And, we’re back…

After just over a year’s sabbatical, Southwest Scriptwriters returns on Tuesday, 20 June, for a fresh start in a familiar setting.

Bristol’s leading group for drama writers is meeting again at Bristol Old Vic where it began in 1994 and continued meeting until the theatre’s temporary closure in 2007. We were back at BOV for the whole of 2010, after which Watershed very generously hosted the group during refurbishments at the theatre complex. We’re delighted to be reconvening in King Street following five years on the harbourside!

Tuesday, 20 June at 8pm: Open Workshop

Tonight’s meeting is in the rehearsal room at Bristol Old Vic, BS1 4ED. Because of ongoing refurbishment work, entry is currently via the Stage Door next to The Rackhay off Queen Charlotte Street — turn left at the bottom of King Street opposite The Old Duke, and left again a short way along Queen Charlotte Street.

Email using the ‘Book a workshop slot’ form on our Contact us page to reserve time for your work to be read on Tuesday. Everyone attending pays £2.

Our restart marks a change in our meeting schedule, a new face at the helm of our workshop sessions, and a simplified subscription structure…

Monthly meetings

We’re planning to meet on a Tuesday evening once a month depending on when BOV has space available for us. We will post upcoming dates on our website’s What’s on page as well as listing them in these bulletins. It’s possible that we will need to cancel meetings at short notice occasionally, and will post here as soo as possible if we do. Please check our News page and social media feeds for cancellations before setting out for a meeting.

Briony takes the lead

Briony Pope will take on responsibility for booking work for our new monthly meetings and will lead the sessions. She has been an enthusiastic member of Southwest Scriptwriters for the past three years, and joins the group’s management committee having completed the MA Scriptwriting at Bath Spa University. Email Briony using the ‘Book a workshop slot’ form on our Contact us page.

£2 per meeting

We’ve kept our regular subs rate at £1 per meeting since 1994, but are raising it to £2 a time as part of a new, straightforward subscriptions structure. Everyone attending meetings from now on will pay £2 — and that’s it! In streamlining subs, we’ve done away with the £6 annual membership fee, which means — given that there will also be fewer meetings — that group regulars will pay less overall per year.


Southwest Scriptwriters management team changes

The group’s return is thanks in large part to the efforts and enthusiasm of Briony Pope and Stephanie Weston who, with the encouragement and support of Southwest Scriptwriters’ founder John Colborn, initiated and led preparations for our return to Bristol Old Vic.

The group’s management committee welcomes Briony, who, as we announced above, is taking on responsibilty for programming and leading meetings.

Tim Massey, who led group meetings from 1996 until last year, will continuue to look after group communication including composing this newsletter, maintaining and updating our website, and managing Southwest Scriptwriters’ social media feeds. Tim is reducing his role in the group to focus on his own writing — part of the reason for the hiatus since we lkast met in May 2016.

The management committee line-up is complemented by Adrian Harris.


Mel’s Freckles: the musical in London runout

The team behind longstanding group member Mel Lawman’s Freckles: the musical built on the success of the show’s acclaimed Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016 run with dates at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, earlier this month.

Mel is librettist and lyricist of Freckles, which features music by Matt Finch, Owain Coleman and Tom Cory.

Set in a coastal town in South Devon during the 1930s, the story centres on what happens when the townsfolk are confronted with a hard-to-place foster child.

The show’s short run in the capital piloted it for production companies placed to bring it to a wider audience.

Learn more about Freckles: the musical


Upcoming deadlines for BOV’s Open Session and Soho Theatre’s Verity Bargate Award

Playwrights have until the end of this month and early July to take up opportunities from Bristol Old Vic and Soho Theatre.

Now in its fifth year, BOV’s annual script submission window, The Open Session, is accepting scripts from South West-based writers until 5pm on Friday, 30 June.

The theatre’s Literary Department is seeking completed but unproduced plays or musicals that are ‘distinct and theatrical, with live staging at [their] heart. We’re attracted by stories that ask questions and tell us something about being alive today, pieces that in some way have relevance to our own lives and consider their audience.’ The Department seeks to discover writers with whom it has had no previous contact, and find fresh facets in the work of those with whom it has an existing relationship by reading the submitted scripts anonymously.

BOV will tailor bespoke development packages for the writers of the top five plays or musicals in this year’s round, and provide the authors of the top 20 entries will full readers’ reports.

Previous Open Session successes include Southwest Scriptwriter Ross Willis, whose play Wonder Boy was one of six finalists last year.

Bristol Old Vic The Open Session

The deadline for entring scripts for Soho Theatre’s biennial Verity Bargate Award is 12pm on Wednesday, 5 July.

Soho is seeking full-length plays (not shorter than 70 minutes) by writers with fewer than three professional production credits, and aims to discover ‘extraordinary voices and unique styles which stand out from the crowd and tell inspiring unheard stories.›

The Verity Bargate Award winner will receive £7000 for an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce his or her play.

For the first time this year, Character 7, the Award’s sponsors, will select a writer from the entrants whose work shows particular promise for TV drama. The production company will make a grant to the selected writer to develop a small number of ideas with the goal of optioning one of them for a script commission.

Verity Bargate Award