Never quiet; always learning

Never quiet; always learning

Gosh – the sediment from Glitter Knickers has just about settled on the bottom of the jar.  The feedback just flowed in – thank you very much indeed, everyone – and in the next couple of weeks, it’s my job to package that up, with a whole load of metrics for The Next Stage. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, paid communications jobs have come in (yippee!) and I’ve just writ my first short film script. It’s an excellent discipline – I’m very much still wearing armbands. If you’ve met me, you’ll appreciate that verbal economy is not always my forte. I’m now a big fan of image boards, drawing out comic strips (as I did for Glitter Knickers) and running away from spoken words.

Y Grace bookI’ve also polished off a couple of TV treatments and had some very handy feedback on them. To make them/ others they best they can be, I’ve also  bought myself a new book (yes, that’s it in the pic). It’s stuff from the brain of Yvonne Grace, a TV guru of great experience who can be found here and if you’re also on facebook, here.

Last, my Jan – April season leading the Rondo Writers’ Group has just ended, with scripts from four of the writers heading into a professionally performed & produced show at Bath’s Rondo Theatre. If you’re local and have the wit to enjoy new writing (and believe me, the scripts, cast & director are great) you can catch this on 4-7 May, here! If you make it, let me know!

 

Glittering Audiences: day 2

Glittering Audiences: day 2

IMG_4221
Lucinda Holloway, star of Glitter Knickers at the Rondo Theatre

Glitter Knickers is proving (on the evidence of two nights) to be something people like! We had another smashing audience, with a very large “on the door” queue. I hope you’ll indulge my sharing some feedback – and if it inspires you to come, that would be wonderful – just tonight & Saturday (4/5 March) left! Book here.

“Bloody amazing”

“Hilarious, beautifully observed, artfully written. Go.”

“Go and see Glitter Knickers: it’s brilliant!!”

“Great night out. Very, very funny show.”

“Blown away! Funny real clever moving.”

“A tour de force in writing & performance -catch it.”

“Hugely enjoyed Glitter Knickers:  great script, perfect casting and laugh out loud funny.”

“It really is fantastic and will resonate with women everywhere. Made me laugh continuously.”

“You are a consummate storyteller Gill and this play is a romp through the imagination and Lucinda created such visual imagery. It was a joy! Huge congratulations to all involved. Thank you for a great night at the theatre.”

The Audience’s Glitter Knickers

The Audience’s Glitter Knickers

Wonderful opening night last night (2 March) – thanks hugely to all who came (feel free to come again, of course!). If you haven’t yet booked and want to come, I strongly recommend you click this “Book Now” link. But in the meantime, here’s a few choice quotes from last night’s fantastic audience:
 
“…the fantastic Glitter Knickers – it’s very funny, slightly bonkers and utterly sweary!”
“Loved it! Funny, astute, painful & crammed full of face-achingly good one-liners!”
“What a show! Bravo to everyone!”
“A MAZ ING”
“Fab show – we LOVED it!”
“I loved it. Trippy & brain-bendy.”
 
Thanks again, and I hope we’ll see you at the Rondo Theatre Thu/Fri or Sat!
gk TA DA
GLITTER KNICKERS AHOY!

GLITTER KNICKERS AHOY!

OK – IT’S SHOW TIME!

The new show can be unveiled!

It’s called Glitter Knickers, it’s on for just 4 nights in March, here in Bath and it’s a comedy about being in your early middle age. Tickets have just gone on sale and the theatre (the gorgeous Rondo, with comfy seats for just over 100 and a dandy bar) have agreed to do a promo deal for me.

So the dates: 2-5 March at the fantastic Rondo Theatre in Bath.
And if you’re buying before midnight on 31 December, you can get 10% off with the promo code GLITTER.

BOOK HERE!

If I can get bums on all the seats, it means our arts council / funding applications to take this out on tour will be much stronger, so please, if you think you fancy it, do book now (those of you who know me know I’ll be relentlessly touting ’til they are all sold, so don’t put it off!)

Hope to see you in March, if not before!
Happy Christmas and have a great 2015.

