Cama’rDdrama

Mae Cama’r Ddrama yn gyfres o weithdai sy’n cael eu cynnal mewn tri lleoliad cyffrous: Amgueddfa Ceredigion, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru a gweithdy awyr agored yn y dref.

Siwrne greadigol o amgylch rhai o drysorfeydd Aberystwyth, cyfle i ennyn ysbrydoliaeth a chanfod syniadau newydd ar helfa drysor i ganfod syniadau newydd gyda’r tiwtoriaid Catrin Fflur Huws (Cymraeg) a Sandra Bendelow (Saesneg). Ar gyfer ‘sgwennwyr newydd a hen lawiau sydd am chwilota am syniadau.

£25 am bob cwrs – bwrsariaethau ar hael

  • 16/6/2018 Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum, Dydd Sadwrn 11-4 YP
  • 30/6/2018 Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, Dydd Sadwrn 11-4YP
  • 7/7/2018 Syniadau yn y Stryd, Dydd Sadwrn 11-4YP

Cysylltwch â playpenaberystwyth@gmail.com er mwyn archebu lle neu i ymgeisio am fwrsariaeth. Nifer cyfyngedig o leoedd ar gael.

PlayPen Seedlings

PlayPen Seedlings is a series of three workshops taking place at Ceredigion Museum, National Library Wales and an outdoor workshop exploring Aberystwyth.

A creative journey exploring some of our amazing Aberystwyth spaces and places, a chance to be inspired and find ideas on a creative treasure hunt with tutors Catrin Fflur Huws(Cymraeg) and Sandra Bendelow (English-language). For beginner writers or writers new to writing for performance or writers who just want some fun.

£25 per course with bursaries available

The dates and venues are:

16/6/2018 Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum, Saturday 11-4PM
30/6/2018 LLGC/ NLW, Saturday 11-4PM
7/7/2018 Outdoor Adventure Idea Trail ,Saturday 11-4PM

Contact playpenaberystwyth@gmail.com to book a place or apply for a bursary. Limited spaces available.

 

Crash Test at Y Stordy Tuesday 12th June

Crash Test will be back on Tuesday 12th June 8PM at it’s new home Y Stordy/The Storehouse at Rummers Wine Bar.

Crash Test is a scratch night which offers writers and performers the chance to share work in development in a supportive environment. Previous scratch nights have included comedy sketches, cabaret, plays, radio,short film scripts, storytelling, poetry, performance art and stand-up comedy.

The Storehouse is a Grill and Cocktail Bar in the ground floor of the iconic Rummers Wine Bar. The building, which was originally built as a mill storehouse, was also the site of the very first theatre space in Aberystwyth from about 1818 in which the renowned actress Sarah Siddons performed.

The evening is hosted by performance artist, writer and stand-up comedian James Baker who brings a very innovative style to the evening creating a fun, hilarious and unique experience for audience.

Sandra Bendelow said,  “Anyone is welcome to come along to Crash Test and try out a poem, a short story, anything they are working on, or if they have a short play or a bit of a longer piece and they want it to be performed we have lots of wonderful actors who will perform it. In the first one we had someone performing his own poetry for the very first time, he was brilliant, absolutely loved the experience and he’s really excited about writing more. That is what

Crash Test is all about, giving the chance for people to have a go at writing and performing. Storehouse at Rummers Wine Bar is such a lovely intimate, homely space that it works perfectly for Crash Test. Audiences always enjoy the evening because it’s fun and exciting and people get to see work at its earliest stages, there is always a range of styles and subjects so there’s something for everyone.”

Noson sgratch yw Crash Test sydd yn cynnig cyfle i awduron a pherfformwyr i rannu gwaith ar waith mewn amgylchedd ddiogel. Y mae nosweithiau blaenorol wedi cynnwys perfformiadau comedi, cabaret, dramau, sgriptiau byrion ar gyfer ffilm, adrodd straeon, barddoniaeth, a chelfyddyd perfformiadol.

Arweinir y noswaith gan James Baker, sydd yn artist perfformio, awdur a digrifwr sydd, drwy ei steil gwreiddiol, yn rhoi stamp hwyliog, doniol ac unigryw ar y noson, ac fe’i trefnir gan yr awdur a’r cynhyrchydd Sandra Bendelow o Scriptography Productions.

