2016 Meeting review November

Introducing the December meeting and reporting on the November meeting

Sussex Playwrights December Christmas meeting and November meeting report

Christmas meeting preview

Sunday December 11th 7- 9pm at the New Venture Theatre bar Brighton
Reading: ‘The Christmas Goat,’ a short play by Judy Upton
Seasonal readings by members: Poetry, drama, non fiction, a story … if you’d like to do a reading, either from your own writing or a classic you love, please let us know in advance for timings. chair@sussexplaywrights.co.uk
The Traditional Christmas Prize Quiz
Wine, juice and nibbles
News, networking and good conversation
Free to members, guests £2 per person.
Please could you let us know if you will be coming along, and if you will be bringing a guest?

Follow and share

In addition to the newsletter you can follow us on Social Media for up-to-date information, writing opportunities, news and announcements.
If you can’t come along to the Christmas party 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

Constance Cox playwriting competition

We’ve had 18 entries so far, including scripts from Japan, Malta and the USA.
Deadline: New Year’s Eve (Midnight December 31st GMT)
Rules: We’re inviting you to submit a half hour radio play in the thriller / mystery genre for 2-6 actors. You can have more characters with actors doubling. Supernatural or comedy elements are OK.
The writers of the top three plays will receive rehearsed readings and recordings of their plays as well as cash prizes.
All entries will be read by a professional producer.
Full details, advice and prizes: www.sussexplaywrights.com/competitions/constance-cox-competition-2016-closes-31-december-2016
Competition reading committee: We’ll be needing a play reading committee from January to decide the winners. If you would like to be a reader, please let us know.

Members’ and Friends’ news

Christine Foster Cliffhanger’s highly successful Mixed Doubles, an evening of five ten minute plays produced by Christine, featuring Paul Moriarty and Margot Jobbins, is back again by popular demand on 19/20/21 January at the Coach House, Rottingdean.
Details at https://en-gb.facebook.com/thecliffhangercompany/

Rob Cohen appeared in The Ugly One at the Rialto, and his own acclaimed solo show The Trials of Harvey Matusow, in association with the University of Sussex.

Simon Moorhead has delivered the final set of episodes of his Brighton-made audio drama series, after months of sound effects, dialogue edit and music composition.

Thomas Everchild co-wrote one of the short films featured in The Big Brighton Film Challenge this month. The films will be appearing on Latest TV in due course.

Philippa Hammond appeared in one of the challenge films, Ruby, which was shown at the December Moviebar short film event, and is appearing in a series of podcast audio dramas by Peter Gardiner of Two Bit Productions, recorded in November and currently in post production.

Please send us all your latest news either to chair@sussexplaywrights.co.uk or to the Facebook Page.

November meeting report

Lively discussions and sharing ideas and information on …
the general popularity of ten minute scripts
how to find young male actors
applying for Arts Council grants
free Brighton Fringe Academy workshops for people interested in producing at the Fringe https://www.brightonfringe.org/fringe-academy
the Brighton Theatre of the Air


Guy Wah from ZLS Theatre and Sarah Johnson from Sweet Venues gave a presentation on Brighton and Hove’s own new festival of new drama, Hove Grown. We heard about how Hove Grown came to be, how writers, producers and performers can book their events into the festival and just what the organisers are looking for.

First launched in 2016, Guy and Sarah are now planning the next festival in March 2017. Registration is now open – Philippa and Thomas represented Sussex Playwrights at the launch party in November.

If you’re interested in taking part, full details and contact information are at www.hovegrown.org.uk


‘Virgins Anonymous’ by Tim Coakley. A solo piece – a member of Virgins Anonymous rings the help desk to announce her proud retirement from the organisation. Read by Philippa, members and visitors discussed the piece afterwards.

Future events for 2017

The new year will see:
January: Reading and judging the Constance Cox competitionm then ongoing readings and recordings of the winning plays with Brighton actors.
January: A reading of new a play by Tony Briginshaw – we’ll be needing readers. Please let me know if you would like to read. chair@sussexplaywrights.co.uk
Guest speakers will include Brighton’s own James Payne in February. James’ TV scripts have featured on Death in Paradise, The Musketeers, Mr Selfridge.and Hooten and the Lady [which he co-created].

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

2016 Meeting review October

Introducing the November meeting and reporting on the October meeting

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!
October meeting

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 chair@sussexplaywrights.co.uk

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.

