In a dark, dark house…

Did you do this rhyme at primary school? “In a dark, dark house, there’s a dark, dark, door. Through the dark, dark door, there’s a dark dark room. In the dark dark room, there’s a MONSTER!”

I’ve loved the creepy and the uncanny since I could read. And – in a relationship that keeps banging into odd, odd coincidences – I had a very exciting conversation with the smart, thoughtful director Alice Butler, from Tidy Carnage, about the dark and uncanny places in our latest project.

We have a creepy script that I developed at High Tide’s winter retreat in Suffolk, about a man, a barn, a machine and a girl. We have – gorgeous to discover – very similar imagination wallpaper: if what we can see of each others’ minds were pinterest walls, they’d be pretty alike (but with excellent new discoveries for each).

And it’s all growing into the LOST theatre space and showing 15-17 June. It’s going to be a very exciting month…

High Tide Winter Retreat

6 December already? How did that happen? Terrifying. So I’ll ignore it and pretend I will easily make the year-end deadlines I’ve given myself…

Let’s deal with the Now instead.  Am back a day or so from the excellent High Tide winter retreat in Halesworth, Suffolk.  Sixteen brave scribes [wrighters, rather than writers, we hope] gathered to review, discuss, write, debate and challenge. Different backgrounds, different styles and aims, I think I can safely say we were all very relieved to find we gelled pretty well as a group. No inky blood was left on the walls.

“Yes, yes, process, process – but what about outcome?”, I hear some old mentor bicker from the back of memory.

I know at least three of us woke on Monday morning with Halesworth-related dreams.

I also know I’ve been given a new rigour to use when reviewing my work, as a matter of course – and as that is one of my biggest challenges, I’m pretty pleased at just that. But I got a sparkly eye on old/new work (a new rewrite on an older piece) and am confident that I can apply this weekend’s work to it to make it better. And found a horrid-lovely character or two who I’m going to take playing in the next month or so… Watch this space!


Oh, it’s the end-of-year madness, which, like all other things seasonal, comes early.

First of all, a massive grins all round as Venue Magazine released its judgement on the year’s best bits, rating May’s 24 Hour Plays at Theatre Royal Bath, run by the great Shane Morgan at Roughhouse  as 2nd best play of the year, coming runner up to Faith Healer at Bristol Old Vic. This great event included work by Adrian Harris, Simon Harvey Williams, David Lane, Katherine Mitchell, Carrie Rhys-Davies, and myself, and gave birth to No Milk, No Stamps, which gets to breathe some life in a longer version next year.

Secondly, I’ve just completed a rewrite (sigh) and feel ridiculously liberated. Yes, of course – it’s only a rewrite, but it does mean I don’t have to be thinking about the world of the play and living in the skins of its people every spare moment (as I have been). A big thanks to the guys at High Tide for this, as they cannily offered me some extra submission time in exchange for a completed draft.  Which leads us to…

Thirdly, I’m off on a retreat! Three whole days – three whole days – yes, three! (One per child, perhaps) To Write! In Suffolk! I cannot remember such an expanse of time. And yes, it’s being run by the aforementioned High Tide, who do a humungous amount of writer development, the marvels that they are.

‘Nuff said. Much to do before then. Like the accounts….