Category Archives: theatre

Portraits II

portraits-flyer

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.

Advertisements

Another book on the way…

Proposed cover

Proposed cover

UPDATED 8/1/14: The script has now been published (ISBN: 978-1-291-62773-2) and is available from from lulu, Amazon and possibly from other booksellers.

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.

The Worcester Century Plays

Book cover

Book cover

We have published the text of the 2001 Worcester Century Plays as a book. The ISBN is 978-1-291-36856-7 and it is available from Amazon and from Lulu.

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.

Three Youth Theatre Plays

The book cover

The book cover

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?

Red Skies Over the Severn

Book cover

The published script’s cover

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.

Hartfield Community Play – Parallel Lives

Parallel LivesImpromptu night out #2.

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.

Playwriting course in Brighton

** UPDATE ** This course has been postponed until Autumn 2012 **

NWS logo“Playwrighting” from New Writing South

led by Lance Woodman

This new ten session course offers a supportive atmosphere in which to explore elements of craft, including characterisation, plot, dialogue, and voice. Aimed at both those new to playwrighting and those with some experience wanting a refresher course the emphasis is on discovery, technique, and experimentation. Building on regular class exercises and individual work, and guided by constructive feedback and discussion, you will work on producing a short drama script. Some work created by the group will be presented by professional actors in a rehearsed reading at the end of the course which all participants can attend.

Lance Woodman is a playwright. He has an MA in Playwriting Studies from the University of Birmingham. He has taught Drama and Writing for Performance at Birkbeck College, University of London, Brunel University and Birmingham City University. His plays have been produced by Worcester Swan Theatre, BBC Radio 4, artworcs and New Theatre Works amongst others. He has been invited to workshops at the National Theatre Studio, was commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, was a member of the BBC’s Sparks Radio Writers’ group and was Writer in Residence at Worcester Swan Theatre after winning a Pearson bursary.

Full course dates:
Tuesday 7 February 2012 7-9pm
Monday 13 February 2012 7-9pm
Tuesday 21 February 2012 7-9pm
Wednesday 29 February 2012 7-9pm
Tuesday 6 March 2012 7-9pm
Tuesday 20 March 2012 7-9pm
Tuesday 27 March 2012 7-9pm
Tuesday 3 April 2012 7-9pm
Tuesday 10 April 2012 7-9pm
Plus
Saturday 14 April 2012 (10.30am-4.30pm) workshop with actors

Venue: The Writers’ Place, Jew Street, Brighton

Jerusalem

JerusalemWe went to see Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem in that London yesterday. As has been already noted, it’s a fine production of a wonderfully messy play. Do go and see it if you can (it’s sold out for the current run).

Mark Rylance heads up a company that revels in the revels. The audience (even in our restricted view area) were rapt for the whole three hours. It gives you faith in theatre again.

We decided that Rooster Byron would fit in very well in Hastings. Every third bloke there is a pirate, a shaman, a storyteller and/or a dealer.

The play has set me of on a new line of research for next year’s character at Bodiam. I’ve ordered some books on English folk tales and folklore.

That London was a bit disappointing. There are very few Christmas decorations and the place felt a bit grim. Buck Palace is illuminated, but only up to the levels of an East European railway terminus. Perhaps it’s a theme.

Playwrighting course

** UPDATE ** This course has been postponed until Autumn 2012 **
New Writing SouthI’m running a playwriting course for New Writing South  in Brighton from Tuesday 7th February next year. The copy says:

This new ten session course offers a supportive atmosphere in which to explore elements of craft, including characterisation, plot, dialogue, and voice. Aimed at both those new to playwrighting and those with some experience wanting a refresher course the emphasis is on discovery, technique, and experimentation.  Building on regular class exercises and individual work, and guided by constructive feedback and discussion, you will work on producing a short drama script.  Some work created by the group will be presented by professional actors in a rehearsed reading at the end of the course which all participants can attend.

If you’ve got any questions, please do get in touch.

I’m running a workshop

Rye

Beautiful Rye

Built your bonfire too early? Nothing to do early on November 5th? Why not sign up for a writing workshop!

I’m running a one day course at The School Creative Centre in beautiful Rye on Bonfire Day. The full details and booking thing are here.

The blurb says…

This workshop will use a series of practical and impractical exercises to enable you to create flawed but interesting scenes for performance. We’ll look at how actors find their way through scenes, marvel at their speed of thought and try to creates writing that matches it. We’ll be thinking (or not thinking) about pacing and… rhythm. We’ll delight in toying with the audience’s expectations. We’ll worry about whether our plays’ dimensions and depths are as they should be.

…and it’s all true. £20 would be cheap at half the price.

Write  a few short plays during the day and then go home to enjoy a bucketful of pyrotechnic-based, religious zealotry in the evening. What could be better!