EXCLUSIVE: Origin Pictures, Paines Plough, BBC Films launch writing scheme

Origin Pictures is teaming with theatre company Paines Plough on a scheme to develop playwrights’ screen-writing skills.

Origin, producers of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and TV series Jamaica Inn, is launching the scheme with backing from its BFI Vision Award and in collaboration with BBC Films.

The partnership will support four playwrights in their writing across film and theatre over six months through workshops, mentoring and editorial support.

The selected writers are Alia Bano, Stacey Gregg, Ali Taylor and Alexandra Wood.

Bano won the Charles Wintour Award in 2009 for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Awards for her play Shades, which ran at the Royal Court that year. Her play Gap was commissioned by the Royal National Theatre for their Connections 2011 season.

Wood, whose plays include The Eleventh Capital (Royal Court), The Lion’s Mouth (Rough Cuts/Royal Court), Unbroken (Gate Theatre), Decade (co-writer/Headlong) and an adaptation of Jung Chang’s Wild Swans (Young Vic/American Repertory Theater), won the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright in 2007.

Taylor is currently working on a television adaptation of his comedy play Fault Lines (Hampstead Theatre Downstairs) as well as a new play created during an attachment at the Royal Court Theatre.

Gregg’s plays include Override (Watford Palace Theatre) and Perve (Abbey Theatre Dublin). She is currently working on commissions for the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Clean Break, and BBC NI.

James Grieve and George Perrin, artistic directors, Paines Plough, said: “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Origin Pictures, BBC Films and the BFI Vision Award to support four of the UK’s most exciting writers over the next six months. We are privileged to be working with the stars of the future.”

Paines Plough, founded in 1974 by writer David Pownall and director John Adams, specialises in commissioning and producing new plays.

The company has worked with writers including Tony Marchant, Abi Morgan, Enda Walsh, Dennis Kelly and Jack Thorne.

Origin is developing first films with playwrights Nick Payne and Polly Stenham while feature X+Y, the first film from James Graham, whose new play The Angry Brigade premieres in a Paines Plough production in September, is currently in post-production and funded by the BFI and BBC Films.

Origin has also just wrapped shooting on playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell’s first original screenplay, The Woman in Gold, directed by Simon Curtis and starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.