Join us to wind up 2017 at our December session in Bristol Old Vic’s Rehearsal Room next Tuesday, 12 December.

Enter the theatre complex by the Stage Door entrance off Queen Charlotte Street, BS1 4HJ, sign in, and go straight to the Rehearsal Room on the second floor — ask the Stage Door staff to direct you to the meeting if you don’t know the way. A reminder that workplace rules apply in the Rehearsal Room, so no alcohol, please. Everyone attending a meeting pays £2.

Tuesday, 12 December at 8pm: Open Workshop

Tonight’s meeting features Alexandra Randall’s screenplay Assent, which centres on a married man with undiagnosed ephebophilia — a sexual attraction to adolescents. It explores the emotional and interpersonal consequences of his falling in love with a 15-year-old boy who seems to return his affections.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 at 8pm: ‘What is that director doing with my script?’

Filmmaker Keith Wilhelm Kopp kicks off 2018 for us with a 60-minute workshop exploring what a director does with a script in development and production, and why it changes from the screenwriter’s original vision.

Keith has directed more than 20 short films that have been screened at festivals around the world. Since moving from writing his own scripts to directing other writers’ work, he has developed an interest in the process of creative collaboration, and believes that a key to filmmaking success is for everyone involved to have a clear understanding of the work of the rest of the production team — including writers knowing why a director wields his or her red pen.

Using examples from his own work, Keith will discuss how a director approaches a script, the workflow (the way in which a director reads a script, lines it during production to record the coverage he or she has shot, decides whether or not to storyboard, and collects references), and look at how writers and directors can build healthy relationships. He will also explore the need for writers to make films of their own.

Keith encourages participants to contribute examples from their own experience, and hopes to learn from this feedback.


John steps down

John Colborn, Southwest Scriptwriters’ founder and only committee member to have served since the group’s outset, has decided to step down after 23 years on the team.

John started Southwest Scriptwriters in 1994 having enjoyed the final meetings of its predecessor, Bristol Playwrights’ Company. He organised programmes and compiled and wrote the group’s newsletter — composing the majority of the newsletters in our archive until the mid 2000s — and helped grow the group by welcoming members at weekly meetings. He also became the go-to reader of stage directions at workshop sessions.

John was the prime mover behind more ambitious projects as the group became better established. He made several successful grant applications to Arts Council England that allowed us to mount an annual New Writing Festival at Bristol Old Vic Studio (1998-2001), Tobacco Factory Theatre (2002, 2003 and 2005), and Alma Tavern Theatre (2004). His good offices as treasurer enabled us to sustain the Festival for eight years despite not receiving grant support for every event. John’s scripts impressed our independent panels of judges to win inclusion in our 2002 and 2004 Festivals, and his educational play, Canute2, and radio comedy-drama, A Pint on the House, featured in those years’ showcases.

A Pint on the House by John Colborn
Peter Townsend and Simon Winkler in A Pint On the House by John Colborn, directed by Mark Smalley, Southwest Scriptwriters New Writing Festival, Alma Tavern Theatre, Bristol, 8 July 2004.

John also succeeded in winning funding for our co-production with Bristol Old Vic of Air Guitar by Peter Kesterton in early 2006 — for which he led the project as producer — and for Southwest Shorts, our short filmmaking initiative, later the same year.

A less frequent face at meetings from 2004 when he embarked on a unique global circumnavigation — a memoir of which, Around the World with an Overnight Bag, he published in 2012 — John’s passion for designing and building innovative homes then took him to Cornwall in 2006 to construct two houses on a challenging sea-facing hillside site. While this work kept him away from Bristol for much of the time, John continued to contribute to reviewing and managing group events at committee meetings.

Earlier this year, John played a key part in reviving Southwest Scriptwriters following its year-long sabbatical, but, since he is now based in Stroud, he feels he needs to step down from the committee.

Southwest Scriptwriters would not exist without John’s initiative, and his efforts have been at the heart of the majority of its major achievements. This makes him a sad loss to the management team, but we look forward to seeing him at the occasional meeting!


Scott steps up

We’re very pleased to announce that Scott Wilson has agreed to join the group’s committee.

Scott joined Southwest Scriptwriters in 2015, and has contributed regularly to our workshop sessions since then — most recently airing his festive fantasy screenplay Stocking Fillers at our September meeting.

Scott graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class BA(Hons) in English Literature with Creative Writing in 2014. At university he was Vice President of The Idle Playthings improv and sketch comedy company for which he wrote, produced and performed in shows in Bath, Bristol and on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Since graduating he has worked with fellow BSU graduates in the Up the Antics comedy troupe, which has ‘performed in and hosted a variety of live performances all over the country, including Bath Comedy Festival, the Southampton Comedy Fringe, and in various venues across London and Bristol.’

Scott’s skills and experience make him a very welcome addition to the group committee!

He joins a strong quintet at the helm. The mandatory positions are now filled by Briony Pope as chair, Tim Massey as treasurer, and Stephanie Weston as secretary, with Adrian Harris and Scott completing the line-up.

Briony chairs both regular group sessions and committee meetings, and schedules material for workshops, while Tim continues to look after the group’s online presence. All committee members will lead and advise on group activities as agreed by the team.


Tim X Atack takes Bruntwood

Huge congratulations to former group member Tim X Atack whose play Heartworm won this year’s Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting, the UK’s biggest national competition for playwrights.

Tim wins a guaranteed co-oproduction by Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre (at which the competition is based) and London’s Royal Court Theatre plus the top prize of £16000.

In a double Bruntwood success for local writers, Bristol Old Vic’s former Literary Producer Sharon Clark — who spoke at a group meeting in October 2009 — received one of three Judges’ Awards of £8000 each for her play, Plow.