Gill & the Glitter Knickers team x

Image

A Bit of a Song and Dance

image

Ever feel you’ve got the weight of the universe on your shoulders?

You need Dan Dare – or does he need you?

One man’s “Potteresque” escape hatch, live on stage and for one night only…

A script in hand show – come and see theatre get made!

Monday 14 July, 7:30pm, Tobacco Factory Theatres (Brewery) – just £3

0117 902 0344 or click the poster…

How do we get people writing (produced work) for theatre when they can’t build a relationship?

How do we get people writing (produced work) for theatre when they can’t build a relationship?

You need to be familiar with a range of our work.

Spend time at the bar, introduce yourself.

If you’ve not seen new writing here in the last few months, I don’t want to hear from you.

These are all real words spoken by theatre building peeps, to writers.

I can’t argue – and am not about to – with the sentiment. If I ran myself ragged running a theatre, or its literary department, I’d have to know that a writer who wanted a relationship with us knew what we did and had seen a decent amount of it. I totally get it. 

As you know, the heart of good drama is conflict – and ideally conflict within one person. So here it comes.

There are barriers to theatre-going. Especially if you want a loving, close relationship. That’s doubly so if you’re in “the regions”: you need to be au fait with work at your locals, the fringe and do the same for London. 

But I don’t want to be airy-fairy about this- let’s look properly at those barriers:

  • Time. Say a show starts at 7:30, average. You’re out 2-3 hours later. More if there’s a drink after.
  • Money. Say £12-15 regional fringe, £25+ bigger house and £35+ for London? Please correct me if I’m way off.  [Then parking / travel, say £5-10; a drink @ £3-4; a programme,maybe £3-4?] So, between £15 and £50+ a pop.
  • Taste. You might not like what’s on. That’s a barrier. But if you’re a writer, you don’t let that stop you. After all, it’s a chance to pat yourself on the back about how you would have done so much better.

OK, so we’ve established, there are barriers to going to the theatre – that’s not news. They apply to all kinds of things in life. What’s different in this case is that you can build work relationships in other spheres during your normal working day. Dentists don’t have to hang round at night, waiting for vampires to appear. Teachers don’t do the 5am wake-up, better to understand their pupils. This is a price we “pay” (quote marks to neutralise any negative connotations). But it’s not one that everyone can.

So who doesn’t have these barriers?

  • Time. If you have nothing else to do, the time is certainly not a conflict. Chiefly, this is people who work by day, don’t have kids, or have whose partners who will babysit. (Or who have a great babysitting set-up of another kind)
  • Money. If you get comps (eg by working in theatre, or you’re an agent / publisher / critic / friend of the cast etc), money is not a barrier.
  • Taste. Is there anyone to whom taste is no barrier? I’ll let you answer that one…

Thanks for bearing with me.

Who is “out”, then? (Assuming, of course, that they want to be “in”). Who might be writing, but have no theatre relationship? Shift workers; carers; parents, esp. single ones; anyone who can’t afford £30 (a pair) more than once a month – a proper luxury by many standards. We know these people are under-represented as writers. ‘Cos if they ever get successful, their life circumstances are top of the story: alas, I can’t find any to quote for you. If you spy a “long-term carer playwright,” “nightshift dramatist” or “cancer nurse single dad playwright” success story, please let me know.

I don’t have an answer. And I am not angry with theatres. I meant what I said at the top: I totally get it. If we all start blaming each other, by the next general election, there will be no arts world to speak of because we’ll have ripped each other apart and flung the remains into the furnace.  But what can we do? Because there is a bias.

Here are some mad ideas. Please add your own:

  • Bursaries to include accredited babysitters
  • Matinees to target shift workers (perhaps promo discounts)
  • Creches at theatres for matinees (corporate partnership-tastic)
  • Loyalty cards – see 5, get 1 free (would benefit everyone, or could be targeted to partic. audience groups or types of show)
  • Workplace competitions – not unlike BBC’s workplace choir – where playwrights mentor a workplace group of staff (personal development, community relations, confidence, writing skills, the benefits list is long!) – Tescos, are you listening?

