Gold dust

When I plan lectures and workshops on the craft of writing, I’m forced to think about what else would help new and emerging writers. Because being told ‘how to’ do something is the least of it. As with any skill, it’s the implementation, the application, the practice of that skill that is key. For a writer, that means firstly coming up with a creative and workable idea. Then the true work begins, with the development of that idea, ensuring characters, story and theme unite to realise the full potential of your vision in your script.

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Timeless

An elegant green Edwardian clock stands at the heart of Birmingham’s beloved Jewellery Quarter, towering above the bustling lives of residents, workers, shoppers and visitors. The Chamberlain Clock has been an impressive sight since it was unveiled by Joseph Chamberlain back in 1903 to commemorate his visit to South Africa after the controversial 2nd Boer War.

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Our show needs YOU!

BOLDtext Playwrights’ latest show, GEM OF A PLACE, is welcoming a community cast to support our production with a dash of visual/physical theatre. 

GEM OF A PLACE  will be a theatrical journey around Birmingham’s beloved Jewellery Quarter, taking you beyond the shopfronts, down its side streets, and into some of its most secret places.  Along the way, our audience will experience six dramatic stories, each illuminating a unique aspect of the area.

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The purpose of purpose

We’ve all sat in groups or meetings, or even down the pub, with a fixed-on smile while we quietly wonder why we bothered showing up.  (Be honest, it’s not just me.) You have nothing useful to say on the subject, or no-one listens to you –  either way, it’s a waste of your precious time because you are serving no purpose.  Well, for a writer, the same is true of the characters you create. For every role – big or small – someone has to be auditioned and contracted; they have to grow into their part, learn and rehearse your script, then perform and get paid.  It’s a considerable effort because this is skilled work – and the success of your script relies on that actor playing their character well. So it’s vital to make every character count. This is easily overlooked when, as you stare at the fridge for inspiration, on to your page sneaks a secondary character without a motivation.

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Getting creative

I’m really looking forward to working with Women and Theatre’s Community Performance Club this summer, supporting participants as they ‘get creative’ by writing a monologue. We’ll start by developing character ideas, then create stories for them, ending up with a series of dramatic monologues penned by participants. They’ll have lots of fun trying out their scripts, workshopping them, then rewriting to craft the finished pieces. Actor and director Ali Belbin is on hand too, focusing on performance skills – and she’ll be rehearsing people to perform their own pieces in a event at the Hub, Hazelwell in Kings Heath, Birmingham.

Reading, interview and Q&A

Reading of “Under the Knife”

I’m delighted to have been invited to participate in an online event for Nottingham Creative Writing Hub on Wednesday 16th February, starting at 7pm https://nottinghamcreativewritinghub.com/events/

I’ll be performing a monologue and doing a Q&A afterwards with Dr Anthony Cropper of Nottingham Trent University and his creative writing students.

I’m just hoping I can answer all their questions…

Under the knife

Monologue at Solihull Core Theatre, Jan 22

This was a monologue I wrote as part of the Small is Beautiful festival at the end of January 2022 (Solihull Core Theatre), prompted by the devastating impact of rogue surgeon Ian Paterson on patients across the West Midlands region and beyond.

As a work in progress, I performed the piece myself as Marianne, a surgical consultant accused of damaging her patients’ fertility during gynaecological procedures.

The monologue may (or may not) form part of the full-length stage-play which I am currently developing, but it was an invaluable exercise from a characterisation point of view.

I’ll be performing it again for the Nottingham Creative Writing Hub at 7pm on Wednesday February 16th (advance registration via https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_K3_Zw2FNS1ShxCZoort30Q) followed by an interview about my work.

Power of Invention

At last! After several postponements, BOLDtext Playwrights’ latest site-specific show is happening in the gardens at Soho House, Birmingham, bringing those great brains of the Lunar Society to life again but with a twist – our all-female cast.

My play, Power, opens the show and sees the host Matthew Boulton urging his master craftsmen to support his latest ground-breaking though extremely risky endeavour. His persuasiveness was another of his notable powers. Once again, Boulton is embarking on the impossible – but what is it?

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POWER

BOLDtext Playwrights’ latest site-specific show, Power of Invention, tells the story of the Lunar Society and their families, servants and workers, revealing how their lives shaped our own.  My short play, Power, focuses on the man who hosted the Lunar Society – Brummie entrepreneur and industrialist, Matthew Boulton – and will be performed in the gardens of his elegant home, Soho House, this summer.

MATTHEW BOULTON (1718-1809) is best known for his partnership with James Watt in developing steam engine technology, heralding a technological revolution in 18th century England.  In fact, Boulton was far more than this. His combination of engineering know-how, entrepreneurial ambition and an ability to inspire the brightest minds to collaborate, gives him a unique status in Birmingham’s history books.

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Young man on phone

Online narrative & young viewers

Nicola Jones and I will be sharing the results of our R&D THRIVE project on Tuesday 29th June 2021 10am-12 , as part of an Arts Connect open event taking place online. Tickets can be booked HERE.

Representing BOLDtext Playwrights, we were awarded an Arts Connect Thrive research bursary 2020-21 to explore how young people 14-25 engage with short-form digital content. Our aim is to use this R&D to reflect on and innovate our short-form theatrical writing practice, while developing strategies to build up our younger audience.

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