December 2, 2011
An email arrives to tell me my one-act play The Saul Confession has been shortlisted by Cahoots Theatre Company out of 100 entries into their competition to stage an evening of short plays next spring. Just the boost I need as the writing of the current full-length play gets into full swing!
Er... whatever happened to November??? Five minutes ago I was at the London Screenwriters' Festival and now I'm staring December in the face. Maybe it was something to do with the tidal wave of following-up, rewriting, reviewing and playwriting that ensued. Not much sign of a let-up, either, so bring it on. I'm ready for Christmas any time you like.
October 26, 2011
Final pieces in place for the start of the London Screenwriters' Festival (Friday to Sunday). We're heading up tomorrow to catch a matinee of Wicked and get orientated, then it's three days of predicted chaos. Ho-hum.
October 25, 2011
A commission from the Royal Shakespeare Company! How exciting. This time it's to write programme notes for their Christmas production, The Heart of Robin Hood. Next time, it could be a full play - who knows? It's still nice to chalk up on the track record.
October 21, 2011
A couple of intriguing examples of madness on stage this week as Leicester Curve performs One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and the RSC offer Marat/Sade. Leicester had the edge on edgy realism, Stratford won hands down for sheer grossness. Take your pick (reviews at www.stagereviews.co.uk)...
October 20, 2011
Fantastic session back at De Montfort University with Matt Graham, whose writing partnership with Ashley Pharoah has spawned such recent classics as Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. Next up is Eternal Law, an ITV drama with a twist that looks like being both interesting and featuring high production values - Sam West headlining is a good start, for instance. Matt is not only fascinating to listen to, but also a thoroughly nice chap.
October 17, 2011
Film Network in Northampton laid on a networking event at the Royal & Derngate with film/TV director Dan Wilson as the guest speaker. Lots of good contacts and fascinating discussion - a great warm-up for the Screenwriters' Festival, in fact!
October 10, 2011
The London Screenwriters' Festival is fast approaching (October 28-30) and there's some intensive research to be done before then on guest speakers, agents and producers. I'm signed up for the speed pitching event but won't know until nearer the time who I'll be meeting, so that's an interesting one. Quick thinking and fast talking required, as well as the obvious passion for the projects.
Busy time combining roleplay work with scriptwriting, reviewing and gigging - as my old dad used to say, it's a great life if you don't weaken!
September 20, 2011
I find myself in Harrogate for the day with nothing pressing on the agenda - a rare luxury which allows me the old-fashioned pleasure of mooching. I've not mooched in ages, and the location adds greatly to the enjoyment.
September 13, 2011
Great to meet writer Nick Fisher at the premiere of his debut play, Basket Case, at the Royal Theatre in Northampton. Nick created Manchild with Nigel Havers and wrote this play specially for him as well. I'd interviewed him by phone for the programme notes so it was lovely to actually meet in person. The show sets off on tour after three weeks in Northampton and looks set for a great public response.
September 5, 2011
Outline and scene-by-scene completed for the new stage play (see July 26 below). Now it's time to put some flesh on the bones.
August 30, 2011
Good to see Northampton's co-production of End of the Rainbow back where it all began, in the Royal Theatre, with Tracie Bennett giving her award-winning turn as Judy Garland. It had a fantastic run in the West End after launching in Northampton in February 2010 and now it's off on tour. Good luck to a well-deserved hit!
Thank God for theatre programmes. A hectic few weeks has seen notes produced for (inter alia) Hull Truck, Raymond Gubbay and London's Duke of York Theatre, so my writing's back in the West End again!
August 5, 2011
Back-to-back programme notes for Queen's, Hornchurch, Nottingham Playhouse, Northampton Royal & Derngate and a national tour of a new comedy - good to keep busy!
July 26, 2011
Great meeting with two co-producers about working together on a new play for tour next spring. Toss a few thoughts about regarding an idea I've been brewing, and things shape up well, so I'll put together some more detail ideas and possible script beginnings for another meeting in September.
July 22, 2011
Graduation Day - the culmination of two years' work and umpteen scripts. Nice to reconvene with classmates and dress up in gown and mortarboard (yes, honest!). Makes it all seem worthwhile, even if the real work begins now...
July 16, 2011
Final of the Ronald Duncan Playwriting Competition includes workshops of two scenes from each of the three finalists and some Q&As. A really useful day, even though Rasputin's Mother doesn't win, and some more excellent contacts made.
July 6-7, 2011
Fantastic couple of days hosted by the BBC in Leeds - the Writers' Festival. Great sessions with Simon Harper and Justin Young (Holby City), Jimmy McGovern and John Yorke, among others. Great to mix with working Beeb writers and some great contacts made.
July 5, 2011
It's off to Sheffield for The Pride (Daniel Evans, Claire Price, dir. Richard Wilson) before heading on to Leeds for the two-day BBC Writers' Festival, with a terrific line-up of speakers and seminars. More in due course...
July 4, 2011
A day out in London at the Riverside Studios - sunshine on the (rather smelly) banks of the Thames while Simon Callow was apparently casting upstairs. I'm not sure how true that was - wouldn't we have heard his voice? Meanwhile, preparations continue for the final of the Ronald Duncan Playwriting Competition on July 16.
June 30, 2011
Interest from another producer in another stage play idea has prompted a meeting in July. Might require a fast turnaround of a first draft though!
June 11, 2011
News from the Encore Drama Company, administering the Ronald Duncan Playwriting Competition (see May 23 et al below): I have been selected as one of the three finalists! Now it's all systems go to prepare a presentation for a day-long workshop in July at the company's Bradford HQ, at which a couple of scenes will also be performed and a Q&A session undergone before the ultimate decision is made. The artistic director Colin Lewisohn phoned with the news and some very positive feedback, so it's probably time for a little celebration...
