“I dreamed a dream…” how Scripts and Youth Theatre Ireland came to develop the George B Miller Award
collaboration noun (WORKING WITH)
the situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing.
(Cambridge English Dictionary)
When I was asked to write about how this collaboration came about, I really struggled to remember where or how it all came to be, for it feels as if it has always existed at this point!
A sign no doubt of what a smooth and seamless partnership it has been.
Collaboration has always been at the very nib of my practice as a producing artist. From the very first producing role I took on many moons ago, the idea of pooling creative energy excited me.
In terms of an ideology, it's very simple: I see it like chemistry or cooking; when we bring together all the different ingredients, the sum of what we create is always greater than what we started out with. We all have our individual strengths, resources, skills, but like any resource, what we bring to the table individually is not entirely renewable. The essence of collaboration allows us all to play to our unique strengths.
A type of magic happens when you pool ideas and see things from different perspectives - it’s like looking through a prism when you bring different organisations together on a project like this - you can see so many different perspectives and reflections, through the eyes of your collaborators.
The catchphrase for the George B Miller award has been - “all you need is an idea”. In fact that is how the collaboration came to be. Just the embryonic bud of an idea brought to Youth Theatre Ireland for consideration, when we identified that to honour the spirit of George B Miller, youth theatre would be our first choice. Our values aligned and were very in keeping with the methodologies used by George across his long career.
An award that would see young people and young audiences engaging with contemporary scripts about the worlds they inhabited seemed so fitting. That’s really all we knew a year ago.
Throughout a series of Zoom calls across oceans and miles, Lisa (my Scripts co-producer, Alan (Youth Theatre Ireland Assistant Director) and I pulled things apart, dissected, discussed and dreamed a dream. When Pete Mullineaux came on board as mentor, I recall that feeling of the stars all aligning. Yet another pair of trusted eyes adding to that creative prism, sprinkling his knowledge, insights and kindness into that pot of ideas.
The development of the award involved a lot of flexibility to factor in things like time differences, work schedules, and competing demands but it genuinely felt so easy, because we kind of all spoke the same language…the language that stems from seeing the greater good, the far-reaching outcomes for all involved. It really goes to show that with a bit of determination and the right people around you, a little idea can grow and serve as the roots for many more seedlings. We hope the ideas that the award has stimulated go on to bring oxygen and colour in the garden of your imagination.
Go ahead, send us your idea for a masterpiece. We will work together to make it grow!
by Angela Ryan Whyte