future programme, a range of initiatives to support the rebuilding of the arts sector in its current recovery phase and made possible by a grant of £78,000 from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund. This includes the launch of School of HighTide and two new Higher Education partnerships with London College of Communication at University of the Arts, London and University of East Anglia.

In response to the pandemic crisis and designed to address the barriers and structures that disproportionately impact some artists from sustaining a career, HighTide Theatre Company is launching School of HighTide, a free three-month workshop programme curated by Director and HighTide Associate Artist Chris Sonnex.  The School of HighTide is open to playwrights who identify as Black, Asian, MENA, Latin and/or all Minority Ethnic heritage and who are committed to playwriting and want to strengthen their practise.

The School of HighTide has been designed to develop writing craft and introduce participants to different ways of thinking. Successful applicants will be given be the chance to learn from a broad spectrum of practitioners, both within and outside the industry. The School will look at the bigger picture of creating work right now and in the future. It’s a chance to consider how to make work out of this moment, a moment that has highlighted and emphasised injustices and divisions. The School will allow participants to consider what kind of creative they want to be now and equip them with tools to be able to explore this. The workshop series will offer facilitated and safe space to converse, listen and reflect on the significant inequalities in the arts sector, and to implement change and positive response divisions.

The School of HighTide will look at topics such as character representation & intersectionality, unconscious bias, writing joy, centring communities in your work, form & structure as well topics surrounding artist wellbeing, how to earn a living from creating and more.

HighTide has long been known for nurturing truly diverse talent and showcasing the future of British theatre. They work across the UK to develop and showcase the country’s best new playwrights and plays and productions are typically challenging, contemporary and political, and are written by diverse new playwrights. These new initiatives very much continue in this vein.

‘Inventing the Future is part of our contribution to the UK’s cultural recovery and I’m delighted to share the first phase of this programme. As a new writing organisation, we have always championed and uplifted artistic voices. However, the Covid-19 Global Pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement has re-affirmed my belief that Black, Asian, MENA, Latin and all Minority Ethnic heritage writers must be supported and nurtured. They should also be encouraged to develop not only their craft but also how they use their artistic voice to tell stories that reflect the urgent political and social changes that have happened this year. Through School of HighTide writers will not only to make sense of current events as individuals, but also how that understanding and passion can be harnessed into making the most relevant and necessary work for today. 

 This paired with our partnerships with the London College of Communication (LCC) at University of the Arts, London and University of East Anglia will allow us to contribute in a meaningful way to breaking down barriers and addressing systematic racism and inequalities within the arts. The theatre of tomorrow is not the theatre of the past and we welcome the opportunities this brings for a more exciting, diverse and responsive British Theatre ecology.” Suba Das, HighTide’s Artistic Director and CEO

This programme is not aimed at beginners who have never written before. However, the school will not have a set criteria on how much work you must have previously created, acknowledging the barriers that may have prevented work being staged or created. This programme is designed to engage writers who are motivated and committed to furthering themselves as artists and are willing to attend sessions with an open mind and a willingness to explore.

There will be a taster session of the school in December. Led by HighTide Artistic Director Suba Das and HighTide Associate Artist Chino Odimba, the session will look at writing craft with the chance for participants to take part in a writing exercise. Deadline to sign up is 6 December with an intended programme start date of 11 January 2020.

All interested participants will be invited to take part in the taster workshop which will include a writing exercise. To ensure the workshops are engaging as possible, there is a limited capacity for the full workshop programme.

Sessions will run weekly from the beginning of January 2020 until March 2021. The sessions will be approximately one hour in length and will take place on Monday evenings. Sessions will take place via Zoom and HighTide expect participants to be able to attend all or most of the sessions. Playwrights who would like to take part and fit the outlined criteria, please fill in this expression of interest form at: