9. Istanbul, 2007

April 1st-5th 2007, at the “Oyun-Yaz” Festival

This was the first of what was intended to become an annual new writing festival, to take place in Istanbul for a week in April.

Mehmet Ergen and Oyun Yaz set up a new writing festival in Istanbul to build on the British Council workshops he has been running with playwrights across Turkey for the previous 2 years. By bringing international guests to Istanbul the aim was to build profile for his aim domestically.

Playwright and dramaturg Penny Black, also working at the Goethe Institute, has set up the Middle East Dramatic Arts Forum with Rima Brihi. Turkey provided an ideal location to bring Middle Eastern practitioners into The Fence., yielding representatives from Morocco, Kuwait, Syria, Libya and Egypt.

The objectives of the festival

  • *Generate an interest for new writing both within the industry and the public.
  • Expose the writers who have come through the “Oyun-Yaz” project.
  • Create a network for the emerging playwrights
  • Provide an international platform to initiate inter-cultural dialogue between playwrights from Turkey and their counterparts from abroad.
  •  Explore with British, European (including Balkan) and Middle Eastern playwrights and cultural operators, the wider cultural, infrastructural and curricular challenges facing Turkish playwriting *
  • Reflect on creative cross border collaborations, drawing on first hand experience of Janus, The Fence and Theatre Cafe

The structure of the Festival

  • Script-in-hand performances of new plays by emerging Turkish playwrights.These plays will have been developed by “Oyun-Yaz” project throughout the year.
  • Workshops for playwrights led by national and international theatre practitioners.
  • Rrehearsed readings of some international new plays.- in both Turkish and English.
  • Talks and discussions focusing on the “ways to develop new-writing in Turkey”

About the Oyun Yaz Project

Oyun Yaz is a year round project sourcing and creating new plays and offering platforms for new playwrights to make contacts and find homes for their work. Since 2004, the Oyun Yaz project has searched for new playwrights in 5 cities in Turkey - ?stanbul, Van, Diyarbak?r, Ankara, Kocaeli – with the help and support of writers, directors and dramaturgs from UK. As a result, many first time playwrights have emerged with new plays.

Oyun Yaz aims to demonstrate the wealth of playwriting talent in Turkey and to create a platform for those who seek out work for repertoirs to see a wide range of new plays.

Primarily funded by the British Council, Turkey, since 2004, the project also continues to sustain and create links between British and Turkish theatre makers.

The project's Artistic Director is Mehmet Ergen and the producer is Seçil Honeywill. Writers and Directors mentoring Oyun Yaz writers: Serdar Bili? ,John Burgess, Mehmet Ergen, Jennifer Farmer, Lisa Goldman, Christine Harmar Brown, Secil Honeywill, Judith Johnson, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Tiffany Watt-Smith

Oyun Yaz Festival

The Oyun Yaz Festival is an opportunity for people to meet and discover the new plays.This year, the festival also hosts one of the Fence meetings of playwrights, which takes place in 4 other cities in Europe.

The first plays of 11 new playwrights were selected from a pool of 400 texts to present as rehearsed readings. The aim was to find plays that represent the reality of contemporary Turkish life. The selectors were looking for plays which used social realism and avoided absurist, personal and deviant traditions.

Alongside the readings of the plays, the festival also offered a series of workshops in English and Turkish open to playwrights of all levels and experience.

The 11 plays read at the festival were:

  • Tamar Ah Tamar - Cem Düzova
  • Village Shuttle - Toprak Işık
  • Days of Fire - Irmak Bahçeci
  • Vicious Circle - Asmin Singez
  • Kicking the Dead - Şahan Agar
  • A Requiem for Gul - Deniz Altun
  • I'm the Boss - Barış Toraz
  • Basil Dead End - Meltem Yıldırım
  • Rabies - Özüm Hatipoglu
  • Tree - Volkan Sarıöz
  • Takimeter - Alper Pala

For full details of the festival and synopsis of the plays, visit the Oyun Yaz website: