Steven Atkinson: Programming HighTide

Steven Atkinson: Programming HighTide

Posted on May 20th, 2016

Everybody involved at HighTide; full time staff, associates, artists, board and audiences, are all part of the hunt for the next great unproduced script. Without the plays we’d be nothing. We’re happy to receive them.

I have one primary consideration when programming; ‘what do I want theatre to be?’

  • What are the stories that should be shared?
  • Who are the actors that we should be watching?
  • Who are the directors and designers doing new things really well?
  • What makes theatre preferable to other pass times?
  • Who should be involved?

The greatest satisfaction I’ve had from my work at HighTide has been when something new has challenged the mainstream. Often it’s been the writers showing audiences new things through new means. But as revelatory have been new audiences, actors, artists pushing the form forward. In the twelve years I’ve now been working in theatre, the face of who is making it, what they are making and who they are making it for has changed radically. I’m proud that HighTide has driven part of that change.

That was the what. As for the how, we’ve found plays from every imaginable means.

We’re now very committed to First Commissions. It’s a means of supporting early career writers with a home: proper guidance, mentoring, artistic and producing feedback, and crucially, money. Our next round of applications will open in the autumn. I hope that writers will keep an eye out. And in the meantime writers, keep inviting us to your plays and send your scripts in. We produce around five to six shows every year, and HighTide remains one of the few producers of brand new talent.

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