... supporting and promoting female playwrights
Sam Hall set up 17Percent in 2009 to work specifically with female playwrights, whose work was (and still is) under-represented in the UK.
It ran a showcase event, She Writes and occasionally produced full-length plays: The Spirit of my Dream (2014) and What's through the door? (2013)
“Three plays in one, each delightful and mysterious. The pieces are beautifully and intelligently connected by an overarching narrative… This is a very well‐crafted show that cleverly integrates three stand alone short pieces with one talented small cast and a super narrative… An entertaining and thought provoking evening… An enjoyable potluck evening of theatre with a powerful force behind it, 17%‘s She Writes showcases are definitely to be watched.” **** Everything Theatre"
"I would never have considered writing a piece for theatre if it were not for 17%. It seemed that writing was not for someone like me. It was so rewarding seeing the actors trying out the material I had written, and I learned so much from seeing how the actors worked. All in all, it has been an excellent learning opportunity – one that does not exist elsewhere.” 17% showcased writer.
17Percent also collaborated on The id Project - a Medway-based playwriting initiative for young women and girls, run by playwright Sarah Hehir in 2015.
"It was great to meet new people and discuss ideas and have feedback on my own writing." Kimberly Richardson (16)
WHY and WHAT NEXT? was 17Percent’s first ever event: a two day mini-festival of showcase and discussion events held at the Red Hedgehog in north London, 11 and 12 March 2010.
The panel on Thursday discussed issues around why it was so few women make the transition from student to practising playwright and explored the reasons why people thought it was that so few UK plays by women actually get produced, this covered areas such as; who the gatekeepers are, less women writing in the first place, attitudes to rejection, attitudes to women’s writing; a misapprehension that when a woman writes ‘kitchen sink’ drama it’s domestic, when a man writes it, it’s revelatory.
Friday’s focus was on what positive actions we can take to increase the number of plays being produced. This included advice to write what you are passionate about, not what you think people want you to write; write meaty roles for older actresses who are finding there are few good roles for them; and to do something every day to further your writing. The discussions and plays were recorded and are available as podcasts.
The two-day event was attended by over 100 people.
Playwright Emma Adams; Playwright Clare Bayley; Playwright and educator Sarah Davies; 17Percent founder Sam Hall; City University Head of MA creative writing (plays and screenplays) Barbara Norden; Educator, director and writer Olusola Oyeleye; Artistic Director, Sphinx Theatre Company, Sue Parrish; Director Lucy Pitman-Wallace, Aurora Metro founder Cheryl Robson.
Ava Cummings – The Love Story of Fred and Buttercup / Sue Blundell – Another stab at life / Carolyn Csonka – Pinching squirrels biscuits / Sarah Davies – The road to enlightenment – via Maidstone / Maggie Drury – Do the right thing / Kerry Hood – Magic thing / Gill Kirk – The king was in his counting house / Joanna Alexandra Norland – Lydia Bennett returns /Joanna Pinto – The girl who collected stories / Marianne Powell – Khao San Road