The Beginning of Getting to the End

Back in 2016 two members of the Writing for Performance Group, Roger Boyle and Tom O’Malley said they wanted to have a go at writing a full-length play. The various scratch events we held like Crash Test had left them fairly confident with short pieces but the task of competing a full length play still felt a little too big for them without help. So we created Playpen Beginnings so that we could allow as many writers as possible a chance to take part. We placed a call for submissions of the first twenty minutes of a full-length play and devised a series of three day long workshops covering all the basics needed to write a full length play including character development, style, structure. We held a two-day event to present the selected eight beginnings of plays and opened them to an audience in March. We planned to select one piece to be presented a full length rehearsed reading but during those two nights we discovered that we had eight plays with amazing potential. Also that everyone involved in presenting the pieces; actors and some directors trying their hand at directing for the first time had enjoyed the project so much it seemed that we had only one choice.

PlayPen Get to the End is the result – the mammoth task of presenting seven plays as full length rehearsed readings over the next eight months – presenting one a month more or less. The range of styles and subjects in the plays is quite breath taking and we are very proud of many things in this project. Each writer involved in the project has been a huge journey of learning and challenged themselves at every step of writing. Katrina Hone began the project as a complete beginner to scriptwriting and now has a full length play with huge potential Space Oddity which explores mental health, humanity and space exploration. James Baker an experienced performance artist/stand-up comedian who regularly writes one-man shows has created a challenging work about mental health which smashes through styles and theatre.  Rachel McAdam a very experienced screen writer has created a theatre piece in which she has pushed herself to explore theatrical conventions and created two amazing roles for actors. Roger Boyle has created a beautiful play which presents the challenge of two timelines working seamlessly to explore a daughter’s grief, Caroline Clark has created a lovely piece of theatre which delves into family secrets and Tom O’Malley has met the huge challenge he set himself of writing a murder mystery which 13 characters with the mastery of a far more experienced writer. Last but not least Catrin Fflur Huws, the writer of To Kill a Machine has achieved something which has alluded her for many years now – she has finished her second full length play and it is an astonishing piece of writing. We are very proud that this “small” project has achieved so much.

But that’s not all – as we began the project we asked if anyone wanted to try their hand at directing. One of those who came forward was Denise Williams, who has in the space of a year made the journey from a very nervous director on PlayPen Beginnings to directing In Mother’s Footsteps. Watching rehearsals the nerves of her first attempt are nowhere to be seen and she handles a rehearsal room with the skills of an extremely confident and experienced director. Catrin Fflur Huws decided to try her hand at directing too and has worked with James Baker’s play in a way which has challenged and pushed him as a writer and there is no doubt that the play has been fundamentally impacted by her directorial ideas. Not only has the project created new plays and new writers but new directors too.

We are incredibly lucky to have such a wealth of talented community actors who are willing to help us present these readings. But they too have enjoyed the experience, have enjoyed bringing characters to life for the first time. They have embraced and explored the journey with the writers of being there at the very beginning of the creation of a play and helping the writers Get to the End. They have been an integral part of this incredible achievement of getting eight new full-length plays written.

Now we need your help because without an audience a play is fairly pointless. This is a great opportunity to see behind the curtain of theatre creation and see plays at their earliest, vulnerable, fragile point. Still not a final play, still trying to be the best plays that they can be.

Each play will be presented a rehearsed reading with a Q&A to follow. Tickets £5 per show. The schedule is as follows:

The schedule for PlayPen is

19th September  2017 7.45PM
In Mother’s Footsteps, Written by Roger Boyle, Directed by Denise Williams


17th October 2017 7.45PM
An as yet untitled play about two people in an underground bunker
Written by James Baker, Directed by Catrin Fflur Williams

14th November 2017 7.45PM
Fat Lotta Good
Written by Rachel McAdam, Directed by Patrick Kavanagh

5th December 2017 7.45PM
Just Things
written by Catrin Fflur Huws, Directed by Sian Taylor

The following plays will be presented in 2018
23rd January 7.45PM 2018
Space Oddity
written by Katharina Hone, Directed by James Baker

13th February 7.45PM 2018
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

PlayPen Get to the End is an open, inclusive and ongoing project and if you are interested in being involved in this or future PlayPen projects as either writer, director, actor or producer get in contact


Searching for new plays: PlayPen


Scriptography Productions is working with Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Writing for Performance Group on the PlayPen project throughout 2017.

The project will allow writers to submit the first twenty minutes of play by 6th January. The plays will be presented to audiences on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th March. Audience will then choose the play or plays to move through for development. The chosen play will be presented in the Autumn programme at the Arts Centre as a pilot project in development. Additional writers may also be selected for support in developing the start of plays into full length plays.

Thursday 16th March and Friday 17th March

Do you have an idea for a play? Do you have a half-written play sitting in a drawer? If you do then Playpen is for you.

Playpen is an opportunity for writers to have their plays supported through development and writing into a full length play. The project is developed by Scriptography Productions and Aberystwyth Arts Centre working with the Writing for Performance Group. The project is open to all writers resident in Ceredigion – if you are interested in submitting a play then send the first twenty minutes of the play to by 6th January 2017.

