Sussex Playwrights October 2016 meeting review
Constance Cox Prize Playwriting Competition – Latest News
If you’re anything like us, autumn brings memories of new terms, new satchels, new pencils – and the drive to start something new. After requests from members and friends, we’ve decided to extend the deadline for the competition to New Year’s Eve. This allows anyone who’s been away over the summer to get down to some autumn creativity before Christmas.
This year we invite you to submit a new half hour audio play on a thriller/mystery theme for two to six actors [actors can double up so you can have more characters – within reason].
Here’s some practical advice on writing with impact for audio from one of this month’s guests, former BBC scriptreader and producer with B7 Productions and The Tablet Book Company, Simon Moorhead:
You can take a high budget filmic approach to audio writing that you can’t with theatre.
You can do anything film can do and more on a low budget audio production
Take risks with your storytelling, characters and dialogue
Sound effects are great – they really do work
Exotic locations, extreme situations and very physical scenes [murderous fight scenes, love scenes]
You can have big crowds – layering sound is possible
You can go outside – go anywhere you like
Think about the logistics of recording
You can have many characters but maximum six versatile actors – think costs
You can have very very short scenes; a one liner, a bit of sound
Formatting – ensure the scene start at the top of the page, don’t run on one character’s dialogue over two pages [avoids page rustling and the actor breaking the flow to turn over]
Number the lines of dialogue – this makes it easy to do retakes
Keep dialogue short generally – although this is not prescriptive
Keep the story moving on, make it a journey so it’s different at the end
Full details of the competition rules are at www.sussexplaywrights.com/competitions
Members’ and friends’ news
Judy Upton reports that she’s on the shortlist for this year’s Nick Darke playwriting award, with another new play Maisie And Mrs Webster. AFTA nominated director Stephen Fingleton directed an extract from her play Once Around The Sun at Croydon International Playwriting Centre, Croydon Town Hall in September, her short story Crying Wolf is in the Lowestoft Chronicle. She’s also long listed with a full length play for the recent Papatango prize [1053 entries]. Her ghost story The Writing on the Wall is being read aloud on Halloween at the National Library Of Scotland, and her new short play In Fact It’s a Gas, a comedy about the perils of trying to switch power supplier, will have a short run at the Bread and Roses, Clapham from November 1st – 3rd, as part of their anniversary celebrations.
Robert Cohen is appearing in the title role in The Ugly One at the Rialto Theatre, Brighton, November 1-5. Details at https://www.facebook.com/events/1323339264345201/
Rose Collis is taking part in The Hearth, a two day micro festival at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden this month. Rose Collis – And Her Trouser-Wearing Characters: From women who wore the pants, to the darkest secrets of cities: internationally-acclaimed writer and performer Rose Collis’s books and shows are like no-one else’s. Join Rose for an hour of stories, vignettes and songs as she talks about – and performs – extracts from her plays about some of her favourite characters from ‘alternative’ history.
Latest great news from Rose – the Arts Council are funding her adaptation of her book Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment. Details here: www.rosecollis.com/whats-new/
Philippa Hammond and Thomas Everchild are taking part in the Big Brighton Film Challenge this month – short films are being written, filmed and post-produced entirely on location in Brighton over a couple of weeks, and will be screened on November 8th at the Latest Music Bar.
Details and further news at our Facebook Page – Please send all your writer news and successes!
This was probably the most successful meeting of the season so far. A great turn out of members plus two young actors newly graduated from Brighton’s own Academy of Creative Training as visitors, two special guests, a performance exerpt and a short comedy sketch reading.
You can see photos at our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/sussexplaywrights
Our guests this month: Rose Collis
Rose is a writer, performer, alternative historian and producer who returned to the stage in 2012 after an absence of nearly three decades, during which she became an acclaimed journalist and biographer.
Her latest one-woman play ‘Wanting the Moon’ is about Clemence Dane, a polymath who was a key figure in the life and career of Noel Coward – but, unlike her friend, has been rendered largely invisible by biographers and historians. Until now.
Among other things, Dane was a highly-regarded Oscar-winning screenwriter on both sides of the Atlantic from the 1930s. Rose performed an extract of the play, drawing on a diary she kept of her time there.
After the performance, Rose spoke about her background and her journey to becoming a writer and performer of her own work, including a recent production at the Bread and Roses in London, the process of writing, producing and performing a solo play, plus a taste of her interest in Clemence Dane [Noel Coward’s inspiration for Madam Arcati].
