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New Script-Reading Company RoughHewn to Provide Dramaturgical Support for Playwrights

New Script-Reading Company RoughHewn to Provide Dramaturgical Support for Playwrights

A new script-reading service has been set up to offer dramaturgical support to playwrights of all experience levels, providing a resource in short supply. Founded in 2019 by two directors and dramaturgs, Tamar Saphra and Tommo Fowler, RoughHewn work with writers to shape, focus and develop their plays.

The founders set up RoughHewn to address the challenge UK theatres face in providing direct feedback to the many playwrights submitting unsolicited scripts - they wanted to offer an affordable service to help bridge the gap.

Literary departments are the lifeblood of the theatre ecology in the UK, searching for and nurturing exceptional new voices - and script-readers are a vital part of that. Between them Tamar and Tommo have read thousands of plays, helping to identify emerging talent and recommending next steps for the development of writers and their work. They draw on their cumulative experience as script readers for the UK's most prestigious new writing theatres, including: The National Theatre, Royal Court, Almeida Theatre, Bush Theatre, Theatre503, and the Finborough. They've also read for the UK's biggest playwriting prizes - The Bruntwood Prize, the Papatango Prize and the Theatre503 Playwriting Award.

Arts journalist, theatre critic and Evening Standard Awards judge Holly Williams is a consulting associate, providing additional reads and feedback.

"We founded RoughHewn to enable us to work directly with playwrights via a dramaturgical process that puts their aims and intentions at its heart, as well as to demystify theatres' unsolicited submissions processes. We want to empower writers, to support them in getting their stories to their most clearly articulated next stage."

Tamar Saphra

"Our mission is simple: to make dramaturgy accessible to all, especially to playwrights without the support of a building or experienced network of peers. This can happen at any point in the work's development: sometimes it's about getting a script ready for production, but often it's about exploring and refining the potential of an initial idea - digging down deeply into what's really important to writers, then helping them express it theatrically and with clarity."

Tommo Fowler

For more information about RoughHewn:


Standard fee is £85, which covers a detailed reading of the play, a face-to-face meeting (or Skype if necessary) and concise email with next steps. Subsequent reads of the same play are offered at a discount.

Pricing is flexible to suit the writer's need - and as well as script-reading, they also offer more sustained dramaturgical support over half- and full-day sessions, or across a production process.

They'll agree a fee based on exactly what the writer needs and are keen to make sure that dramaturgy is affordable and accessible. They are currently in the process of seeking funding from Arts Council England and private donors in order to subsidise the cost of their service.

All fees are based on a rate of £14.50ph, and calculations are clearly and transparently laid out on the website.

If any writer feels the fee is prohibitive - or if they are on Job Seeker's Allowance, Employment & Support Allowance, Universal Credit or any other benefits - they can speak to the company. Money shouldn't be a barrier to getting dramaturgical support.

Tamar Saphra Biography:

Tamar is a director and a dramaturg and works collaboratively with playwrights to develop new plays. She trained on the Directing MA at Mountview and is a Resident Director at the Almeida Theatre. Tamar regularly experiments across artistic form, collaborating with artists, composers and writers and her more recent directing and assistant directing work creatively integrates D/deaf and disabled access into the theatre-making process. She is currently a script reader for the Almeida Theatre, the Bruntwood Prize and Soho Theatre, and has previously been a reader for The National Theatre, the Bush Theatre and the Papatango Prize. As director, recent credits include:Alice (VAULT Festival 2020), Are There Female Gorillas? (Brighton Fringe/ Camden People's Theatre); The Noises (Old Red Lion), Truth Is Beauty (Metal Works & National Tour); HOLD(Truman Brewery),No. 152; Pig; Haste Ye Back(Arcola), Grand Concourse (Mountview); BODY (Wilton's Music Hall). As Assistant Director, recent credits include:Midnight Movie (Royal Court Theatre), Vassa (Almeida);Augmented (Pulse Festival); Icons(Ovalhouse/ WOW Festival Hull).

Tommo Fowler Biography:

Tommo is a dramaturg for text and production, and a director. As a dramaturg, work includes Out of the Dark(Rose Kingston), Omelette, In My Lungs the Ocean Swells, Everybody Cares / Everybody Understands(VAULT Festival 2020), Inside Voices(VAULT Festival 2019, Winner of the Origins Award), Griff Rhys Jones: Where Was I?(International Tour) and Griff Rhys Jones: Jones & Smith(National Tour). He is a Visiting Tutor on the MA Creative Writing (Playwriting) at City University, and a script reader for Sheffield Theatres and the Bruntwood Prize. Previously, he has been a script reader for The Royal Court Theatre, Bush Theatre, Finborough Theatre, Theatre503 and the Theatre503 International Playwriting Award. As a director, his productions include Jam, I Wish To Die Singing, Obama-ology(Finborough Theatre), Mumburger(Old Red Lion & Archivist's Gallery, Haggerston), Comet(Pleasance London), Disruption(Kensington Karavan), The Strip, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich(Oxford School of Drama) and an original adaptation of Youth Without God(University of Salford). Press available at

Holly Williams Biography:

Holly is a freelance arts journalist, critic and editor, with over a decade's experience in writing for national and international newspapers and magazines. She writes for The New York Times, The Independent, The Financial Times and the BBC, among others, and reviews theatre for Time Out and The Mail on Sunday, and books for the TLS and The Observer. She's an Evening Standard Theatre Awards judge, and a member of the Critics' Circle. Her website is

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