Uncertain times but hope remains!

Our March StageWrite evening was one of the last performances to happen at The Place before lockdown.  Gosh… how different things look now, and thank goodness we were able to go ahead – looking back, we realise what a close shave it was, and how easily it could have been cancelled.  But what a cracker of a night it was, featuring two contrasting scripts brought to life by our good-humoured, committed cast, tremendous directors and genius technician, Simon https://www.simon-jackson.co.uk

It’s pretty heartbreaking to see how hard hit theatres and artists have been over the past months – along with so many other industries across the nation.  In the uncertainty, we continue to hope for a time when we can come back to rehearsal rooms and busy auditoriums and once again get stuck into live performance – until then, we’re encouraged to see the ways that artists and companies are still producing fascinating work that has adapted to new circumstances.

A few days ago, I watched performances of a collection of short Zoom plays.  These are exactly what you’d imagine – new scripts written specifically to be performed on a virtual platform.  I was honestly inspired and amazed by how successful this was, and how much potential there is for work that is compelling and funny and moving, and makes the most of the technical tools available in this setting.

We don’t know what the future of StageWrite will look like, but are determined that it won’t disappear!  We still love receiving new scripts and whether you’re writing for a live or a virtual performance space, do get in touch if you have work to submit.  For developments regarding future StageWrite events once things get moving, watch this space!

Rehearsal shot: Joanne Mulley, Simão Vaz and Natalie Čàstka in Man, Rat, Mink by Peter Eyre

March StageWrite – plays announced

Now then!

We, producers of StageWrite – that’s me (Harri), Cally and Phil – are delighted to be able to announce the two selected plays for Saturday 14th March.  They are:

Man Rat Mink by Peter Eyre

“This is hopeless.  We should have had a plan.”  Ryan, Amy and Becca are on a rescue mission, trying to do the right thing.  The only thing is, they’re doing it really, really badly… This comedy focuses on what happens when three people’s best intentions go awry, and throws an annoyed security guard into the mix for good measure.

Whipped by Scott Younger

“I just mean…maybe she’ll give him some direction.  He’s always been a bit…aimless.”

Nick’s pretty smitten with new girlfriend Isy, and it looks like Isy feels the same.  Josh and Abbey, Nick’s friends since childhood, try to navigate the new dynamic in their close friendship circle.  Something tells them there’s trouble in paradise.

Thank you to everyone who submitted scripts, and congratulations to Peter and Scott.  They’ll be in attendance on the night, ready to answer your questions or take comments about their work.

Tickets available here https://www.theplacebedford.org.uk/

 

Revving up for March 2020 StageWrite!

The tiniest hints of spring are beginning to show at last – I even saw daffodils in the park yesterday!  A bit more light and warmth is a joyous prospect, and we are hard at work reading the scripts that have been submitted for our March StageWrite evening.  By the time it’s here (Saturday 14th March), the days will be longer and you’ll be able to make your way to The Place in daylight for some more smashingly brand new theatre.

Once the two plays to be performed have been chosen, we will make sure you know what to expect by publishing the synopses on here.  In the meantime, here’s the link to book tickets:

https://theplacebedford.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173599275

If you or someone you know would like to submit work, do read the brief and get in touch.  We still need scripts for our summer and autumn 2020 StageWrite dates.

Just as an aside…please make sure your script fits the brief that’s on the Submissions page (all the info you need is on there)… we still get quite a few submissions that don’t fit the brief and unfortunately that means we can’t consider them!!  If you have any questions, drop us a line 🙂

SW September and looking ahead

What a brilliant evening we had for StageWrite this month.  Two plays we loved, that worked really well even in the small window of time we had to rehearse.  Two engaging writers who clearly enjoyed seeing their work on its feet, and told us about their creative process in the Q & A after the shows.

 

 

With only two shows and a total of six roles, our September StageWrite family was small but perfectly formed – Phil, Cally and I (Harri) worked with actors Carl and John – who’ve both been part of previous SW ensembles – and our wonderful technician for the weekend, Simon.  Stephanie Connell’s The Curious Case of Lady Fowler was a murder mystery spoof that was so much fun to rehearse, and full of great opportunities for visual humour.  Step To The Left by L.A. Green followed, and provided an excellent contrast – an intriguing, intense piece charting an unlikely friendship between a soldier and a protester…with a clever twist.

Thank you to our fantastic actors, technician, writers and audience.  Join us for the next StageWrite evening back at The Place on Saturday 14th March 2020, to be the first to sample two more box-fresh pieces of theatre.