On the 16th and 17th March the selected short plays will be presented and the audience will be asked to vote on which they think should be developed further. With no restrictions on theme, subject or style these evenings promise to offer two evenings of diverse and highly entertaining theatre.

As part of Playpen there will be three day-long workshops aimed to develop the skills needed to write a full length play including developing characters, structure, writing dialogue and rewriting. There will also be a workshop session offering the chance for writers to see how a director and actors develop a play from the very first rehearsal. Workshops will be free to participating writers.

PlayPen Workshops

3 day long courses

Saturday 8th April 10.30 – 4.30
Saturday 13th May 10.30 – 4.30
Saturday 17th June 10.30-4.30

£15 (£13) each – all three courses £30 (£28)

Saturday 8th April 10.30 – 4.30
Course 1: Developing an idea and Building Characters
Practical Exercises to take the beginnings of an idea and develop it into the material to make a full length narrative play including theme, style and creating characters.

Saturday 13th May 10.30 – 4.30
Course 2: Developing a structure
Exploring various techniques to develop structure for a narrative play including building from idea, characterisation and style and how to use various structure techniques including classic story structure, film and television structure.

Saturday 13th May 10.30 – 4.30
Course 3: Rewriting – making your play a great play
Exploring techniques to take your play from page to stage and improve dialogue, structure and style.
All courses taught by Sandra Bendelow who is a writer and theatre producer. She is currently on seed commission with National Theatre Wales and has a play in development for Dirty Protest Theatre. Her play ‘One Hour and Forty Five Minutes’ was performed at Royal Court Theatre for Dirty Protest Theatre and ‘Poo Karma and Arctic Exploration’ was performed at Wales Millennium Centre by Agent 160. She also teaches scriptwriting courses for Aberystwyth University School of Education and Lifelong Learning.


Rules for submitted plays

Submissions should be the first twenty minutes of a full length play.

Plays should be correctly formatted. Though theatre format is not as restricted as television and film there is a standard format which creates a script which is easier for actors to read which allows dialogue and stage directions to be differentiated easily. This is a suggested format to use

There are no restrictions on theme, subject or style

There are no restrictions on cast size.

All writers must be resident in Ceredigion and able to attend workshops and development sessions.

Please send all scripts to

The deadline is 6th January 2017.


Terms and Conditions
All copyright remains with the writer.

There is no fee payable for scripts chosen , the project is intended as a development project for writers offering writers the chance to develop their skills in a supportive environment.

Crash Test Leaves Gadael Dail

CRASH TEST oers writers and performers the chance to share work in development in a supportive environment. It includes work from Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Writing for Performance Group along with other writing groups and individuals from Aberystwyth and invited guests. Previous scratch nights have included comedy sketches, cabaret, plays, short film scripts, storytelling, poetry, performance art and stand-up comedy.

The work this time deals with a wide range of themes, including, the roots of forced migration, family relationships, dystopian futures, bereavement, mothers, sons, daughters and ghosts!  They are from the pens of local writers, Sandra Bendelow, Roger Boyle, Carmel George, Catrin Fflur Huws, Tom O’Malley and Caroline Stockford .

The evening  takes the form of rehearsed readings  Directed by  Richard Hogger and  performed by local actors, including Patrick Kavanagh, Milly Jackdaw, Sue Jenkins,  Sian Taylor and Denise Williams – all of whom bring a wealth of acting experience to the task.

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.  It is  curated by  the writer and producer Sandra Bendelow from Scriptography Productions.

Sandra Bendelow comments:

Crash Test allows writers and performers to try out new ideas, assisted by skilled direction and performed by talented local performers.  It is a stimulating way of developing new work. 

After the readings we invite the audience to give writers and performers feedback as part of what we hope will be an entertaining, stimulating and challenging evening for all.’

Noson sgratch yw Crash Test sydd yn cynnig cyfle i awduron a pherfformwyr i rannu gwaith ar waith mewn amgylchedd ddiogel. Mae’n cynnwys gwaith gan Grwp Sgwennu Llwyfan Canolfan y Celfyddydau Aberystwyth, ynghyd a grwpiau ac unigolion eraill o Aberystwyth, a gwahoddedigion. 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.

Mae’r gwaith, gan awduron lleol Sandra Bendelow, Roger Boyle, Carmel George, Catrin Fflur Huws, Tom O Malley a Caroline Stockford, yn ymdrin ag ystod eang o themau, gan gynnwys gwreiddiau ymdudo gorfodedig, perthnasau teuluol, dyfodol brawychus, colled, mamau, meibion, merched a bwganod.

Y mae’r noson sgratch hon yn cynnwys gwaith gan Sandra Bendelow, Roger Boyle Catrin Fflur Huws, Carmel George, Tom O Malley a Caroline Stockford.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre, 7.45pm, Thursday 10th November 2016; tickets: £3 to £5 available at:   or tel:  01970 623 232

Canolfan y Celfyddydau 7.45YH Iau 10 Tachwedd 2016