The event is free. There will be an opportunity at the end of the evening to Pay What you Want

The project is an open and inclusive project which welcomes participation. If you are a writer or performer who would like to take part then get in contact with playpenaberystwyth@gmail.com

Crash Test is back!

Crash Test will be back on Tuesday 10th April at The Storehouse at 8PM.

Following on from their project PlayPen, supporting seven writers to get to the end of writing a full-length play, they are back supporting new writers to test out their work in front of a supportive and extremely informal environment.

Crash Test nights have previously been held at the RAFA Club (before it became Bar 46), The Boat Club, Boulders Cafe in Borth and Aberystwyth Arts Centre and has now found a new home at The Storehouse. (the wine selection and extensive gin collection was in no way an influence on the decision when looking for a new host!)

The Storehouse is a Grill and Cocktail Bar on the ground floor of the iconic Rummers Wine Bar. The building which was originally built as a mill storehouse was the very first theatre space in Aberystwyth. It was a theatre from about 1818 in which the renowned actress Sarah Siddons performed. (Though we know it was a theatre there is some uncertainty about which part of the building housed the theatre so any local historians please feel free to get in touch as we would love to know more.)

 Crash Test is a scratch night which offers writers and performers the chance to share work in development in a supportive environment. Previous scratch nights have included comedy sketches, cabaret, plays, short film scripts, storytelling, poetry, performance art and stand-up comedy – the rule is as long as it involves performance and words then it’s good to go though we have once waived the words rule!)

Crash Test is hosted by performance artist, writer and stand-up comedian James Baker who brings a very innovative style to the evening creating a fun, hilarious and unique experience for audience. (This basically means anything goes and no-one really knows where James comedic style will take him so prepare for the unexpected!) The event is curated by writer and producer Sandra Bendelow from Scriptography Productions.

The project is an open and inclusive project which welcomes participation. If you are a writer or performer who would like to take part then get in contact with scriptographyproductions@gmail.com Everyone is welcome to get involved.

Sandra Bendelow said,  “we are delighted to be back with Crash Test which has always been such a fun night for participants and audiences as we test out new work on audiences. We will be holding the event every two months through the summer as we want more people to be able to take part. We are thrilled to be in partnership with The Storehouse at Rummers Wine Bar to present the event and excited to be bringing theatre back to such an iconic venue in Aberystwyth.”

Noson sgratch yw Crash Test sydd yn cynnig cyfle i awduron a pherfformwyr i rannu gwaith ar waith mewn amgylchedd ddiogel. Y mae nosweithiau blaenorol wedi cynnwys perfformiadau comedi, cabaret, dramau, sgriptiau byrion ar gyfer ffilm, adrodd straeon, barddoniaeth, a chelfyddyd perfformiadol.

Arweinir y noswaith gan James Baker, sydd yn artist perfformio, awdur a digrifwr sydd, drwy ei steil gwreiddiol, yn rhoi stamp hwyliog, doniol ac unigryw ar y noson, ac fe’i trefnir gan yr awdur a’r cynhyrchydd Sandra Bendelow o Scriptography Productions.

The event is free. There will be an opportunity at the end of the evening to Pay What you Want

Death Comes to St Michaels by Tom O’Malley

PlayPen Get to the End – Gets to the End. On 13th March 7:45PM at Aberystwyth Arts Centre the project will be presenting the final full-length play, Death Comes to St Michaels written by Tom O’Malley, directed by Caroline Clark and performed by Denise Williams, Jason Philpot, Jeremy Newman, Alex Gilbey, Huw Evans, Billy Taylor-Adam, Daz O’Connell, Lynne Baker, Sean Byrne, Paula Gallagher, Emma Sims, Heather Giles.

Death Comes to St Michaels sees an untimely death disturb a dinner party in a sleepy seaside town. It is left to the new vicar and a local reporter to help the Inspector unravel the truth.

PlayPen Get to the End began in March 2017 with PlayPen: Beginnings, with the first twenty minutes of 8 plays by local writers across 2 nights featuring 42 characters and performed by over 30 actors. This part of the project has been named ‘Get to the End’ in reference to the project supporting writers to achieve the very simple but often evasive task of simply getting to the end of writing a play.

