The Walter Swan Trust

The Walter Swan Trust has been established to promote creative writing and to provide opportunities to young and new writers. The charity's first major activity was The Walter Swan Playwriting Award 2015, in association with the Ilkley Playhouse and the Ilkley Literature Festival, and with the support of the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Performances of the winning plays took place in December 2015 at both the West Yorkshire and Ilkley Playhouses. We are planning to repeat the competition; please see the separate page dedicated to the playwriting awards.


On the 6th October 2015, the first memorial Walter Swan Trust lecture was given by Nick Ahad, writer, journalist and broadcaster. This was part of the Ilkley Literature Festival, and the event was opened by Rachel Feldberg, the Festival Director and hosted by Yvette Huddleston, arts correspondent at the Yorkshire Post. The title of Nick's lecture was: ‘Gentrification, Storming the Castle and Accidentally Lecturing a Classroom Full of Police Officers’ and it provoked a good discussion about access to theatre and whether it has become a middle class pastime. The text of the lecture is available here.


The second annual lecture was given on 1st October 2016 by James Brining, Artistic Director at West Yorkshire Playhouse. He spoke enthrallingly about WYP's considerable work in opening up all aspects of the theatre to all sections of the community. There was particular interest in his descriptions of the relaxed performances and the dementia-friendly work being undertaken, - and these are now being put into practice at Ilkley Playhouse. It was an inspirational on how everyone can be involved in theatre.


Please see the Poetry page for details of the Walter Swan Poetry Prize launched in 2016 with the Ilkley Literature Festival. 


Two projects are presently underway in 2017: a short-story competition, and a second poetry competition. Another playwriting competition is being planned. There will be a third annual lecture in October 2017.  


Initial funding for the charity came from donations given at Walter's funeral on 2 May 2014 and subsequently we have continued to receive many generous donations and do our own fundraising. Gift Aid status has been secured. If you would like to donate, please send a cheque to the address below or contact us and we can give you the bank details. 


The founding trustees from left to right are Graham Smith, Niccola Swan (chair), Finlay Swan, Yvette Huddleston and Laurie Swan. The registered charity number is 1159121.

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