 

Shows for 28th September 2019

We had such a high number of submissions for our next evening of StageWrite – 28th September – that we were both delighted and slightly daunted at the task of whittling them down to just two!  However, whittle we must, so here’s a bit about what you can expect:

The Curious Case of Lady Fowler by Stephanie Connell

A fabulous murder mystery that unravels a little like a game of Cleudo might, if it were on stage… DI Curious visits Bodley Hall to investigate the death of Lady Fowler.  Did she die of natural causes or is something more sinister afoot?  And will Ruby Rouge, Mrs Cream and Dr Damson assist or thwart him in his attempts to close the case?

Step To The Left by LA Green

A soldier protecting an army base strikes up a friendship with a protester.  But who is innocent, and who is vulnerable, and is the friendship all it appears to be?

Both shows at The Place, Bradgate Road, Bedford on Saturday 28th September at 7.30pm.

Book here: https://theplacebedford.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173595905

New date announced!

The Place Theatre in Bedford http://www.theplacebedford.org.uk/ has been the home of StageWrite since its inception in 2013, and is now programming StageWrite evenings as part of each season throughout the year!

Well hurrah, say we.  This is a significant step in the development of StageWrite, and we love working with the wonderful and supportive team at The Place as part of their vision to help profile and champion new writing.

Our next StageWrite evening will be Saturday 28th September and this means – OH YES INDEED – we are looking for new scripts… if you would like to submit, please do so by 31st August 2019.  Check out our submissions page on this web site for all the details.  It tells you what the brief is (things like, how long your piece can be, and how many in the cast, and that sort of stuff).  Work from all writers is welcome, but we’re especially interested to receive work from female writers and those who feel they belong to an under-represented group.  Get in touch – let’s hear about it!

 

Guest blog: Briony

Ever wondered what on earth a day in the life of StageWrite looks like?  Check out this post from our guest blogger, Briony Green!

As an aspiring writer and theatre maker, I was thrilled when Cally, Harri and Phil  – in their warm, generous, and open-handed way – allowed me to spend a day with them and their team at StageWrite. Thus it was that at 7am on Friday 10thMay I found myself, somewhat bleary eyed and coffee in hand, travelling to sunny Bedford (and sunny it was!).

The morning was committed to working on ‘The Murder of The Servants’, a new play by Martin Keady, based on two characters from ‘Macbeth’ who fail in their task of protecting King Duncan and are framed for his murder.  The piece is pacy and filled with humour and high drama.  My first impressions were of both the professionalism and laid back nature of the rehearsal room. Actors and director treated each other with respect and an easy trust. The pace was fast, there was little time for breaks, but the camaraderie and ready laughter made StageWrite a fun place to be.  Excitement rose during the final run through. I was struck again by the power of stage lighting and the magic created by that collaboration of script, space, actors and tech.

The afternoon’s piece was totally different – ‘Play Lady K’ by Anne Atkins, loosely in the genre of farce, with quick dialogue, a cast of lively characters, romance, pathos, a touch of cross dressing – and even a butler in the buff!  Unlike the morning’s play, the script relies on a large number of exits, and was dependent on these for comic effect.  StageWrite technician Simon, in an unassuming stroke of genius, solved a particular absent-door problem with lighting and a sound effect.  I loved the way that overcoming an obstacle led to such creativity.  Observing Cally directing was also a privilege. I noted how little she intervened in the action, trusting in the skill and instinct of her cast, and remaining a calm and grounding influence in the process.

As curtain up approached, the atmosphere in the green room began to change. The relaxed banter stopped  and a nervous energy filled the room.  Some talked more, some talked less. Costumes were changed into, props located, make up applied. I left five minutes before curtain up to go and sit out front.

The pieces played to a full and appreciative audience. Writers joined the cast on stage for a short Q & A, gave the context to the genesis of their pieces and asked for audience feedback.  They were given useful insights and ideas for development.  Once the applause and the congratulations finished, it was back to the hard work of clearing stage and set.

With much gratitude to all for allowing me to spend a day with them, and be part of the thrilling rollercoaster that is StageWrite, I said my thanks and farewells.  I felt proud to have been part of the StageWrite family for a day.

 

 

 

SW: now and beyond

We’re back from a brilliant weekend of StageWrite London, having spent Friday and Saturday rehearsing and performing at Stanley Halls in North Norwood.  Our theatre space was the Assembly Room, a small but perfectly formed 40 seater studio into which the four selected pieces transferred beautifully, having been staged at The Place in Bedford last week.

Thanks to our incredible, good-humoured and hard-working ensemble, our technician Simon (who is an actual wizard of theatre tech and made it all look and sound great), the writers themselves for submitting their plays in the first place, the staff at the venues, who were wonderfully supportive, and of course the essential ingredient – our smashing audiences.

