We’re meeting at Watershed on every Tuesday evening in May and get off to a flying start with our first two workshops already booked. If you’re busy writing the first ten pages of your play for Theatre West’s Picture This contest, book a slot for your script extract to be read at our meetings on 17 and (for a last-minute polish) 24 May.

All of the following meetings will be in Waterside 1, Watershed, 1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX. Ask at the box office if you need directions to the meeting. Everyone attending pays £1. Don’t forget that you can find the date and time of our next meeting in the panel on the right below the slideshow on our website’s home page and a list of our upcoming events on the site’s Diary page.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011 at 7.30pm: Whose Truth is Truth? by Jaelith Mahoney

A man resident in a mental institution flits between his fantasy world in which he is a detective hunting the murderer of a young woman, and the real world where he awaits the next truth-obscuring injection.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011 at 7.30pm: Love Hearts by Joanna Thirlwall

This evening we’re reading the first part of Jo’s screenplay that she’s rewritten using feedback on an earlier draft from a group meeting last November: Middle-aged, her marriage in crisis, Olivia cuts and runs. A chance encounter leads her and rock star, Ed, to ‘Love Hearts’ where she cures his writer’s blcok and he makes her live again. But what about the age gap? And when her family needs her, will she go?

Tuesday, 17 May at 7.30pm: Open Workshop
Tuesday, 24 May at 7.30pm: Open Workshop
Tuesday, 31 May at 7.30pm: Open Workshop


Picture This: Autumn 2011 at the Alma

Thanks to all 16 of you taking part in Picture This, Theatre West’s commissioning process for plays for its autumn season at the Alma Tavern Theatre this year.

Nine group members were at the project’s packed launch event (pictured above) at the pub in Clifton on Wednesday, 13 April, at which writers drew lots for vintage photographs to inspire them to write one-act plays for the season.

Those taking part — sorry, it’s too late to join the process if you’re not already participating — are now writing the first ten pages of one-act plays that take the old pictures as their starting points. A pool of actors will read the ten-page beginnings at public events on 28, 29 and 30 May after which Theatre West will pick eight of the writers to complete and develop their scripts. Following a further selection process in late July, the company will decide on the final five plays for its autumn season.

We’d like to help you if you’re taking part in Picture This by offering feedback on your initial ten pages at our meetings before the submission deadline for these on 25 May — we’ll also be very keen to help any of you who make it into the final eight develop your plays so that you secure a slot in the season!


Southwest Scriptwriters in Ustinov play dash

Group members Adrian Harris and Gill Kirk are two of six writers taking part in the 24 Hour Plays show at Bath’s Ustinov Theatre on Saturday, 28 May.

The six writers will meet with six directors and a team of actors for the first time on Friday evening, 27 May, and by Saturday night they will have written, directed, rehearsed and performed six new plays.


Gill’s spring into summer triptych

As well as her 24 Hour Plays outing, Gill Kirk has another two plays on stage this month and next.

First up is a rehearsed reading of Gill’s Script Factory commission, An Anaesthetic for Birthdays, at the Ustinov on Wednesday, 18 May:

‘Milestone birthdays race by. Four “ripening” decide not how, but whether to accept the aging process. After all, what have they got to lose?’

Gill rounds-off May with the 24 Hour Play all-nighter detailed above and is back next month with Butterfly Psyche’s full production of her play Water’s Not So Thick at The Rondo in Bath from Wednesday, 15 to Saturday, 18 June.

First seen as a Script Space rehearsed reading at the Tobacco Factory in May 2009, Water’s Not So Thick centres on Rupert and Rebecca who are trying to get married: ‘The only fly in the ointment is his mother. As this dark comedy-drama unfolds, extreme maternal instinct meets the desire to live a normal married life and the results are messy indeed!’


The Calling Card Script by Paul Ashton

Paul Ashton is Development Manager at BBC writersroom and spoke at a Southwest Scriptwriters meeting in April 2006. His new book looks at writing and developing the script that expresses your voice, gets you noticed and helps you reach commission and production. it’s born out of Paul’s experience of reading scripts, working with writers and as an industry ‘gatekeeper’.

‘As many professionals need to switch mediums and genres in order to thrive and survive, the book uniquely draws together the universal principles of dramatic storytelling for screen, stage and radio. With a focus on the script as a blueprint for performance, sections and chapters break down into bite-sized practical insights and the book mirroirs both the journey of the story and the process of writing it.
The Calling Card Script shows how to tell a great story in script form, and offers valuable professional development insights for all writers, whether established or just starting out, who wish to hone their craft and speak their voice.’

The Calling Card Script by Paul Ashton