Ashley Pharoah talks to Southwest Scriptwriters, Famous Royal Navy Volunteer, Bristol, 29 April 2008

Our next season of six meetings starts on Tuesday, 22 April. All meetings take place in the function room upstairs at the Famous Royal Naval Volunteer pub, 17-18 King Street, BS1 4EE. Ask at the bar when buying a drink if you need directions to the meeting. Everyone attending meetings pays £1. You can find an up-to-date list of the dates, times and locations of our forthcoming programme on the Diary page of our website.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008 at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 29 April 2008 at 7.30pm: Meet Ashley Pharoah
Ashley Pharoah is a prolific TV writer best known for co-creating the hit BBC One series Life on Mars and its recent follow-up Ashes to Ashes. He also created ITV’s Wild at Heart (set in Bristol), Down to Earth and Where the Heart Is, and adapted Tom Brown’s Schooldays for a TV movie starring Stephen Fry. Ashley has also written for EastEnders, Casualty, Hustle and Silent Witness. Come along tonight and find out how Ashley built his career as one of the UK’s leading TV writers. [A moment from this meeting is pictured above.]

Tuesday, 6 May 2008 at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 13 May 2008 at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 27 May 2008 at 7.30pm: Open Workshop


Scripts @ Starbucks
We’re launching Scripts @ Starbucks upstairs at the Broadmead Arcade branch of the coffee shop (opposite Boots) from 23 to 25 July. The programme of rehearsed readings will feature as many scripts as possible by group members with different work every night.

We’re planning to ‘mix and match’ scripts for the three two-hour shows, allowing plenty of scope for the kind of work we present. You’re invited to submit a script, which can be for stage, screen, radio or television and might be anything from a short film to a full-length stage play, although it shouldn’t be longer than 90 minutes. Please bear in mind that the rehearsed readings will be performed by a cast of four actors and a narrator with the actors doubling parts for larger cast sizes. If your work is chosen for Scripts @ Starbucks, you will need to provide five copies of your script for your rehearsed reading. We will also expect the featured writers to help with attracting an audience for the event.

Scripts @ Starbucks has no budget and the timescale for the project is short. For these reasons, scripts will be chosen by the group’s executive and the project’s organising team. We will not be able to give detailed, individual feedback on submissions as we’ve done in the past and we can’t return your script. There’s a very good chance that there will be more Scripts @ Starbucks if this summer’s event is a success and so there may well be chances for writers who don’t make it this time to feature in future.

We’ll confirm the submission deadline in the next newsletter, but it will be at the end of June, giving you about two months to finish your script — good luck and get writing!


Boil and Bubble Theatre Company Writing in the Margins workshops
Boil and Bubble Theatre Company, which works exclusively with people over the age of 50, is holding a series of workshops to launch its contribution to Theatre West’s Writing in the Margins season. Theatre West’s autumn programme at the Alma Tavern Theatre in Clifton will feature eight 15-minute scripts (for up to three actors) on the theme of Marginalisation by writers who have not previously had work produced professionally. Boil and Bubble’s workshops are designed to encourage older people to have a go at writing a short stage play for the Writing in the Margins season.

The four workshops are taking place at the Bristol Folk House from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Tuesday, 22 and Tuesday, 29 April, and from 2.30pm to 5.30pm at St Werburgh’s Community Centre on Saturday, 3 and Sunday, 11 May. The charge for each workshop is £2.50.


The Script Space presents Glasshouse by Peter Kesterton
The Script Space presents a rehearsed reading of Peter Kesterton’s new play, Glasshouse, at the Tobacco Factory at 1.30pm next Sunday, 27 April.

Research student Jess Carpenter is determined to get to the top in the high-profile world of climate science. She is sure she can rely on Berry, her supervisor and mentor, to help get her there. But when sex, science and politics collide, she wonders whose side he is really on.


Applications sought for BBC Drama Writers Academy
The BBC is inviting applications for its Drama Writers Academy course starting in September.

The Academy is the only course in the world that guarantees writers the chance to work on prime-time television. Established by BBC Controller of Drama Production, John Yorke, its aim is to create a pool of writing talent to work on some of BBC One’s best-loved and most popular shows — EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City and Doctors.

Students that secure a place will enjoy masterclasses from leading TV writers including Ashley Pharoah (speaking at Southwest Scriptwriters on 29 April — see above) and Tony McHale (Holby City, Silent Witness — a previous guest speaker at the group). Alongside training on all aspects of drama production from editing to scheduling, students will receive direct writing experience on continuing drama, with the aim of transmitting their finished scripts on BBC One.

Since its inauguration three years ago, 22 out of 24 graduates have gone on to gain full-time work in writing for TV, with nine of the graduates now established as core writers on continuing drama shows.

Creativity, talent and a passion for telling stories are essential criteria for those applying. Applicants must have had at least one professional commission in television, theatre, radio or film.

The closing date for applications is Monday, 12 May.


The Bruntwood Playwriting Competition
The Bruntwood Playwriting Competition is a unique opportunity for anyone, aged 18 or over, to enter their original, full-length stage play in a competition which aims to reward the best plays by writers across the country.

The competition is open to anyone, at any level of writing experience, living in the UK and Ireland. It is judged anonymously so that the winning scripts are chosen based on their quality and not on writers’ established reputations.

The Bruntwood Playwriting Competition is one of the world’s richest writing contests with first, second and third prizes of £15000, £10000 and £7500 respectively, and a special Bruntwood prize of £5000 also to be awarded. The winning entries will also be produced and the scripts published by Nick Hern Books.

You can find full details of the competition at The closing date for entries is 13 June.