Theatre interview: Daniel Galloway talks about How Now Brown Cow’s The Writers’ Collective which launched its first cohort of writers at the start of February 2021

The Writers’ Collective- an initiative of  Now Brown Cow Theatre Productions, South Africa  

Launch of 1st cohort: February 1, 2021
2nd cohort: June 1 to end of September 2021
Application process: To be advised – check How Now Brown Cow website and social media and TheCapeRobyn for updates
Application fee: No charge E-mail: Website:
Instagram: hownowbrowncow_productions  

Daniel Galloway talks about How Now Brown Cow’s The Writers’ Collective which launched its 1st cohort of writers on February 1, 2021. In the pandemic, theatres may be for the most part, largely shuttered but the creative process continues, with the hope that soon work will be able to staged. New writing is the backbone of theatre but never mind, working without remuneration in pandemic times, writing can be a solitary and lonely process.  The Writers’ Collective is a creative incubator which seeks to “encourage” new writing by established writers. The writers in the first cohort, are being mentored by William Nicholson. The UK theatre and film maker is a double Academy Award nominee and has worked extensively with luminaries around the globe. How Now Brown Cow Theatre Productions was established in South Africa, November 2020, by Julie-Anne McDowell Hegarty and Daniel Galloway.

TheCapeRobyn: Last Monday, February 1, 2021, the first cohort of four writers started it work as part of How Now Brown Cow Writer’s Collective. That group works until end of May and then a new cohort starts June 1?

Daniel Galloway: Yes – as you have summarised above is exactly right. The “first four” are engaged from 1 February to 31 May 2021. During this time they will work towards a first draft of a new theatrical script which may or may not be taken forward by HNBC [How Now Brown Cow] in time to come.  

TheCapeRobyn: When will submissions be open for the 2nd block of writers?

Daniel Galloway: We are working on the details as we speak, but those wanting to apply can expect some news on the application process before the end of February which will be published on the HNBC website and across social media platforms. 

TheCapeRobyn: Is there an application or “administration” fee to HNBC?

Daniel Galloway: No, there is no charge to apply. It is free

TheCapeRobyn: Will writers submit according to a theme or curatorial prompt or will it be open – with writer’s own choice of topic/issue/gaze?

Daniel Galloway:  More details will come but we want to place as little restriction on the creativity of Writers as possible, other than the obvious: while the next “Hamilton” is out there, for the time being we are seeking projects which are affordable to produce and require no more than four actors on stage to deliver the journey.  

TheCapeRobyn: The writers are paid a monthly stipend? How is this programme being funded?

Daniel Galloway:    Yes, indeed, the writers do each get paid a monthly stipend which provides the dedicated time required to focus on the script being worked on. The Writers’ Collective is a How Now Brown project, the funds of which are raised by Julie-Anne and myself. 

TheCapeRobyn: How does the mentoring process proceed – video call, notes?

Daniel Galloway:    Writers on the Collective are all established writers who know how to write. While there is a huge gap and place in the market for writer’s development, this specific project does not aim to do that. The HNBC WC works with writers who seek sounding board type support from producers and an expert eye. In this first block Bill acts as this sounding board to our writers. He has generously made himself available digitally and will meet with the individuals and the group virtually from time to time. Bill’s initial feedback to the writers in the first few weeks has already made a notable impact – we are all lucky to have him on board.

TheCapeRobyn: When HNBC launched late 2021, it indicated its commitment to staging theatre live – and not as streamed productions?

Daniel Galloway: While filmed for broadcast theatrical works have their –limited-place, nothing will compare to the great luxury of being in a theatre together with an audience experiencing the magic of it all, once again.  We have always been cautious in our approach and will aim to return to stage when it is safe and viable to do so … having said that, all we can do is keep an eye on the progress of the response to the pandemic and remain as positive as is possible at this time.

TheCapeRobyn: You worked with William Nicholson on King Kong when you were MD of The Fugard Theatre. Will he be working to bring the HNBC plays to the attention of the international stage?

Daniel Galloway: I count myself very lucky to have not only met but to have worked with Bill while I was at The Fugard. He is a kind, funny, smart, massively experienced and deeply generous human being. His process is inspirationally collaborative which is rare in the world of writing. Part of my collaboration with Julie-Anne on HNBC is indeed to bring international connections where possible and I shall continue to seek opportunities for the Company as time goes on. 

TheCapeRobyn:  Your thoughts on launching this audacious project during the pandemic?

Daniel Galloway: I could not sing Julie-Anne’s [McDowell Hegarty] praises enough. In a time where independent theatres are closing and state funded theatres do very little to support the slow death of the sector, I applaud her fierce determination to bring some hope where there is so little. I admire her dedication which inspires me to do whatever I can to help HNBC become the very best production house it can be. 

William Nicholson, mentor of the 1st cohort of How Now Brown Cow’s The Writers’ Collective, with Annette Bening. How Now Brown Cow is a South African theatre production house. Supplied.