Playpen 2017-2018 was a great success and everyone involved; writers, directors, performers and audience enjoyed the experience immensely. We started the project planning to take one play through to a rehearsed reading of the full play but instead ended up taking seven plays through to readings. We are also very pleased to say that three of those plays will be moving forward to be developed further and we’ll be applying for Arts Council Wales support to develop them through a final stage of research and development and into production and tour.
So we’ve decided to do it all again and we’re pleased to announce the launch of Playpen 2018 – 2019.
We are asking for you to send us the first 20 minutes of a play along with a 1-2 page proposal describing the whole play.
The deadline is 1st August.
The first 20 minutes can be a well refined beginning or it could be a very rough first draft. We are looking for the seedlings of ideas and we want to work with you to get those first 20 minutes into better shape and to help you through every stage of the writing process to Get to the End by the end of the Playpen process.
We’ll be offering advice, support, workshops, readings all the way through.
Maybe you are one of the ones who took part last time, maybe you’ve mentioned an interest an writing, maybe being involved last time inspired you, maybe watching one of the readings or taking part in a Q&A made you think you’d like to have a go, maybe you have always had an idea you would like to write but have never quite got round to putting pen to paper.
So get writing, give it a go getting words on that page, just start writing, don’t think about it too much, just start writing and stop when you have 20 pages.
The first set of readings PlayPen Beginnings Cama’rDdrama will be taking place during the week commencing the 15th October and we are very excited to say venues will include National Library Wales and Ceredigion Museum and of course Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
We are also very pleased to say that Catrin Fflur Huws will be available to support any writers writing in Welsh.
A few tips from you as you think about your ideas and move forward to put pen to blank paper or type onto that blank screen!
- Write from the heart. It doesn’t matter if the dialogue is rough, if the structure is loose, if the style isn’t clear. If a writer shows their heart, it will be stronger piece of writing for it and we can show you how to improve your characters, write better dialogue, improve the structure and develop the style
- Don’t write what you think you should be writing write what you WANT to write. Writing a play takes a long time, rewriting takes even longer. You will be with this idea for a long time. If you are only writing it because you think it’s topical, or you think it’s what people want to watch then it will show, it will lack heart. Write about those things that you’re passionate about, write about the things that make you angry, write about the things that endlessly fascinate you.
- Keep it simple. It’s all well and good when you’re a commissioned writer writing for the National Theatre or the Royal Exchange of the Sherman to think huge casts and rolling sets but the reality of theatre is budgets are very low, we can’t afford large complex sets, a cast of 4 actors is the most likely option in touring theatre. Most of all though it’s really difficult to write plays with complex set changes and lots of characters. Why make it difficult for yourself? PlayPen is about a supportive environment in which to finish your play. Keeping it simple will make that easier for yourself. Focus on a great story well told with strong characters.
- This is theatre, it’s not radio, television or film. What about your idea means that telling it as a play in a theatre space makes it stronger. Theatre is about a very direct relationship with an audience, it’s about an (almost) captive audience, it’s about emotional engagement with the audience within the most direct relationship you can have with an audience for your writing. Make the most of all those things in your idea.
There are no restrictions on subject matter, style or cast size.
The submission should include the first 20 minutes of a full length play (approximately 20 pages) and a 1-2 page proposal of the whole play. Writers are welcome to submit more than one idea.
If you would like any advice or would like to talk through an idea then please do feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also looking for people to be involved in the project as performers and directors so if you are interested in being involved then please do get in contact.