‘Gben’ means 'write' in Edo, the language spoken primarily in Edo State, Nigeria. In 2017 eight bursaries were awarded to young people of African Caribbean heritage from Tyne & Wear. The bursaries were worth more than £1000 and included a place on a play-writing course for 16-25 year olds.
The course, run by two of the region’s most respected theatre practitioners, Gez Casey and Paul James, taught the art of playwriting – key elements of writing for the stage including story-line, theatrical development and character progression.
Students gained transferable skills including verbal and written communication, collaborative working, problem-solving, and an ability to act on constructive criticism.
The first cohort of students started in March 2017 and their work was presented as script-in-hand readings in Live Theatre’s studio in May 2017. The 2017 Gben Bursaries were in memory of playwright, actor, story-teller and dancer Osa Omorogbe, who was born in Nigeria but who lived in Newcastle for more than 45 years, and run in partnership with Waka Waka Africa North East. The group continues to meet to develop their work and go on trips to see plays.
Information on the Gben!/Write! Programme for 2017/18 will be announced soon.