Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Write Theatre

This Flesh is Mine: Andrew French and David Broughton Davies

Border Crossings Laboratory has been partnering with WRITE THEATRE to run a series of intensive courses for emerging theatre writers.  The course leaders are Brian Woolland (who wrote our recent hit This Flesh is Mine, as well as the earlier production Double Tongue, and has worked as a dramaturg on devised projects), together with Rib Davis.  Rib has written plays for BBC radio, television and stage. No Further Cause for Concern, later made into a television play, won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival.

Like all writers, playwrights have to spend time alone on the hard graft of developing a playscript. But writing for theatre is essentially different from writing novels, short stories or poetry in that collaborations are at the heart of theatre; and that is reflected in the way that WRITE THEATRE courses are organised – with collaborative workshops, open discussions and practical exercises as well as one-on-one tutorials.  What makes the course unique is that on the second of each pair of weekends we are joined by experienced professional actors; and the writers get the chance to work with these actors in groups and individually.  All day Saturday and Sunday morning are spent exploring and workshopping extracts from scripts written by those attending the course – with script-in-hand performances of these extracts on the Sunday afternoon. 

The most recent course was held over two weekends in June.  The three actors joining us for the second weekend were Hannah Watkins, Andrew French and David Broughton-Davies.  Andrew and David were both in This Flesh is Mine – as Achilles and Agamemnon. Here’s what some of the participants had to say:

“WRITE THEATRE might not be cheap – but it’s excellent value for money.  I loved your teaching style. You created a learning environment that offered a safe place to share, explore and take chances. You gave us guidance and support, insight and generosity of knowledge and spirit, encouraging us in a constructive, helpful way.  You provided a solid, professional framework for the course and a series of exercises that proved perfect for expedient learning by doing. I feel like I’ve achieved 6 months’ worth of information and experience in just 4 days.  The opportunity to have our work read, workshopped and performed by such quality actors was an absolute thrill. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve done ever and they were so wonderful to work and experiment with. Thank you for an incredibly enriching, absorbing, challenging, intense and wonderful experience.” 
 Lara Cetinich Cory

“Absolutely thrilling to see my work performed for the first time by professional actors.  Hard work; great fun; transformational; how magic happens.  This is the writing community I’ve been searching for.”           
 Lindsey Armstrong

“I found the whole course immensely rewarding. Having  professional actors work on one of my scenes moved me to tears. Brian Woolland and Rib Davis are great teachers and highly regarded playwrights.  Great value for money and a really great course!”                                                                       
Richard Barrett

Rib and Brian … are simply so generous with their experiences, yet so playful about the art of writing…. Two of the most inspiring weekends of work and play I could possibly have wished for…. To see real actors play a scene of my writing was a mind blasting experience...  Hugely inspiring. The climate was very warm and very intelligent.
Camilla Josephson

“That was truly inspirational. Wow!  What a difference you guys made.  I arrived trapped in a plot driven hole that I had dug myself and left released not really knowing where the characters in this new play are going, but thanks to you they are alive and going somewhere.”                                               
David Howgego

The next WRITE THEATRE course will be held at The Cockpit, London over the two weekends of October 25th – 26th and November 8th – 9th.  There is a strict upper limit of 10 participants.  We do not ask for qualifications as a pre-requisite for acceptance on the course, nor do we ask participants to have had previous experience of writing plays, but it is essential to have a strong interest in theatre.

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