Happy New Year!

We’re starting the New Year and decade by moving back to Bristol Old Vic. All of our upcoming meetings will be in Meeting Room 1 at the theatre complex at 36 King Street, Bristol, BS1 4DZ.

Winter Weather

With the current cold snap set to continue, please remember that if we need to cancel a meeting at short notice because of wintry weather — or for any other reason — I’ll both send an email about the cancellation and post notification of it on the Diary page of the group’s website. I’ll also tweet about any abandoned meetings through Southwest Scriptwriters’ Twitter profile. Please check your email, the group’s website or Twitter for a cancellation before setting out for a meeting.

Meeting at Bristol Old Vic

Meeting Room 1 is in the backstage area of the theatre and we need to be taken through to it together. Please gather in the downstairs bar (behind the box office) for a drink ahead of the meeting and we’ll move on when everyone’s arrived. Latecomers, report to the new reception desk to the right of the box office in the lobby to be brought through to the meeting.

Everyone attending meetings pays £1. Join us for a drink afterwards at the Famous Royal Naval Volunteer pub, 17-18 King Street, Bristol, BS1 4EE.

Tuesday, 12 January at 7.30pm: Dr Sex by Andrew Graham
Our first meeting back at Bristol Old Vic features a reading of Andy’s two act stage play: It is 1894. Dr Erasmus Delve is an unusual doctor with an unusual cure. But the disease is unhappiness. Will anyone accept his prescription?

Tuesday, 19 January at 7.30pm: The Nearly Broken House by Brian Jennings
Brian’s TV drama is set in the 1970s in the Black Mountains of Herefordshire. Travers is a single man in his late forties who’s a farmer and a builder. He’s not very good with people. He meets Zak, a young man who has just bought an old place called Twenty Acres, a disused farm on the hill. Travers helps Zak to rebuild the derelict house. Zak is struggling to come to terms with his sister’s ongoing illness. Helen, a friend of Zak’s, is struggling to help him establish his new life in the country. Travers is struggling with both of them.

Zak’s farm is hit by foot and mouth disease. ‘You want to be a farmer, be a farmer now,’ says Travers, helpfully, but not helpfully enough for Zak, who is down in the valley, standing on the bridge…

Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 2 February 2010 at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 9 February 2010 at 7.30pm: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 16 February 2010 at 7.30pm: Open Workshop


Southwest Scriptwriters in the news

We’ve generated some press coverage to mark our return to Bristol Old Vic. You can find a piece on our move back on the BBC Bristol website here, and (weather permitting) the group’s chair, Andy Graham, will appear with fellow group committee member, Adrian Harris, on BCfm’s Live and Local show from 6.30pm on Monday, 11 January. Catch the BCfm broadcast on 93.2fm or online at http://bcfm.org.uk.


The Ten-Page Challenge

We’re kick-starting 2010 with our mini competition that challenges you to write the gripping opening of your next stage, screen, radio or television script.

Book a slot for your ten pages to be read and discussed at one of our four upcoming open workshop sessions and you’ll be eligible to enter them for the judging process when an experienced script reader (still to be confirmed) will decide which of the entries s/he finds most engaging. The writer of the most compelling decade of pages wins £50 to spend at Amazon.co.uk.

The competition is open to paid-up members of Southwest Scriptwriters who workshop their entries at our meetings before 16 February 2010. Remember that the challenge is to write the start of a script that leaves its audience wanting to find out what happens next, and not to write a short script (there are three short script writing opportunities below). You can submit only one script for judging, but are welcome to book several workshop slots (time permitting) to try out a number of ideas. I’ll email everyone who has something for the Ten-Page Challenge included in a forthcoming workshop to let you know how to submit your entry at the end of our current programme.


Script Space III and Saturday Shorts deadlines approach

The submission deadlines for two rehearsed reading events are coming up before the end of January.

Script Space III will present a third annual series of script-in-hand performances at the Tobacco Factory in the spring. This time Script Space is aiming to give more writers the opportunity to see their work in front of an audience by centring on scripts with running times between 15 and 60 minutes.

Saturday Shorts will also work with professional actors and directors to present a script-in-hand performance event in the spring. The organisers are seeking 15-minute scripts for stage, screen or radio that make a big impact in a short time for presentation at the Bristol Folk House.


Dialogue: New Writing for Performance

TheatreWorks, the organisation responsible for overseeing Arts Council England’s theatre locality plans in Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire, will be running its Dialogue initiative again this year and is calling for writers based in the South West to submit between ten and 20 minutes of new writing for performance.

TheatreWorks’ professional panel will pick a selection of the most promising and interesting submissions for an evening script-in-hand performance in Salisbury Playhouse’s Salberg Studio on Thursday, 18 March.

One of the featured writers’ pieces will be chosen for supported development and performed at the Ustinov Theatre in Bath.

Dialogue is an opportunity to work with professional directors and actors to develop your writing and receive audience feedback.


Scripts for Sitcom Saturday

RealDeal Theatre is looking for six 15-minute sitcoms for Sitcom Saturday, a public rehearsed reading acted and directed professionally at Westminster Reference Library off Leicester Square in London. The company allocates directors to the selected scripts and the directors liaise with writers before casting and rehearsal. Sitcom Saturday is on 12 June and entries are welcome from writers anywhere provided they are able to liaise with directors beforehand and attend the event itself.


Room to Write at Totleigh Barton in February

Room to Write is a playwrights’ retreat at Totleigh Barton Arvon Centre in Devon from Monday, 1 to Saturday, 6 February for writers to work seriously on their stage plays. It will feature opportunities for one-to-one guidance from a writing mentor, script-in-hand readings, peer feedback and private writing time, and have a European flavour as those invited include a group of emerging Dutch playwrights.

Room to Write is being offered by a partnership of The Arvon Foundation, DIY Writing Retreats, Bristol Old Vic Writers’ Room and Amsterdam’s Theater Bellevue at the cost price of £280 for a single room or £220 for a shared twin room with all meals included in these prices — The Arvon Foundation’s normal charge for a one-to-one playwriting retreat is £595.


Pete’s One in a Million on Radio 4

Congratulations to Peter Kesterton whose third Afternoon Play for BBC Radio 4, One in a Million, aired on Wednesday, 9 December. Pete’s ingenious drama was the Radio Times‘ radio pick of the day.