Papatango Theatre Company today announces that Isolated But Open Commissions - Voices From Across The Shutdown will now include two new monologues from award-winning writers Rachel De-Lahay and Anders Lustgarten, alongside ten monologues chosen anonymously from an open call-out. Also announced today, in addition to being filmed and shared for free, all monologues will be published by Nick Hern Books as an online PDF available for free download.

Rachel De-Lahay (Circles, My Twin, Routes – for which she won the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, Peckham: The Soap Opera, Pussy Riots, The Westbridge, Noughts + Crosses) has penned Balcony Bonding, a witty and wry look at neighbours suddenly making long-overdue introductions following self-isolation. It will be performed by Susan Wokoma (Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Labour of Love (Noel Coward Theatre), Year of the Rabbit).

Anders Lustgarten (The Hope of the Sea, The Secret Theatre, Seven Acts of Mercy, The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie, If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep – for which he won the inaugural Harold Pinter Playwright’s Award) has written Solastalgia, a chillingly beautiful yet funny reflection on humanity's place in the world. It will be performed by Danny Kirrane (Jerusalem (Royal Court, Apollo Theatre, MusicBox Theatre), Vassa, The Hunt (Almeida Theatre), As You Like It (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)).

The performances of Rachel and Anders' monologues will be released at noon on Friday 27 March, providing a dose of inspiration for everyone working on a monologue ahead of the deadline for submissions at midnight on Tuesday 31 March.

Once all ten monologues have been selected, the performances will be shared for free online, accompanied by a downloadable PDF of the playscripts, generously provided by Nick Hern Books.

Isolated But Open Commissions - Voices From Across The Shutdown is one of Papatango’s several initiatives to encourage creativity and facilitate the enjoyment of new writing in the face of theatre closures across the country. Other projects include the Papatango Mobile Library, and free advice services on Arts Council funding and any other creative concerns.

Papatango is a charity who discover and champion new playwrights by running free, open-application, anonymously-assessed opportunities, under the motto: all you need is a story.

The Papatango New Writing Prize is free to enter and open to any resident of the UK or Ireland. It is assessed anonymously by a reading team which identifies as at least 50% female and is at least 25% BAME. All entrants receive personal feedback on their scripts, an unmatched commitment to supporting aspiring playwrights. The 2020 Prize will assess and give personal feedback to 1,504 plays from every region of the UK and Ireland. The winner is guaranteed a full production, publication, royalties and commission. The Prize was the first UK award to make such a commitment, changing the landscape for new writing.

Winners have been evenly divided between men and women, aged from their 20s to their 50s, and 70% have been state educated. They have won BAFTAs, Off West End and Royal National Theatre Foundation awards, premiered in over 20 countries and in the West End, and worked with the RSC, National Theatre, BBC and HBO, among many other leading organisations.

As well as the Prize, Papatango offers a yearly Resident Playwright scheme, taking an emerging playwright through commissioning, development and production of a new play. Previous Residents have won an Alfred Fagon Audience Award, adapted their play for BBC Radio Four, been commissioned by Headlong, the Tricycle Theatre, and the North Wall Arts Centre, and seen their work tour nationwide with Papatango.

Papatango also run GoWrite, an extensive programme of free playwriting workshops, performances and publication for children and adults across the country. Each year it provides free face-to-face training or productions for over 4000 budding writers at state schools, regional venues and community centres, launching plays that have gone on to be staged at Hampstead Theatre, the Vaults Festival, Old Red Lion Theatre, Arcola Theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Luton Hat Factory and the Quarry Theatre, Bedford. GoWrite also provides £5000 in bursaries to enable in-need writers nationwide to access opportunities. In 2019 Papatango launched WriteWest, a playwriting programme across south-west England which provides free training, performances and seed funding for over 1000 grassroots writers and producers.

Papatango’s first book, Being A Playwright: A Career Guide for Writers, was published in autumn 2018 by Nick Hern Books. It topped Amazon’s best-seller list in the playwriting category, and has been described as a “phenomenon for playwriting good…a bible for playwrights” by Steve Waters and “enlightening…an excellent tool for playwrights” by Indhu Rubasingham.