Now what??  In short, we can let you into a not-very-well-kept secret: there’s going to be more StageWrite this year.  That’s not only because we were able to take the shows to London as well as starting in Bedford, but also because the lovely people at Bedfringe have programmed us as part of the festival on 22nd and 23rd July.  AND, on 24th and 25th July, one of the plays from SW 2018, Little Shining Eyes, is being staged as a fully developed production.  For information and tickets, click the link: http://www.bedfringe.com

 

Programming info

Here’s all the info you need to plan your StageWrite 2019 experience…

Thursday 9th May Bedford/Saturday 18thMay London

A.D.A.M. by Lewis Wood  Victor is brilliant.  He’s successfully building artificial intelligence.  But his mental health affects both his ability to cope, and his key relationships with friends Elizabeth and Henry.  A.D.A.M. is a modern adaptation of the Frankenstein story, where Victor has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

We Are Stronger Together by Matthew Fisher  The British Government has failed to keep its citizens safe. The terrorist group, Unity, has invaded the country. Letum and Sancus, formally just ‘numbers’, are now two of the group’s elite, and Letum is starting to question the morals of Unity and its Commander.  Along their way they meet Sarah, Jeff and Peter.  Do they pose a threat, or are they just trying to survive?

Friday 10thMay Bedford/Friday 17thMay London

The Murder of the Servants by Martin Keady   Lomax and Hendry serve the King.  Their job is to keep him safe and watch over his bed chamber. Lomax is committed to diligence and reputation, while Hendry is, well, a little more laid back.  But both know that all hell will break loose if either of them is caught with blood on their hands…  ‘The Murder of the Servants’ is the story of Duncan’s servants in ‘Macbeth’, framed for the murder of the King.

Play Lady K by Anne Atkins  The Withers are a clergy family living in a vicarage.  It’s the weekend of Kate’s hen party and her girlfriends will be staying overnight, as well as one close male friend from university, James, who is required to wear drag for the weekend to pass as a hen. Meanwhile, Kate’s ultra-respectable fiancé, Robert, has been set up to arrive at the vicarage as the buff butler, from an entirely spurious company called Butlers in Balaclavas – so that he won’t be recognised, of course.  What could possibly go wrong..?!

 

Ticket prices: £8 (£6 concessions). Book online:

http://www.theplacebedford.org.uk/

https://www.stanleyhalls.org.uk/

Tickets not yet on sale on Stanley Halls web site at time of posting.  Please keep checking!

Writers announced!

Congratulations to our four successful writers for StageWrite 2019!  Here they are, in alphabetical order – followed by the title of their play:

Anne Atkins (‘Play Lady K’). The Withers are a clergy family living in a Victorian working vicarage.  It’s the weekend of Kate’s hen party and her girlfriends will all be staying overnight, as well as one very close male friend from university, James, who is required to wear drag for the weekend to pass as a hen. Meanwhile, Kate’s ultra-respectable fiancé, Robert, is having his stag party elsewhere… and has been set up by both his friends and Kate’s sister to turn up at the vicarage as the buff butler, from an entirely spurious company called Butlers in Balaclavas – so that he won’t be recognised, of course.  What could possibly go wrong..?!

Matthew Fisher (‘We Are Stronger Together’). The British Government has failed to keep its citizens safe. The terrorist group, Unity, has invaded the country. Letum and Sancus used to just be numbers, but now they’re two of the group’s elite, and Letum is starting to question the morals of Unity and its Commander.  Along their way they meet Sarah, Jeff and Peter.  Do they pose a threat, or are they just trying to survive?

Martin Keady (‘The Murder of the Servants’). Lomax and Hendry serve the King.  Their job is to keep him safe and watch over his bed chamber. Lomax is committed to diligence and reputation, while Hendry is, well, a little more laid back.  But both know that all hell will break loose if the King is harmed, and if either of them is caught with blood on their hands…  ‘The Murder of the Servants’ is the story of Duncan’s servants in ‘Macbeth’, whom Macbeth and Lady Macbeth try to frame for the murder of the King.

 

Lewis Wood (‘A.D.A.M.’). A.D.A.M is a modern adaptation of the Frankenstein story, where Victor has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The story focuses around his struggle with building artificial intelligence, and is woven together with looking at the way his mental health affects both his ability to cope, and his key relationships with friends Elizabeth and Henry.

 

All four plays will be performed once at both venues, The Place Theatre in Bedford (9th and 10th May) and Stanley Halls in South London (17th and 18th May).  Programming information to follow.