Contact us

2016 meeting review: September

September’s meeting

September 4th 2016 Meeting

Latest from our guest, producer Simon Moorhead

Simon’s audio project, an anthology series of thirteen half hour audio dramas made in Brighton using entirely Brighton-based actors is well underway at the Brighton Road Studio just north of Patcham. The dramas are now in postproduction and sound design.

One of the most exciting and positive developments for Brighton writers and actors in a long time! We’ll keep you posted and Simon will be with us at the October meeting.

Committee news

Chair Philippa Hammond – casting and appearing in the online dramas at the moment,

Tony Briginshaw – Submission to Papatango New Writing – “The Greed Assizes”. Their comment: ‘Thank you for the opportunity to read your play. You have imagined a fascinating world here where those at fault for the financial crash are held to account. The political discourse in your play is sharp and interesting and shows real intellectual rigour. My note to you as you continue to work on your play would be to find the personal within the political – I found myself wishing I knew more about these characters as people, rather than just as political ideals. Again, I enjoyed reading your piece and wish you the very best of luck for the future.’

Rose Collis: New one-woman play ‘Wanting the Moon’, written and performed by Rose Collis, directed by Keith Drinkel, has its first London run in September at the Bread & Roses Theatre London SW4. Rose will be with us at the October meeting to discuss the play.

Trevor Harvey – Jasper Publishing which has supplied plays and pantomimes for am dram socities from around 60 or 70 writers over about the past twenty years, has recently been ‘dissolved’. There has also been an issue with payment for the last few performances. So don’t send scripts for Jasper Publishing consideration!
A five-minute play sketch TELLING TALES, for young school children to read, is to be reprinted by an Australian educational publishers (it has previously been in a couple of UK classroom textbooks from Heinemann and Scholastic.)

Judy Upton – one of the winners in this year’s Croydon Warehouse International Playwriting competition. Two of her scripts have been recorded by Simon’s company, now in post production. A ten minute comedy she was asked to write for the Bread and Roses, Clapham, will be performed there on the week of November first. Long listed with a full length play for the recent Papatango prize out of 1053 entries.

Notifications – Brighton and beyond

Message from France: Raymond Ager agerray@gmail.com, former NVT member

‘I love the 10-minute format but there isn’t much available in French. Do you have any scripts available that the author would be happy to have translated into French for readings and possible performance by an amateur group?

Ian uploaded the NVT 10 min festival plays & contact details to dropbox – ‘That’s wonderful, I couldn’t have expected more, thank you so much! It’s very good timing, although almost everything here shuts down for the summer holiday period, my actor friend who has helped with some translation is free next week, so I’ll have a read through and select some to translate, ready for theatre group restarting in Sept.

… France is a market for 10-minute plays. While there a lot of ‘sketches’ available, I’ve found hardly anything written in French in the same style as the ’10-minute play’. I’m working towards organising a reading a bit later in the year, probably Oct/Nov time and will let you know how things work out. ‘

Message from Moscow: Martin Williams – He’s launching a new literary magazine. Aims to showcase new and aspiring authors as well as providing entertaining stories for an international readership. The work will initially be published in Russia (it will also include work in Russian), although also aims to publish in some other markets including the UK. Submissions will not initially be paid, although we will be offering monthly prizes for the best work as voted for by the readers. All work included will be illustrated by our in-house artists and authors will have the option to be included on our website if they would like to use the magazine to raise their profile. There is also the possibility that we may be able to include some features about authors in the hard copy of the magazine.’

1) Short stories: 250 – 5000 words long, suitable for a broad range of readers.
2) Poems: Up to 42 lines, with the same content guidelines as the short stories.

Explicit language, subjects or political content is very unlikely to be published

Martin Williams <thefabler@hotmail.com> Up to you if you would like to submit to an unpaid project, of course!

For your diary – Coming up:
Monday October 3rd: Shooters in the Pub Brighton – 6.30 at Duke’s at Komedia Bar
Free film makers’ meetup night – writers, actors, directors, producers, crew … all welcome, just turn up and talk film.

Competition news

We’re receiving entries to the Sussex Playwrights Constance Cox Playwriting Competition 2016.

London Playwrights have featured the competition on their website

Former BBC Scriptreader and producer with B7 Productions and The Tablet Book Company, Simon Moorhead is reading scripts and has offered some practical guidance.


