The weather outside is frightful…

With the current cold snap set to continue and further snowfall forecast this Tuesday, 22 January, we’re postponing the start of our next season of meetings until next Tuesday, 29 January.

If the weather continues to cause travel disruption and it seems likely that few members will attend a meeting, we’ll try to make an early decision to call it off. I’ll send you an email about the cancellation, and post updates on our Facebook page and Twitter feed — you can see posts without signing up for either social media site.

Do check for cancellations before heading out to a meeting!


2013 now starts for Southwest Scriptwriters (weather permitting) on Tuesday, 29 January, in W1 at Watershed, 1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX, where all of the following meetings are happening — ask at Watershed’s box office if you need directions. Everyone attending meetings pays £1.

Find a list of the dates and locations of our upcoming events on our website’s What’s On page.

Tuesday, 22 January: *** No meeting ***

We’ve called off tonight’s meeting because of continuing severe weather.

Tuesday, 29 January at 7.30pm: The Fifties Lounge by Heather Lister

Ben and Freddie (Winifred) have been catapulted back to the 1950s in a pilot scheme that tries to reunite elderly care home residents with their lost youth. Everything around them tells them it’s 1959, but (sometimes) they’re not so sure. A play about memory, longing, and finding your way home.

Tuesday, 5 February at 7.30pm: Bastard Son by Simon Greely

Tonight’s meeting features a reading of Simon’s new family drama.

Tuesday, 12 February at 7.30pm: Follow the Colours by Lucienne Boyce

In Lucienne’s play set in Bristol during the militant suffrage campaign, Esther Grove, a legal secretary and Labour Party activist, gives up her job, home and relationship to join the women’s cause. But will the cause return her loyalty?

Tuesday, 19 February at 7.30pm: Open Workshop
Tuesday, 26 February at 7.30pm: Open Workshop


Andy steps down

We’re sorry to announce that Andy Graham has stepped down as Chair of Southwest Scriptwriters and from its management committee after more than 15 years in the team.

Andy joined the committee as Chair in September 1997, and helped build the group from its fledgling days in the Coopers’ Loft at Bristol Old Vic. He made significant contributions to our early projects giving members chances to present their work to a wider audience, working hard on publicity and competition administration for our annual New Writing Festival, which we staged from 1998 until 2005. Andy’s plays Orgasm Addict and Danger Men won places in our 1999 and 2001 Festivals.

Andy is an accomplished scriptwriting tutor whose experience includes teaching continuing education screenwriting courses at the University of Bath and on undergraduate programmes at Bath Spa University. He has shared his teaching expertise on numerous occasions during his time as Chair of Southwest Scriptwriters, leading popular practical sessions on drama writing techniques, and, at committee level, helping to develop our open workshop programme with feedback and suggestions on how to improve this.

Andy’s growing commitments mean that he needs to let go of some of his responsibilities, and, having chaired Southwest Scriptwriters for a decade and a half, he feels it’s time to focus his energies elsewhere. Andy still plans to attend meetings regularly, and we look forward to his remaining a familiar face in the group!

Southwest Scriptwriters’ executive team now comprises John Colborn (Founder/Treasurer), Adrian Harris, William House, Tim Massey (Artistic Director) and Stephanie Weston.


Baskervilles a hit at Brass Works

Many thanks to all of you who came to see Bruce Fellows’ quirky adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic The Mystery of the Hound of the Baskervilles at Brass Works Theatre in Warmley over the Christmas and New Year holiday.

The show was a success, attracting a total audience of more than 500 over its 16 performances. Offstage dramas including a major cast change only three days ahead of opening night, and a power cut just before the performance on the Friday after Christmas, didn’t dog Hound‘s progress, and the production helped further establish Brass Works as South Gloucestershire’s first and only professional theatre.

Adrian Harris, Brass Works Theatre’s Artistic Director (and Southwest Scriptwriters committee member), is planning further productions this year, and we’ll bring you news of these when they’re programmed.

Tune-in to Casualty on BBC One on Saturday, 9 February, to catch Adrian’s latest appearance as pedantic paramedic Norman Burnton. Adrian’s on screen again in six more episodes of the primetime medical drama’s current run, and we’ll let you know the transmission dates in future e-bulletins.


31 January closing for Script Space and opening for Bruntwood

As reported in the December edition of our e-bulletin, Tobacco Factory Theatre is now accepting submissions for Script Space, its annual search for writing talent.

Now in its sixth year, Script Space is a chance for writers to build a relationship with TFT, which provides support for those selected depending on their writing experience. The theatre doesn’t want to hear from playwrights interested only in having their work produced, but from those keen to build on their skills and ideas in association with the Script Space team.

The brief for the initiative is open to dramatic concepts of all kinds: ‘Our new writing competition comes from the same place as our programme. We want to be surprised, challenged and inspired, in the same way that we want to surprise, challenge and inspire our audience.’

As TFT’s opportunity closes, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, launches the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.

The Bruntwood Prize is the nation’s biggest playwriting competition, which began in 2005 and takes place every two years. It’s open to all playwrights aged 16 and over resident in the UK and Ireland.

This year’s top entries will scoop the first prize of £16000 plus an offer of a year’s attachment to the Royal Exchange Theatre, and three Judges’ Awards of £8000 each. Such rich pickings attract fierce competition, with 2188 scripts entered for the Prize in 2011. (Southwest Scriptwriters’ outgoing Chair, Andy Graham, made the contest’s long list two years ago with his play Trust Me.)

Like Script Space, the Bruntwood Prize is open to work of all kinds, aiming ‘to accept as wide a range of scripts as possible. There are no restrictions on subject matter, style or the way you choose to write.’ Your play does need to be original, unperformed and unproduced, over an hour (more than 11000 words) in playing time, and available for production to be eligible to enter.

The Bruntwood Prize will start accepting entries via its website (see below) on 31 January, and you have until 3 June to submit no more than one script. A panel of judges chaired by Dame Jenni Murray selects the scripts anonymously, and you will need to make your submission using a pseudonym. Entry is free.

The Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting


Brian Weaving is the latest group member to launch a prose venture with the publication of his thriller, Death on Demand:

‘With the new Euthanasia Act, England has joined other countries that legally permit “Death on Demand” as the media have dubbed it. The Hardwick Clinic, near Bath, is one of the leaders in providing this service. It seems to do an excellent job. However, despite all the government safeguards, money is now involved for staff and owners, and that means some individuals will look for loopholes to make more. And, when they find them, people will die sooner than they wished. That is unless someone stops them. But, by doing so, they will have to put their own lives at risk.’

Intrigued? Get Death on Demand from Amazon.

Brian’s novel follows hard on the heels of Bruce Fellows’ That Quiet Earth and John Colborn’s travelogue Around the World with an Overnight Bag both also published last year.


Beat the January blues with Instant Wit at the Brewery

Warm your cockles at the end of this arctic month with some improvised comedy from Instant Wit, co-run by group committee member Stephanie Weston, at the Brewery Theatre in Southville.

As always ‘there’ll be sketches, songs and general silliness — all based on audience suggestions’, and you can even cop some complimentary custard for taking part!

The made-up-on-the-spot mayhem kicks off at the Brewery at 7.30pm on Sunday, 27 January.

Instant Wit


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