The Davidson PlayGC Bursary Launches

The Foundation and PlayGC Theatre Company have created a new theatre writing bursary to support theatres and writers to produce new work. The first year funds have been awarded to The Royal Court Theatre in London.
Davidson PlayGC Bursary​ Feature
The Davidson PlayGC Bursary

PlayGC Theatre Company (PlayGC) and the Alan Davidson Foundation (ADF) are delighted to announce the launch of a new UK Theatre Writing bursary called the Davidson PlayGC Bursary which has been established to support theatres and writers to produce new work.

An initial fund of £60,000 has been raised and the first £20,000 bursary is being awarded to the Royal Court Theatre in London to support the new Artistic Director, David Byrne, as he launches his first season of plays today, 4 March 2024.

Byrne has selected the playwright Oli Forsyth for the first bursary. Oli is currently working on the new play entitled BRACE BRACE which will be staged from Thursday 3 October to Saturday 9 November in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court.

Robert Gordon Clark, co-founder of PlayGC said:

“The arts and theatre are under enormous pressure, yet the need to foster and encourage new writing is an important part of theatre’s role in society. Lisa Day and I set up PlayGC with the primary aim of supporting new theatre writing and this is one of the ways we are delivering that aim.  We approached the Alan Davidson Foundation with the idea of collaborating to create this bursary, and we are thrilled that they readily agreed.  We had been impressed with the work of David Byrne at the New Diorama Theatre, and, with his move to the Royal Court, the home of new writing, it seemed like the right time and place to fund the first bursary.”

Caite Healy, Trustee of the Alan Davidson Foundation said:

“The Alan Davidson Foundation was founded in 2015 by the late Alan Davidson to support a wide range of causes. Whilst the main focus is MND research, we also support architecture, arts and cultural projects.  Alan loved theatre and especially new work and he, Lisa Day and Robert Gordon Clark saw many new plays over the 20 years they were friends. We are delighted to be working with PlayGC and the Royal Court on this exciting project.”

David Byrne, Artistic Director of the Royal Court said:

“This brilliant new bursary from the Alan Davidson Foundation and PlayGC has made it possible to present Oli Forsyth’s thrilling BRACE BRACE as part of my first season as Artistic Director here at the Royal Court. Directed by Daniel Raggett, the play promises to be a thrilling theatrical experience, and with Oli Forsyth being named as our Jerwood New Playwright 2024, this bursary is already making a huge impact on the career and work of some the UK’s most promising new writers.”

The Davidson PlayGC Bursary
Davidson PlayGC Bursary Award – Anthony Biggs (Well Played), Robert Gordon Clark (PlayGC), Lisa Day (PlayGC), Oli Forsyth (award winner), David Byrne (Royal Court Theatre) and Marie Chamillard (Alan Davidson Foundation).

“A plane fell out of the sky, and we happened to be on it”. A man hijacks a plane. The plane begins to fall. Fight or flight. Back on the ground, survivors Ray and Sylvia struggle to reconcile their responses to this life-changing event. As cracks appear in their relationship, one closes themselves off, the other can’t focus on anything else.  This is a gripping story of the people we become in the aftermath of catastrophe from writer Oli Forsyth and director Daniel Raggett (Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Lyric Hammersmith / West End).

Oli writes for theatre and television. In 2019, Cash Cow was produced at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, quickly followed by a run in Edinburgh and at Vault Festival in London, of Such Filthy F*cks, a Smoke & Oakum/Pleasance co-production. In 2021, he was invited to join Mike Bartlett’s writing group at Hampstead Theatre and was commissioned by that theatre to write a play for the main stage, The Pox. Oli has participated in a writers’ room for Various Artists Ltd (VAL) and is currently developing original TV scripts.

Smoke & Oakum, Oli’s own theatre company, produced his plays: Tinderbox (2014) which was nominated for an Amnesty International Award; Cornermen (2015) at The Old Red Lion and The Pleasance, then transferring to VAULT Festival and touring in co-production with Red Ladder Company/New Diorama Theatre (2018). New Diorama Theatre/Smoke & Oakum co-produced Happy Dave (2016) and Kings (2017).

Thanks to Anthony Biggs of Well Played and Mel Kenyon of Casarotto Ramsay & Associates for their help and advice.

More information

For more information about the commission please contact Sarah Bryce, Trust & Foundation Manager, at the Royal Court Theatre on

For more information about the Davidson PlayGC Bursary please contact Robert Gordon Clark or 07973 148238

About PlayGC

PlayGC ( is a London and West Country based theatre company, founded in 2020 by Lisa Day and Robert Gordon Clark.  Its aim is to produce modern classics, rediscovered gems and especially new writing, and through this to support young talent in the theatre industry.

PlayGC is delighted to announce the £60,000 new theatre writing bursary, in partnership with the Alan Davidson Foundation. In May 2023 the company staged Tonight Will Be a Memory Too a new play by Andrew McGuinness at the Playground Theatre in London. Before that the company toured David Greig’s The Letter of Last Resort in a Cold War themed double bill with Idle Discourse’s new play Tales from Star City, written by Dan Dawes. 

Other new writing commitments to date:

Commissioning a new play by Dan called Everlasting Cake, which had a staged reading at The Mayflower Studios, Southampton.

Developing a new play, Can’t Kill the Spirit, which received a two-night staged reading at The Playground Theatre.

Planning to co-produce the first full professional production of Christopher Reid’s witty dramatic poem Six Bad Poets to be directed by Anthony Biggs.