If anyone is interested in talking about these, by the way, it’s the kind of thing I put together at work, so get in touch here or pop over to http://www.lyric-communications.com and contact me there.

We all know that these days, a writer can gain so much from a relationship with a theatre. It helps them to see work, consider it, build experience and taste, try things out, perhaps win opportunities and introductions…That relationship is at the core of a virtuous cycle. (It’s why people get narked at the “same old faces” getting the chances.) Should we just shrug and accept it, or is there something we can do? I know I’d like a broader pool of writers getting work on. Some more “gogglebox” flavour, and less “Radio 4” would feel a bit more like a theatre of Great Britain, wouldn’t it?

Living, unfamous writers: too many of ’em about?

Living, unfamous writers: too many of ’em about?

I’m a writer. I write plays, mainly. I live in the south-west of England and am very lucky to do so – I moved here from London, specifically to create the space to write, and fell smack-bang into an incredibly energetic and passionate playwriting region.

I’m a living playwright – not a dead one. The things I write are … new.  Many theatres and individuals here are (or have been) excellent at encouraging writers who haven’t yet died.  There’s a roll of honour, and some links, below.

You never hear of publishers complaining there’s “too much new writing”, do you? Film moguls? The West End? No? Simon Cowell, perhaps? HBO? Sky Arts? Channel 4 or BBC Drama Departments? So why is there a whisper (in more than one place) that you can have too much “new writing” in theatre?

As any fule kno, you can’t run a theatre without bums on seats. And as any box office manager will tell you, getting the glutes on the velour/bench/cushion (depending on your theatrical taste) is harder if you’re selling an unknown quantity. Unless you’re revered for new writing, like the Royal Court, you have to balance the crowd-pleasers with the risks and “buy” the chances to show riskier work (and risk isn’t just about unknown writers, of course).

But there are theatres that make this work: The Soho, Bush, Hampstead, 503 and Royal Court in London, Edinburgh’s Traverse, Manchester’s Royal Exchange, Hull Truck, Liverpool’s Everyman, Live Theatre in Newcastle, Exeter’s Bike Shed, Bolton’s Octagon and Sherman Cymru in Cardiff, to name a few, plus the excellent, buildingless Paines Plough and High Tide.  In each place you find individuals giving writers support, challenging them and waving a proud flag for work that’s fresh and about today’s world. It’s not easy, of course. But they have all declared a commitment to discovery – to championing theatre work from exciting new writers.

Perhaps that’s “enough”? To be fair, if you’re not receiving tax-payer subsidy or other grants that call for you to support writers that live, you can do what you want. But theatre faces a challenge. It’s competing against those guys I mentioned earlier (Cowell, HBO, the West End, film) for audiences. And it shouldn’t just be competing for attention, but for audience LOVE. For that “I can’t get enough” thang. “New” shouldn’t be a dirty word, a “brand” or fad that passes its sell-by date. It shouldn’t be a synonym for “worthy” or “inaccessible”. If theatres commission exciting work, it will excite. (Then it’s over to the PR and marketing lot to do the selling – any good product was “new” once upon a time – and that’s usually a selling point).

So, like a tree falling outside a matchstick factory, I’ll creak here at the bookers and commissioners who whisper “maybe there’s too much new writing”: if you’re scared of “new”, are you in the right business? Can’t you change it?

To wit, within my own ambit, here’s a roll of honour. There are loads more I haven’t worked with and I haven’t named any writers’ groups, directors or producers, who tend to be dependent, like lone writers, on these bigger guys for support.

Bristol Old Vic through Sharon Clark’s Writer’s Room and initiatives like Ferment and the 24-hour plays;

ScriptSpace (created by Sharon Clark, then run by Sophie Lomax & Oliver Millingham) at the Tobacco Factory;

Theatre Royal Bath’s Ustinov Studio under Andrew Smaje (now at Hull Truck) and their current Engage programme and projects like the 24-Hour Plays;

Bath’s Rondo Theatre;

The Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter;

Bristol Folk House’s Saturday Shorts;

Theatre West at the Alma Tavern in Bristol

And enabling networks like Theatre Bristol.

ALL of these guys make new work come to life. Without them, it’s the dead and the already-known.