June 8, 2011
Final instalment of the 48-hour Book (see April 9 below) delivered to the group. These sections hopefully wrap up the storyline thread I've been working on, and along with the contributions of everyone else involved, should now enable the editing process to begin and some kind of finalised version to emerge. It's all been a fascinating project and I'll be very interested to see the finished product.
May 23, 2011
With a deadline of Friday, today's the day for submitting Rasputin to the competition final (see below). Wish me luck.
Hectic month or so preparing a draft of Rasputin's Mother for final submission to the judges at the Ronald Duncan Playwriting Competition (see March 27 below). If writing is re-writing, I think I can definitely call myself a writer...
April 18, 2011
Enormous excitement surrounds the personal endorsement of a major theatrical knight (they don't come more major, in fact) for my play Rasputin's Mother, complete with the expression of his desire to be involved. Now the hard work starts: talks with agent and producers about where to go from here...
April 9, 2011
Follow-up session on the 48-hour Book (see March 5-6 and others below). Fine details worked out on the denouement of the book, plus a review of how the process has gone and what we've got out of it. As collaborations go, this one was rather unusual (due to the numbers and use of technology involved), and not a little entertaining. Mind you, it's left more writing to be done in the next few weeks.
March 31, 2011
Fantastic session on Casualty on a return visit to De Montfort University. Hosted by Barbara Machin (Waking the Dead etc), it explored the construction of last Saturday's episode from the writer's point of view and offered a masterclass in scripting BBC continuing drama. Nicely timed for applications to the shadow schemes on the Big Four - Holby, Casualty, EastEnders and Doctors. My agent is working on the submissions, which need to be in by mid-April.
March 27, 2011
Just heard that I've been shortlisted among the 10 finalists in the national Ronald Duncan Playwriting Competition. Next stage is to submit the full script for further judging selection of three to be workshopped later in the summer. Nice comments from the judges include:
Very dramatic staged beginning - cracking dialogue, fascinating ideas, strong complimentary characters that worked well with each other: intriguing premise - liked the way the staging was done; i.e. one scene slips into another.
March 5-6, 2011
Twelve authors, two days, one book. As part of Writing Futures, a Northamptonshire County Council project you can read about here, we're locked in the bowels of the Central Library and tasked with creating a novel. By the end of the weekend, there are 20,000 words that didn't exist previously, an ensemble cast of characters peopling a fairground, and a dramatic twist that will take them all on their own private journeys. While the project was never going to culminate in a complete book in 48 hours, we have got large chunks of narrative down, plus an overall structure and a plan for completion. There's an update in four weeks, by which time there's likely to be something approaching a full first draft, so I don't reckon we've done too badly. And it's been lots of fun.
March 2, 2011
Two character portraits required ahead of this weekend's 48-hour Book (see February 1 below). One creates herself quite easily, but I'm struggling with the other on a train to Euston when, serendipitously, she gets on at Bletchley and sits down opposite me, fully formed and ready to write down. Thank you...
February 25, 2011
To Sheffield for an intense David Hare weekend - Racing Demon, Breath of Life and Plenty in repertory across three venues. Added frisson from having the author himself in the audience for Racing Demon and Plenty!
February 17, 2011
Fantastic playwriting workshop hosted by the Royal & Derngate as part of Soho Theatre's promotion of the Verity Bargate Award for new plays. There's not much time to write one (entry deadline March 11), but the session was interesting and the chance to meet Soho and R&D new writing proponents very useful.
February 11, 2011
To Oxford to catch the tour of Alan Ayckbourn's newest play Life of Riley, which he was writing while directing Man of the Moment in Northampton. It also features two colleagues from that production - Laura Doddington and Kim Wall - so it's great to be able to support them as well. In a similar vein, there's a trip to Sheffield planned at the end of the month to catch all three plays in their David Hare season, one of which (Racing Demon) includes Man of the Moment alumni Malcolm Sinclair and Matthew Cottle. It's all go...
February 1, 2011
A fascinating invitation arrives requesting my participation in a unique publishing project, in which 12 writers aim to create a book in 48 hours. Straightforwardly entitled The 48-hour Book Project, it's the brainchild of acclaimed writer Judith Allnatt (www.judithallnatt.co.uk) and I am invited to spend the first weekend in March in the company of 11 others - something of a unique approach in itself. Sounds like a wonderful opportunity and lots of fun into the bargain. More details as and when I have them...
January 20, 2011
So much for waiting... Faster than a speeding bullet, R4 producer replies enthusiastically, saying she's forwarding the new pitch to the executive editor, no less.
Meanwhile, the Royal & Derngate launches its new 2011 subscription season with many fanfares and a lovely party. For details, see the News page at StageReviews.co.uk
January 19, 2011
Pitch despatched to R4 producer. Back to the waiting game, but writing plenty in the meantime.
January 16, 2011
First experience of The Core at Corby Cube, the new sister venue to the Royal & Derngate, which is housed in the bowels of the council's civic centre building. While the building is all concrete and glass and reminiscent of pre-Berlin Wall Eastern Europe, the theatre space is delightful - welcoming, intimate, crafted for performance. It helps that cabaret chanteuse Barb Jungr is the host - read the review at StageReviews.co.uk
January 5, 2011
Interest from Radio 4 producer in another radio play pitch - invited to submit in a couple of weeks, after she's got some music recording sessions out of the way.