PlayPen: Get to the End is a development project by Scriptography Productions produced by Richard Hogger, Tom O’Malley and Sandra Bendelow.

Tickets are available from the box office 01970 623232 or https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/death-comes-st-michaels

 

7# Five things from Tom O’Malley

Death Comes to St Michael’s is the seventh and final in our series of rehearsed readings for new full length plays. We asked all of the writers participating in PlayPen Get to the End to share the five things that stopped them and the five things that helped them Get to the End. Here the writer of Death Comes to St Michaels, Tom O’Malley shares his five things.

5 things that stopped you getting to the end

  • Starting without a clear enough idea of what I was meant to be doing.
  • Sitting at my desk and planning too much
  • Doing too much research, i.e. searching you tube for murder mystery plays
  • Giving up too readily and too early in the process
  • Looking for biscuits, not finding them, going to the shop, and making coffee – too often

5 things that helped you?

  • Deciding on a plan and sticking to it, at least for the first draft
  • Sitting at my desk and putting pen to paper – regardless of the consequences
  • Switching off the TV
  • Not allowing myself any biscuits or coffee if I even considered giving up.
  • Looking forward to finishing it!!!

Death Comes to St Michaels is written by Tom O’ Malley, directed by Caroline Clark performed by Lynne Baker, Denise Williams, Heather Giles, Paula Gallagher, Emma Simms,  It will be presented as a script in hand reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 13th March at 7:45PM

Tickets for Death Comes to St Michaels are available through the box office 01970 623232 or https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/death-comes-st-michaels

 

More information on PlayPen Get to the End is available here

 

A director’s perspective on PlayPen

We have been thrilled to be able to offer people the opportunity direct for the first time as part of the Playpen process, as a rehearsed reading the play offers the chance to give directing a go in a supportive environment and relatively pressure free. Here Roger Boyle one of our new-to-directing directors talks about the experience.
How would you describe the experience of directing for the first time?

I suppose it is the first time, as other times I have directed were ages ago and really rather different.  Having been on the receiving end [acting] I know that all directors are different, and distilling good practice is not simply observation as the character of the individual and the practice cannot really be disentangled.  So I didn’t worry about just doing it “my way” and have found that personally satisfactory, but getting clear opinion from the cast will be difficult, I think.

How did you approach the piece?
The piece turned out to be rather different to the sample 20m we did last spring and gave some challenges.  A lot of it is driven by events and people who/which are not displayed and often are wholly implicit, so I wanted the cast to agree on what those features actually were.

What do you think are the challenges, good and bad, of working with a new play with the writer involved in the process?
A composer once told me that the worst thing about publishing a piece of music was that you lose all control over it; musicians/conductors can interpret it however they please and if you don’t like it, tough.  As a writer, I agree (although my director was very sympathetic to my intentions).  So having the writer present certainly allowed gaps in intent to be filled easily in most cases – but not all; after casting a character as male I learned that [s]he had been intended to be female.  There wasn’t much I could do about that.  That sort of experience actually helped me as a writer – be very clear about what you want if you definitely don’t want the director to fiddle with it.

Who has inspired you as a director?
Unfacetiously, every director I have worked with.  The variety of approaches and ideas has been of great value, even if they are things I did not choose to use.

Have you enjoyed directing – would you do it again?
I’d jump at the opportunity if given it, but it’s a privilege to be earned: whoever is staging or writing something needs to have some faith in you.

Why do you think audiences should come and see the play?
To be entertained by a piece of theatre

Blinds written by Caroline Clark, directed by Roger Boyle. performed by Lynne Baker, Huldah Knox-Thomas, Catrin Fflur Huws, James Baker, Bob Cook, Denise Williams. It will be presented as a script in hand reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 13th February

Tickets for Blinds are available through the box office 01970 623232 or https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/blinds

The final PlayPen Get to the End project will be presented as follows

13th March 7.45PM 2018 – Death Comes to St Michaels written by Tom O’Malley, Directed by Caroline Clark

More information on PlayPen Get to the End is available here

6# Five things by Caroline Clark

Blinds was written by Caroline Clark. Here are the fine things that stopped and the five things that helped her Get to the End.

‘Blinds’ was atypical as it is based on an existing short story so the end ( in the plot sense) was there from the start. The problems in completing were :

Trying to get the individual voices right.

