The Fence is an international network for working playwrights and people who make playwriting happen across Europe and beyond.

Established in October 2003, the network comprises over 200 members from 50 countries.

The Fence is founded on three core principles:

  • the playwright is important to wider culture and society,
  • in practice, diversity and mobility are the same thing,
  • through engagement with others our own work develops.

The Fence runs network meetings twice yearly, but also works in a variety of modes with Fence members collaborating on diverse initiatives.

Fence meetings typically feature 15-50 visitor members, combining with up to a similar number of home-based members. They focus on the following key areas:

  • Meeting playwrights and cultural operators from each host country, learning about their systems, structures, opportunities and challenges for indigenous playwrights – as well as foreign ones;
  • Meeting each other and pursuing peer-led professional development activity which focuses on how to operate as a playwright in a changing landscape;
  • Putting work on in a scratch night form. The work is written, directed and acted by participants as a practical laboratory way of generating material, engagement, excitement, partnership and exchange;
  • Making connections beyond the network; both to grow the number of countries represented beyond 50, but also to engage with a broader focus than just playwriting.

Fence meetings can happen as part of theatre festivals, and also as writing retreats.

The Fence can offer:

  • Workshops
  • Consultancy
  • Surgeries
  • Master classes
  • Diverse models of practice

From February 28 to March 3, 2017, The Ethnic Kitchen organised a meeting of The Fence members in Rokiškis, Lithuania as part of the 33rd annual festival of Lithuanian professional theatres “Vaidiname žemdirbiams” (“Performing for Farmers” in English). The goal of the meeting was community empowerment by means of workshops and interactive seminars led by theatre professionals from England, Scotland, Germany, Sweden, the USA, France, Bulgaria, Iran, Algeria, etc.