2016 Meeting review April AGM

Minutes of the 81st Sussex Playwrights AGM

Sussex Playwrights’ Club
81st Annual General Meeting
Sunday April 3rd 2016


1 Apologies for absence: Carole Bremson and Trevor Harvey.

2 Minutes of the 80th Annual General Meeting

Copies were circulated by e-mail by Peter Poole of the last AGM, held on Sunday 12th April 2015. Jerry Attwood proposed their adoption, seconded by Thomas Everchild.

3 Matters arising: None were raised.

4 Chairman’s report

Jerry thanked people for coming and reported that there had been 10 events during the year, including the Christmas event and the 80th anniversary celebration, which the mayor had attended. Deborah Knowles, Philippa Hammond, Margot Jobbins, Trevor Harvey and Paul Moriarty were sincerely thanked for making this a very successful event. Sadly, this year, Rex Baker, who had been Chairman for 10 years, Olive Holman and Neil McKellor had died. Jerry thanked the committee for their help during the year, Peter Poole (Secretary) who had recently resigned, Philippa, Deborah and Margot. It had been a very difficult year with very few committee members. Trevor had lodged material with The Keep. To add or access anything please contact the archivist.

5 Treasurer’s report

Jerry passed out printed copies of this year’s accounts and reported that more entrance fee money had been received than last, but more had been paid out in prizes. There had been the 80th anniversary celebration fees of £370 but we still had a reasonable capital of £6003 after expenses, between the bank and building society accounts. “Stock” referred to the 500 membership application forms, which will be written off next year, as the information on them is now outdated. Brian Marjoram proposed the accounts for adoption, seconded by Simon Jenner.

6 Motions:

1) That in recognition of the fact that there are now too few members of Sussex Playwrights’ Club willing or able to participate actively in its management, making it no longer a viable organisation, it should be honourably dissolved according to the terms and conditions stated in its Constitution.
Jerry quoted the Constitution item 12. Daphne delivered a heartfelt statement explaining why she thought the club was too weak to continue. Varying personal views were put forward.
The motion was proposed by Daphne, seconded by Giles. 4 in favour, 7 against, 2 abstained.

2) That the Sussex Playwrights’ Club fund, or part fund, a yearly production of a new play to be produced and performed at the Brighton Fringe Festival (open to Sussex Playwrights only).
It was thought costs could be astronomical. Proposed by Philip. Not seconded.

3) In order for the Sussex Playwrights’ Club to survive another 81 years: we need to have a plan of action to attract more people to our meetings.Proposed by Philip, seconded by Philippa. The motion was passed by 9:1 in favour.

7 Election of Officers:

Chairman – Philippa seconded by Thomas. Carried 12:1 in favour.
Philip wanted to stand as Chairman but was not seconded.
Vice-Chairman – Deborah seconded by Simon. Carried 12:1 in favour.
Secretary – Thomas seconded by Philippa. Carried unanimously.
Treasurer – Jerry seconded by Simon. Carried 11:1 in favour.
Committee – Simon seconded by Thomas. Carried unanimously.
Cherie seconded by Brian. Carried unanimously.

8 The future of the club. The following discussion points have been raised by Philip.

1) Philip proposed that we have an open discussion about the welcoming of new younger writers to the group and suggest that we introduce “workshops for plays”. The club needs to work with the writer more, use the internet, network and approach Hove Grown, to discuss and explore with them how to attract new, younger writers and actively involve them.

2) There is a further committee member who will take charge of casting members’ plays. For the new committee to decide.

3) The writer’s work must have a rehearsed reading by actors beforehand (preferably on the day of the reading.) It was suggested that an advertisement be put on the Brighton Actors’ Noticeboard to attract more readers.

Ideally, a play should be read through beforehand with the full cast at 4pm, before a meeting, but it is a matter of getting everyone together. Readers generally receive their script 2-3 weeks before the play is read, giving them time to individually rehearse. The Arts Council could be approached for funding so that professional readers are used. Part of the prize money could go to the actors who put on the play. An increased amount of prize money could be offered.

9 Any Other Business:

Deborah thanked Jerry for all his work in his dual roles. Thomas thanked Peter (Secretary).

Following the AGM, there was a reading of a play written by Trevor Harvey and read by Paul Moriarty, Jenny Leworthy and Anita Gilson.