Trying to balance filling out the characters against slowing the action.

Deciding whether to stay with the single location or open it out.

Deciding whether to stay with the “snap” ending or not.

Things that helped:

seeing & hearing it played.

The reactions of the actors and the clarity they gave to the characters.

Advice on where the text was too thin.

Seeing how other scripts developed.

Hearing the approaches of professional writers.

Blinds written by Caroline Clark, directed by Roger Boyle. performed by Lynne Baker, Huldah Knox-Thomas, Catrin Fflur Huws, James Baker, Bob Cook, Denise Williams. It will be presented as a script in hand reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 13th February

Tickets for Blinds are available through the box office 01970 623232 or https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/blinds

The final two PlayPen Get to the End project will be presented as follows

13th March 7.45PM 2018 – Death Comes to St Michaels written by Tom O’Malley, Directed by Caroline Clark

More information on PlayPen Get to the End is available here

Finding my way back to writing: Interview with Katharina Hone

Tell me a little about the writing that you did before beginning Space Oddity.
Writing a play and then talking about writing a play are two very different things. So, this is slightly strange, even stranger than actually writing the play. But let me begin at the beginning: this is the first play I have written. It is also the longest piece of fiction I have written in a very long time. Somewhere around first grade I was sure that I would be a writer – that or an astronaut. And then time passed and I started to write academically, formally, scientifically. And somewhere around there, I got lost. Space Oddity might be the way back.

What is Space Oddity about and what do you think audiences will like about it?
It is 2024, Dr No is the first astronaut to return from a mission to Mars. Waiting for her first public appearance, she meets a theoretical physicist and an engineer. Both were involved in her mission but have now taken new identities, calling themselves Armstrong and Gagarin. The three debate the meaning of space exploration and scientific discoveries and discuss the future of humanity, while increasingly loosing the orbit around sanity. As time and space recede into the background and chaos and disorder increase, Dr No realises that you cannot “go where no one has gone before” and still keep circling the same old ideas of progress.

I am asking some very big questions in the play. What does it mean to go to Mars? Where do we go from here? Who benefits? Can we progress, keep exploring, and keep developing new technologies without confronting our own flawed nature?

Yet, my three protagonists also get incredibly drunk, spin in circles, choreograph their own planet dance, and have imaginary pets. They have fun together and they don’t take themselves too seriously. One of them asks, “Craziness aside? When crazy is all we have left?” They seek serious answers, but they understand that the answer might not come from being all too serious.

Despite the profound questions that are brought to the stage, I hope audiences also simply have fun with the characters and keep exploring with them and spinning with them.

How did the idea for Space Oddity begin and how was the idea developed?
When the first cosmonauts and astronauts reached orbit and saw Earth as the one small planet on which we all live, the idea emerged that now we would come together as a species. We would realise our own fragility and how ridiculous our conflicts are. Many believed that space exploration would contribute to greater self-understanding and to living together more harmoniously on one planet. It almost doesn’t need to be pointed out, but: this has not happened. Why?

In the play, I am putting three people together in a confined space and apply some pressure. The three are at the forefront of exploration and of stretching beyond the boundary of what seemed impossible before. They know that going to Mars is an incredible achievement, but they are also slightly desperate. They understand that if we continue like this as a species, it cannot end well. They seek meaning in all of it, they challenge the idea of progress, and they wonder where to go from here.

How has Playpen Get to the End helped you as a writer? Would you recommend Playpen to others and why?
For me, PlayPen was a bit like gravity: a constant providing certainty and holding me in place. I don’t think I could have done it without the programme. To have workshops with the other playwrights, to get guidance on the play, to have actors spend their time on reading the script, and then to see everything on stage has been indispensable. Upon returning from Mars, my main protagonist says, “I am still trying to find my bearings. At least gravity is holding me in place.” PlayPen had exactly this role for me. It held me in place.

PlayPen has taken you through from beginning to writing a draft – what things have changed from your original idea through to the draft being presented at the end of January?
I wanted to write about science and I wanted to write about space. I grew up on a weekly diet of Start Trek Next Generation. And, as I said, I wanted to be an astronaut in first grade – that or a writer. So, I already had a few ingredients in place. Conceptually, plays like Brecht’s Life of Galileo and Dürrenmatt’s The Physicists came to my mind first. They focus on the moral responsibility of scientists.  But this turned a lot more personal when I started exploring Dr No’s journey and the doubts she is facing despite having accomplished her childhood dream and being the personification of human ingenuity and technological progress. Her doubts and her journey towards finding an answer became the guiding post for the play.

