Tag Archives: Playwriting

Farewell.

This is a picture of me when I was 19. My hair changed colour a lot more then so I thought an ‘in-between colours’ photo might be the most representative image to give you. The usual things have happened since then, I no longer have Rage Against the Machine and Animatrix posters on my wall, had my heart broken a few times, took my lip piercing out and forgot to put it back in so it healed over. Put weight on. Lost it again. Moved to Wolverhampton for a bit. And Birmingham. Actually you can’t really see the Rage poster because it’s covered in scraps of writing. That was a thing I did then, you see. Slightly compulsively and with middling to angsty results. I was at a uni that I’d just stuck on the bottom of my UCAS form to fill it up because all my other applications were to drama schools and of course I was going to get into one. I was actually right on that, I got a place a Mountview, but only half a Dance and Drama Award (the grant which is the only way I could have afforded it). So instead I rather bewilderingly found myself back from a year spent working in a kitchen and doing lots of canoeing in the south of France, and at Loughborough University studying English and Drama.

I dropped English pretty swiftly; it was only the poetry I felt breathed when you studied it; Great Expectations wasn’t really my thing. And then one day I saw a poster on the wall of the student foyer. Something called ‘Theatre Writing Partnership’ was looking for pitches for a play. Write a play? Fuck it, I’m 19, I can do anything! So I sent something in. And they accepted me to be mentored by a playwright as part of a group of 6-7 others. I went to Leicester for the first time, wandered around the big city like a proper Lincolnshire girl who thought Loughborough was already quite big, thank you. Got lost in the Shires (a shopping centre), and found my way to the Haymarket Theatre, where Amanda Whittington led the first of several sessions of writing exercises and I began writing my first original piece of theatre.

Theatre Writing Partnership were a new theatre writing initiative based in the East Midlands. They worked in schools, with 18-25 year olds and ‘grown ups’ and older people to develop theatre writing in the area. Though based at Nottingham Playhouse they weren’t connected to any main theatre as a subsidiary ‘literary department’ – rather an active and independent force seeking out and developing writing talent in a very large and very culturally empty region. And in their first year of being established, I wrote a play for them.

My first proper play took place in the final second before the end of the world. The final endless second where all time is stretched and everything falls apart and a girl in Lincolnshire has taken her dog for a walk. It contained presences in a tree that become a man called Olu, and that tune into that moment to plant a seed for the next world to begin. Here are some of the actual stage directions. Continue Reading →

A Conversation With… post-Sampled

So here’s some of the reviews and tweets from this weekend’s premier of the current version of A Conversation With My Father. Sampled was ace, and I was performing amongst some pretty humblingly awesome company; I particularly loved see Laura Mugridge and Tom Adam’s Watery Journey… after it’s Performance in the Pub work in progress sharing, and also loved Molly Naylor’s My Robot Heart with music from the Middle Ones (totally in mind for a future PitP), Andy Field’s fizzling writing about the city in Zilla!, and Chris Thorpe doing his astonishing and gripping thing with There Has Possibly Been an Incident. Gutted to miss Melanie Wilson, Curious Directive, and Ross Sutherland due to having to do my own show. But on that – I was incredibly pleasantly surprised, and learnt a lot. Ridiculously low on time right now (hence no linking up the above, you can google, right?), but here’s some of the stuff I learnt/found interesting about performing ACW:

  • goodness me audiences are different
  • either that or I need to get more consistent in performance
  • apparently I can remember words, which is good.
  • sometimes the sort-of-funny things I write turn out to be VERY funny, and I need to structure the performance to balance that
  • This is an important story, that appears to be reasonably approachable
  • It makes people cry.
  • I don’t like making people cry. I want to find a way of (metaphorically) telling people ‘it’ll all be ok’ afterwards, but don’t think it will unless I also make people want to Do Something
  • I don’t think it’s up to me to tell people what that Something is.
  • people are really interested in all of the stuff I pack for a protest, and want it explaining. No one ever works out that the number for GBC LEGAL that I write on my arm (with the label) is for a lawyer, and why you do that.
  • I think there’s something in comparing the ritual of readying for protest for both protestor and police office
  • the sound recording I have of me and my dad is not very good at higher volumes. This is rubbish and I need to get someone who knows more than me to fix it.
  • I think I’ve found a ‘TED’ version of this story – performance lecture, but would like to explore how it possibly becomes more performance, or maybe more story.

As for the future of it, I’m hoping to get a producer or director on board somehow, and spend a week on it in a rehearsal room somewhen and somehow to work it up into a 50-60 minute solo show. And I might even have some photos to show you soon.

In the meantime I’ll leave you with some some self-congratulatory highlighting of positive reviews/tweets:

Continue Reading →