Last week was Development Week 13, and I’d like to thank everyone who came along. It was one of the best-attended Development Weeks since we started back in 2012. It seems that there’s a real hunger for quality new writing, and we’ve been treated to that in droves this week.
Development Week is all about all things new - and we’re also very excited to announce the launch of our brand new website. We hope that it runs more smoothly, giving us a better online infrastructure to support our online activities and to present our services in a more user-friendly way.
If you’re reading this blog, then you’ve already found us. We’d love to know what you think - please let us know in the comments if you spot any dead links or glitches. It might take a week or so to get everything 100% right.
Have a look at our new layout on our home page and please do explore our new site. You’ll still be able to stream our podcast, and we’re hoping to integrate our online meetings in the website - there’s still some work to go until we can do that, though. In the meantime, we’ll continue to use the Zoom app to meet online.
We hope you enjoy using the new site.
A Round-Up of Development Week 13
Development Week 13, held at The Kings Arms, was an excellent week of brand new work.
Development Week is an opportunity for WriteForTheStage to share our participant’s work in front of an audience; inviting them to give feedback that goes towards the on-going development of the work. It’s a rare opportunity to try out new work before it goes into full production; trying out the writing before you’ve committed yourself to a final draft for performance.
Monday 30th Sept
Cock of The Walk, by Bronte Appleby
We kicked things off on Monday with Bronte Appleby’s satire, Cock of the Walk. You can read our review of that piece here. We followed this great piece of new comedy writing with a free workshop, offering an opportunity to try out the WriteForTheStage process for yourself.
Tuesday 1st Oct
On Tuesday, we were treated to two pieces developed through WriteForTheStage: No Hiding Place, by David Chriscole; and The Lighthouse, by Johnny Temple.
No Hiding Place, by David Chriscole
David Chriscole’s dark journey into the world of sex trafficking is unsettling and beautiful, dark and human, and a character study of genuine intimacy. Full of imagery and disturbing action, this is going to be a memorable production when David gets the production ready in 2020. One to look out for.
The Lighthouse, by Johnny Temple
Johnny Temple’s dark comedy has the claustrophobia of a Pinter play, with the searing wit of Ben Elton. A well-contained two-hander, we‘re invited into a world that’s struggling to contain its secrets and lies. This piece leaps off the page and is getting ready for production in 2020.
We had Wednesday night off, and were back on Thursday.
Thursday 3rd Oct
Thursday’s line-up was Lady Illaria’s Drawers, by Illaria Passari, and The Cycle, by Richard Stringer.
Lady Illaria’s Drawers, by Illaria Passari
The full-house loved this storytelling show - following chapters of Illaria’s youth, examining some of her hilarious and bizarre misadventures. Rammed with nostalgia, this show is a treat of everything that’s innocent, fun, and delightfully mischievous. There were many laugh-out-loud moments and relatable moments of innocent discovery. The audience at York Spark are in for a treat when Illaria opens her tour of this brilliant show (October 18th).
The Cycle, by Richard Stringer
Richard Stringer‘s drama explores the dysfunctional complications of abusive relationships; but, this time, we examine the manipulative behaviour of Katie as she gaslights her way through Jake’s confidence. This full-length piece opens with the euphoria of new beginnings, as Jake and Katie move into their first flat together. But happy days soon descend into a cycle of abuse.
This is certainly one to look out for when it comes into full production in 2020’s Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.
Friday 4th Oct
On Friday, we hosted three new pieces of work from local writers.
Bed of Roses, by Adrian Perrett
Bed Of Roses, by Adrian Perrett, was a masterful, one-person performance from Darren Scott. This was a script written originally for the screen, adapted for the stage. There were echoes of Alan Bennett and Victoria Wood in this moving vignette, unravelling the world of a gay man‘s relationship with his controlling partner. The writing was very strong, funny, and laden with potent imagery.
The production company are planning to bring this wonderful piece to Greater Manchester Fringe Festival next year. Watch this space.
Woebegone, by Rhia Burston
Woebegone, by Rhia Burston, followed Darren’s powerful monologue performance with an equally well-performed piece that frankly explored the sex lives of a group of young women, sharing a flat and finding their way in the world. The language was unapologetically explicit and the subject matter challenging and powerful.
Window Open, by Andrew Seedall
Window Open, by Andrew Seedall, is a great period piece, exploring the complicated lives of a gay couple in England before the legalisation of homosexuality. Tension and intrigue is dissipated with moments of genuine warmth and comedy.
Andrew has developed Window Open through the Intro, Advanced, and Progressing courses, and is currently participating in the Producing course with the aim of bringing this great piece of writing to the stage in 2020.
Saturday 5th Oct
On Saturday, we had a script meeting with the writer of We Have Hidden Ourselves, Richard Hulse. Richard has been developing his script through the WFTS Advanced course. David Chriscole joined us to give feedback as we read the first half of the play, discussing the content of each scene.
The piece is really coming on, and we’re hoping to bring the full reading to Development Week in February.
Well Meaning People, by Sue Womersley
We read Well Meaning People, by Sue Womersley during the Intro Showcase. Sue has done the WFTS Intro course and the Progressing course and has worked really hard to create a piece that genuinely leaps off the page.
An exploration of homelessness and trust, this piece was extremely well received. The dialogue is naturalistic but purposeful, and the characters are believable and likeable. A piece with real promise.
Spectre, by Mike Heath
We read the first twenty minutes of my new play, Spectre. A character study in history and two very different characters thrust into a room together, it was great to hear the reading from Darren Scott and John Tuart.
Like all of the writers, I found it nerve-wracking to share my new untested piece, but the audience were reassuring and helpful, with some really useful feedback.
Complicity, by Maureen O’Neill
Maureen has been writing her piece inspired by #MeToo for a couple of years now. She started it during the WFTS Intro course, and she‘s continued to develop it through the Advanced course and the Progressing course.
Her script has come on leaps and bounds - an exploration of abuse and how we can become accidentally complicit in perpetuating the problem.
Maureen is soon to open a new fringe theatre venue in Stockport (Viaduct Theatre), so I’m sure that she’s be putting together this great script very soon!
Loads of the shows sold out and there was tons of feedback forms completed; all passed directly onto the writers to help them develop the next draft of their pieces.
It was a really excellent week of some really exciting new work.
Thank you to everyone who came along as audience, and to all the writers and performeras who made huge efforts to provide excellent entertainment.
The next Development Week will be in February. And we’re also hoping to bring another Development Conference, offering a weekend of workshops and performances.
Watch this space!
It’s not too late to sign up to the new term of our playwriting courses. Check them out and get in touch asap if you’d like to join. We welcome writers of all levels of experience. Due to start this week.