What has been the most surprising thing about the journey as a writer, writing a play for theatre for the first time?
It’s magic. There are things that I am not in control of that somehow just emerge in the process or are brought in by the different people working to get this piece on stage. There are transformations and emergences that seemingly come out of nowhere. Suddenly things hang together and connections between different characters or different parts of the play appear. It is my play, but it is also something else and to see this emerge in the rehearsals and then on stage is simply magic.

Space Oddity is written by Katharina Hone, directed by James Baker and performed by Catrin Fflur Huws, Darren O’ Connell and Jason Philpot. It will be presented as a rehearsed reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Tuesday 23rd January 7.45PM

Tickets for Space Oddity are available through the box office 01970 623232 or  https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/playpen-space-oddity

The final two PlayPen Get to the End projects will be presented as follows

13th February 7.45PM 2018 – Blinds written by Caroline Clark, Directed by Roger Boyle

13th March 7.45PM 2018 – Death Comes to St Michaels written by Tom O’Malley, Directed by Caroline Clark

5# Five things by Katharina Hone

Getting to the End; Five things that helped and five things that stopped Katharina Hone

Getting to the first draft … five things that held me back.

“Each decision spawns a different universe. Not chance, but meaning. We are making meaning, we are creating the universe.” One of my characters discussed the multiverse theory, which is the idea that there are parallel universes. Some similar to ours, other very, very different. The question is: what do we decide? I found this a bit scary. Every change in the script creates a slightly different play. But was this change the right decision? Should it be another change, another play, another universe?

“Monsters of meaning.” One of my characters prefers facts to interpretation and the meaning we give to these facts. Meaning also followed me throughout the writing process. Does this play mean something? But wait, what is it that I actually want to say? Will the audience get it?

“Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one … and …” And then nothing, because blank pages are evil. They stare back at you without mercy.

“Madness, when we are merely faking it?” Am I a playwright or am I faking it? Self-doubt is not a friend.

“The fear?” “The fear!” “Yes, tell us about the fear.” “Excuse me?”  I guess this one is self-explanatory. Fear is also not a friend.

Getting to the first draft … five things that helped:

“To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.” It’s one of those famous sci-fi quotes that still resonate with me from my childhood. Two of my characters mention it at the beginning of the play. One of them even mocks the unmitigated spirit of exploration and progress that the quote exudes. Yet, the quote really touches on something. This is my first play and the excitement of exploring something new and to boldly go where I have never been before were incredible. Theatre is a strange new world for me and I didn’t have any pre-conception or expectations, nothing previous to compare myself to. And I found that’s the best possible situation to be in. So, I boldly explored.

“I am still trying to find my bearings. At least gravity is holding me in place,” says the main character who has just returned from Mars. For me, PlayPen was a bit like gravity: a constant providing certainty and holding me in place. I don’t think I could have done it without the programme. To have workshops with the other playwrights, to get guidance on the play, to have actors spend their time on reading the script, and then to see everything on stage has been indispensible and incredible.

“Failed again? Try again! Fall six times. Get up seven.” This is what one of my characters says when he tries to be encouraging. It’s almost too cheesy to have an effect. But there you go!

“It’s like circling a planet without ever landing.” To keep sane, you simply have to declare yourself finished at some point. At least temporarily. Everyone has to come down from orbit.

“Too late. There is only one way to go now.” Deadlines. They are your friends.

Space Oddity is written by Katharina Hone, directed by James Baker and performed by Catrin Fflur Huws, Darren O’ Connell and Jason Philpot. It will be presented as a rehearsed reading at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Tuesday 23rd January 7.45PM

Tickets for Space Oddity are available through the box office 01970 623232 or  https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/playpen-space-oddity

The final two PlayPen Get to the End projects will be presented as follows

13th February 7.45PM 2018 – Blinds written by Caroline Clark, Directed by Roger Boyle

13th March 7.45PM 2018 – Death Comes to St Michaels written by Tom O’Malley, Directed by Caroline Clark