A new, free script writing course has launched in Oxford, offering a selection of emerging playwrights the chance to develop their work alongside professional writers.

The Playhouse Playmaker starts in October, and gives the chosen playwrights over the age of 21 a chance to workshop their scripts alongside award-winning writer John Retallack at the Oxford Playhouse.

Louise Chantal, Oxford Playhouse Chief Executive, said: “We live in such a fast-changing world – without new writing to reflect how life is lived now, theatre will whither into being part of the heritage industry.

“We need to encourage new voices from every sector of the community, because a shrinking world means everyone is our neighbour.

“There is no ‘them’ any more, only ‘us’.

“And as a regional theatre in a culturally thriving city, Oxford Playhouse needs to find the writers who will influence the next generation of theatre-makers and audiences.”

The scheme will offer six Saturday workshops to the chosen writers, teaching them how to develop ideas, through to getting it staged.

Potential entrants can apply by sending in scripts to the Oxford Playhouse.

Louise Chantal added: “We felt acceptance on the adult programme should be competitive and as such it needed to be an ‘award’ rather than a ‘paid-for’ course.

“We know from the success of our ‘Evolve’ artist development programme over the last 3 years that being able to say you’re attached to Oxford Playhouse helps raise artists’ confidence, profiles and indeed other funding.

“I hope Playmaker will have a similar positive effect.”

Scripts can be of any length or any style, and the deadline for the submissions in July 3.

John Retallack is the associate artist at the Bristol Old Vic theatre, and a tutor in writing for performance at Ruskin College, Oxford.

The Oxford Playhouse is also running the Primary Playmaker for children in Year 5 and 6, and the Young Playmaker, for ages 15 to 20.

Submissions for the Playhouse Playmaker scheme close on July 3. For more information and to apply click here.