We’ve a packed programme in store for the four meetings before our long summer break. All of them are happening in Watershed 1 at Watershed, 1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX. Ask at the box office if you need directions to a meeting. Everyone attending pays £1.

Tuesday, 21 June at 7.30pm: Aficionados by Peter Kesterton

In Pete’s new play, Leanne Turner, a celebrity model, is recovering from an overdose in hospital. Outside, Roman, a paparazzi photographer, is desperate for a shot that will save his flagging career. Kellie, one of Leanne’s fans shows up — mutual animosity eventually gives way to an increasingly bizarre relationship with shocking consequences.

Tuesday, 28 June at 7.30pm: I Remember Green by Heather Lister

Tonight is the first of three meetings focusing on plays shortlisted for production in Theatre West’s Picture This season at the Alma Tavern Theatre this autumn.

In I Remember Green, Sam is blinded as a child in an accident while in the care of his father. His parents’ marriage splinters, which is the real tragedy of his young life.

Now the family is reunited briefly as Sam prepares to leave home. Can they reach an understanding when everyone see the past in different ways?

Tuesday, 5 July at 7.30pm: The Climbers by William House

William’s absurdist play follows a couple’s progress up the property ladder as they move from convivial garden flat to a bleak and lonely penthouse. As they rise, they discover horribly and too late the futility of chasing the consumerist dream.

Tonight we’re also featuring Bruce Fellows’ short stage script, Romcom.

Tuesday, 12 July at 7.30pm: The Darkroom by Steve Lambert

England 1949. A couple — emotionally scarred by the war — hope the visit of an old friend to their isolated cottage can help save their crumbling marriage. But the discovery of an old box — marked ‘to be buried in case of invasion’ — unearths repressed emotions and hidden motives.

39 pitch for Picture This shortlist

39 writers — including 15 Southwest Scriptwriters — submitted treatments and script extracts inspired by vintage photographs provided by Theatre West to generate one-act plays for its autumn season at the Alma Tavern Theatre.
Local actors read all 39 ten-minute sample scripts for Theatre West’s artistic directors, panels drawn from the theatre community and public audiences in a hectic Sunday and bank holiday Monday at the Alma at the end of May. Audience votes and feedback from the actors and panelists help2ed Theatre West’s Alison Comley and Ann Stiddard pick a long list of 15 potential Picture This plays, from which they selected nine to be written in full and developed before the final selection of five for production this autumn.
The shortlist is as follows:
Raising Kamila by Edson Burton
Three Women by Katriel Costello
Dorian’s Second Life by Penny Gunter
The Climbers by William House
You’re Going to Miss Me When I’m Gone by James Killick
Semiprecious Eggshells by Marietta Kirkbride
The Darkroom by Steve Lambert
I Remember Green by Heather Lister
Donkey Talent by Mark Shand
Special congratulations to group members Heather, Steve and William on making it to the shortlist. As you can see above, we’ve scheduled readings of their Picture This plays in our forthcoming programme when you can feedback on their work in progress and help them make the final line-up!

Andy’s double spring success

Group chair, Andy Graham, scored a couple of scriptwriting successes this spring.
His play Solitary Vice, focusing on the sexual mores of the Victorian era — workshopped with the group in January and October last year — was in the top 30 submissions from a field of 900 entries for Sohuo Theatre’s Verity Bargate Award. Nina Steiger, Soho’s Associate Director, wrote that Andy’s play was ‘widely praised by our readers. We loved the subject, laughed out loud many times and thought that [Andy] handled the period well.’
Following his success in placing so highly in a national contest, TheatreWorks chose part of Andy’s political drama Trust Me for its South West-wide Dialogue showcase event at Salisbury Playhouse on 11 May, presenting the extract as a script-in-hand performance. Andy’s inclusion in Dialogue this year means that group members have secured slots in each event to date, with work by Katherine Mitchell featured last year and Steve Lambert in 2009.

More on-stage action for group members

Water’s Not So Thick at the Rondo Theatre in Bath — reported in the previous edition of this newsletter — two more group members’ work has seen/is seeing the stage this month.

Ad Hoc Theatre Company produced Steve Lambert’s comedy Sleep With Me — first staged by Max Theatre at Bristol’s Trinity Centre in 2009 — in a triple bill with Lady Bracknell’s Confinement by Paul Doust and Her Big Chance by Alan Bennett at The Playhouse, Cheltenham, last Thursday to Saturday, 16 to 18 June.

Last week also saw the opening of Carole Boyer’s Rorschach in Russia at the Pentameters Theatre in Hampstead. Exploring events that drove Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach — creator of the inkblot test — out of Russia in 1914, Carole’s play continues at 8pm on Tuesday to Saturday with an earlier show at 5pm on Sunday until 3 July.


SWNWN relaunches at Arnolfini

Theatre Bristol is supporting the relaunch of the South West New Writing Network (SWNWN) with an Open Space event at Arnolfini in Bristol on 27 June.

Founded by Writernet in 2004 to connect everyone with an interest in new writing for the theatre in the South West, the SWNWN’s steering group plans to reinvigorate the Network under the proposed administration of local playwright and dramaturg, David Lane, in office space provided by Theatre Bristol — dependent on ‘a substantial funding application to the Arts Council to help support the network and its continued coordination.’

The Open Space event will inform the Network’s regeneration plan by asking those attending, ‘How can the region’s network for new writing best serve its members and the South West in the next three years?’

Open Space is a discussion strategy wherein participants respond to the umbrella question by suggesting topics for discussion. Those interested in the various topics talk about them in groups (with the option to move freely between groups) and the points raised are recorded in writing for future reflection with the outcomes available to everyone.