Category Archives: playwriting
I’m writing again.
A year ago I wrote and performed a solo 5 minute piece Thinking Inside the Box for the Bee Box event at the Chapel in Bromyard, Herefordshire. My friends had set up an art show and they asked ten writers to produce short pieces to go with it.
In October there was a similar project, The Needle Makers Project, at the Artists Workhouse in Studley, Warwickshire. My five minute piece is called Cacophony. Just a tip: don’t ask people to clap their hands as an essential part of a piece when they’ve all been given a glass of wine.
I’ve enjoyed this new (for me) form and the chance to use my live interpretation skills and perform.
The next in the series will be the Portraits II project (see above). The Portraits exhibition has now closed but some of the art works will be brought back for a ten writer show of 5 minute pieces at the Artists Workhouse on July 9th. I don’t know what my piece will be called yet.
There are some more details on the Plays and Production page.
I’m planning to publish the script of my 2005 play Upside Down and Back to Front as a book in the near future. I’ve sent off for a proof copy and this is the cover I’m thinking of using.
The play tells the story of a photographer travelling around Worcestershire in 1913 and the present-day story of a batch of pictures being found in an attic. It has loads of characters, which means the cast of three have to work really hard!
The play was commissioned and produced by artworcs at the Number 8 Community Arts Centre in Pershore. It was fun to do.
The cover image features my Gran in the hop yards when she was a girl.
More news on this soon.
My contributions to the Century Plays were my first professional commissions. The whole project was a delight to be involved in. I enjoyed working as part of a writing team. The size of the company (7 professional actors and 25 community actors) set all sorts of interesting challenges to be sorted out.
The plays were commissioned by Worcester Theatre Company in association with Swan Playwrights. The first performances were at Worcester Swan Theatre on 7-28 April 2001. Jenny Stephens and Kim Greengrass directed.
My youth theatre play ‘now‘ will get another production.
It will be directed by the original director Mel Lewis for her youth theatre company Tremor.
The performance will be part of the Worcestershire Theatre Festival at The Norbury Theatre, Droitwich on Saturday 6th April. Looking at the Tremor site, it might also be having a run on 23rd March at Bishop Perowne College on 23rd March as well.
Good luck to Mel and the company. This will be the sixth production of ‘now‘ making it easily my most performed play.
The script is available in Three Plays for Youth Theatre which is currently discounted on Amazon (just sayin’).
There will be a new production of my youth theatre play ‘now‘ in Droitwich, Worcestershire in April. Details to follow.
I had previously published my play for young people, now, as a paperback but it always seemed expensive for just a single twenty minute play.
So what I’ve done is printed three of my plays in a single volume which is now available at £5.99 from Lulu.
Full details of the plays are elsewhere on this site but, in summary: they’re all for large casts aged 11-16, between 20 and 30 minutes in length and are great fun. All three were developed with an active youth theatre group and one, now, has had a whole series of productions around the country.
One of the plays, Incredible Feats, has never been produced. Anyone fancy putting on a world première?
Right, I think it’s mostly here.
My old Web site at http://www.lancewoodman.co.uk is likely to disappear early in the New Year. In anticipation of this I have been overhauling this place to include most of the old content.
The menu bar at the top now has fairly comprehensive links to different parts of my professional life. I’m afraid cycling has had to go (in more ways than one). The links (right) have been updated slightly as well.
Down on the right-hand side is a link to the lulu bookshop. I have an idea to publish a few more ‘works’ next year. Keep an eye out for that.
I hope it all looks okay and is accurate. Do let me know if you find any issues.
The play Red Skies Over the Severn was my third professional, main stage commission as a playwright back in 2001.
It had to be topical so it was written in a great hurry. I think it gained energy from that process. My thanks to the commissioning Worcester Theatre Company and director Jenny Stephens.
The play was received pretty well. The Guardian and The Telegraph sent their top reviewers, so the coverage was good.
So why talk about it now? Well I think 11 and bit year anniversaries are important. There are a couple of other reasons as well…
- I am slowly closing down my old web site and moving the content to this one. Red Skies… is the first page to move across.
- I felt the play disappeared after the run in Worcester. There has never been a second production. I don’t like that it has disappeared without trace so I’ve published the script. You can buy it here or, if it seems expensive, get in touch and I’ll see if I can arrange a deal.
I will probably publish more scripts in the next few months.
On the recommendation of playwright Steph Dale, we went to see the Hartfield Community Play Parallel Lives last night. The play is written and directed by Claque Theatre’s Jon Oram – a man with years of experience in making community theatre.
The venue (and set) was the village church. The plot wove together stories from the village’s past. Each of the characters was based on a real person (some of them famous: A. A. Milne, W. B. Yeats and Ezra Pound had walk-on roles, Christopher Fry had a major role and local luminaries the Sackvilles, De La Warrs, Brasseys and Lady Dorothy Wellesley featured as well). There were 90 performers listed.
I like community theatre. One of my first writing credits was a scriptwriter on the Alvechurch Community Play The Odd Boy. I’ve acted in a few as well. The form requires a long term commitment, flexibility, a genius for logistics, usually an ability to work on a limited budget and a great deal of heart. The results are often theatrically exciting, satisfying and transformative for those taking part. It’s a rare opportunity for a writer to work with a large cast in a non-theatrical setting – usually a promenade performance.
Parallel Lives was a great night out. It started a little nervously but gradually, over two and a half hours, built and built. It took its time to bring its characters to life and interweave their stories across social barriers and across time. As darkness closed in the church became a magical space: horses and carts rode through, we met Saint Cuthman, I saw a pig on a lead and they built a church. Death was in the room but we affirmed life. Pat and I even got involved in a barn dance.
At the end the stories melded beautifully. The drama was thoughtful, moving and satisfying. But that was not all. The event itself was deeply dramatic. The performance (and in a promenade the audience performs as well) changed the people, changed the space. The plays I like activate people, change people. Parallel Lives did that.
The playwriting course that I was leading and that was due to start today in Brighton has been postponed.
I’ve spoken with New Writing South and we hope to reschedule the course in Autumn this year. I will publish the details when I have the information.
The next writing course I am scheduled to lead is the Starting to Write: Drama module of Birkbeck College’s Creative Writing (Certificate of Higher Education) course starting on April 17th in Central London.