You can read more about Rose and her work at www.rosecollis.com
A short comedy sketch by Melanie Fletcher Hardy – just what would happen if the chickens went on strike? – with Philippa Hammond, Thomas Everchild and Simon Jenner reading in with Mel.
If you’d like to give or see a reading of your own work for discussion, see the note at the bottom of the newsletter.
Our guests this month: Film Producer Simon Moorhead
We last met with Simon at our launch party in June, when he announced the beginning of his audio drama project. He’s been working with a major distributor of online entertainment [we’ll be allowed to tell you who that is shortly] to create a brand new audio drama series made entirely in Brighton using Brighton actors and some local writers, too.
Over the summer Simon worked with Philippa and a great team of local actors and crew up at the Brighton Road Studio, in a converted barn in a field just north of Patcham.
Thirteen half hour audio dramas set in a seaside town with a pier, all connected but all stand alone, and all with a surprising and sometimes shocking sting in the tail are right now going through the post production process – editing, music, sound effects and all the other technical wizardry that goes into producing great audio drama today.
Simon discussed his background in TV and independent film, his wish to produce new films, and the realisation that distribution is a major barrier to the indie film maker. As audio is a massively growing market, he shifted focus to producing new drama for audio.
Of course, without the writer, a play can’t happen, and Simon’s been working with a great team of dramatists, including our own Judy Upton to create the current slate of scripts.
It’s been an interesting and exciting project, and we’re all looking forward to hearing the finished result.
If you’d like to send a work sample or script for Simon to read, you can send it via email@example.com
For your diaries
Paul Moriarty and Margot Jobbins are appearing in Mixed Doubles, an evening of five ten minute plays presented by Cliffhanger Theatre at the Coach House, Rottingdean.
Scripts by Rich Rubin, Margaret Greenwood, Scott Mullen and David McGregor
Directed by / performed by our friends Christine Foster, Margot Jobbins, Gwenneth Holmes, Owen Bleach and Paul Moriarty
A series of two handers, in turn funny, moving and satisfying, excellent writing, direction and performances. Highly recommended
At the end of each evening the audience are invited to vote for their favourite play, with a prize for the winning writer.
Performances on 28th/29th October
Pre booking essential – Details and tickets:
The committee will be meeting shortly to arrange the Christmas get together – please let us know if there is anything in paticular you would like to do.
Next meeting: November 6th New Venture Theatre Bar
Guy Wah from ZLS Theatre and Hove Grown, Hove’s very own new festival of new drama, and Sarah Johnson from Sweet Venues.will be our special guests next month, They’ll be talking about the practicalities of creating and producing new drama in our city.
Hove Grown website for details of the festival and how to take part: www.hovegrown.org.uk
Work in progress or for sharing
We’re looking to members and guests to take an active part in meetings and showcase their work.
If you’d like to read or perform an excerpt from your latest fiction or non fiction at a meeting for discussion [10 minute slots]
If you’d prefer to have us arrange for someone to read it for you, if you’re happier writing than speaking [10 minute slots]
If you’d like to have actors read an excerpt from your latest script in progress for discussion [10 minute slots]
If you’re an actor who’d like to read
If you have a longer script you’d like considered for rehearsed reading / discussion
Please contact us
Ideas for workshops
Are there any particular workshops you’d like to have as part of a meeting? Suggestions so far include workshops on making drama, poetry or prose come alive at rehearsed readings or cold readings:
Reading aloud to an audience – For authors, being able to deliver an excerpt from your poetry, fiction or non fiction to an audience can raise your profile and increase your sales. For actors, a valuable skill for audition and performance.
Acting script-in-hand for beginners – being able to take a script and bring it to life with a group reading is a great skill for writersand actors, and can help you appreciate what makes dialogue playable
Example at Philippa’s site: www.speakingwellinpublic.co.uk/courses/reading-writers/
If you have an idea for a workshop you’d like to attend, or would be interested in running one yourself, let us know.
Please contact us
Follow and share
If you can’t come along on the 6th to talk about your latest news, please email it to us to be included on social media, in meeting announcements and the next newsletter.
Like’ the Sussex Playwrights Facebook Page for the latest news and links www.facebook.com/sussexplaywrights
Follow us on Twitter @PlaywrightsClub
The website is having an update and we’ll tell you all about that soon.