We’re starting our early autumn season of meetings next Tuesday, 7 September. Coming up, there’s another chance for you to win a £50 Amazon gift certificate and, later this autumn, we’re presenting our second production in association with Theatre West at the Alma Tavern Theatre — details below.

All of the following meetings are happening at Bristol Old Vic, King Street, BS1 4ED. Ask at the reception desk on the right of the theatre’s entrance lobby for directions to meetings — we’re mostly in the Macready Room, but have a couple of Tuesday evenings in Meeting Room 1, so check the programme below for the venue. Remember that you can also find the date of our next meeting in the panel on the right beneath the slideshow on our website’s home page. Everyone pays £1 at the meetings they attend.

Plenty of spaces this season for the scripts you’ve been working on over the summer break so do get in touch to book a slot.

Tuesday, 7 September at 7.30pm in the Macready Room: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 14 September at 7.30pm in Meeting Room 1: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 21 September at 7.30pm in the Macready Room: The Write Response
Introducing our new initiative that invites you to write a short script in response to a recently produced play with a chance to win a £50 Amazon gift certificate. See below for more details.

Tuesday, 28 September at 7.30pm in the Macready Room: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 5 October at 7.30pm in the Macready Room: Open Workshop

Tuesday, 12 October at 7.30pm in Meeting Room 1: Open Workshop


Little Deaths at the Alma

News first up in this e-bulletin is that London-based theatre company ScenePool is producing Steve Lambert’s new play Little Deaths at the Alma Tavern Theatre this week from Thursday, 2 until Saturday, 4 September.

Developed from Steve’s short play After Care, which ScenePool presented as part of its festival in London last November, Little Deaths centres on a man and two women trapped in a dark, erotic love triangle that raises the stakes to life-threatening levels.

Following its Alma run, Little Deaths transfers to London later this year with plans for a possible tour.

You can catch the show’s Alma Tavern Theatre run at 8pm on Thursday to Saturday with a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday.

If you’re in London this week, you can also see work by Steve at the Hen and Chickens in Islington where Spilt Milk Theatre presents his comedy Tea and Filth with three other short comedies in Fourplay.


The Write Response

We’re launching our new members-exclusive initiative, The Write Response, at our meeting on Tuesday, 21 September.

Major new writing theatres are increasingly inviting playwrights to show their skills by writing scripts inspired by recent productions. We’re starting a writing response project of our own, and — following our Ten-Page Challenge earlier this year — giving you another chance to win a £50 Amazon gift certificate.

We’ve chosen Sue Townsend’s You, Me and Wii, which was first produced in June at the Tricycle Theatre in London as part of its Women — Power and Politics season, as the inspirational script for our first Write Response. In You, Me and Wii, set on a sink estate in Townsend’s native Leicestershire, ‘none of the family is planning on voting in the election, but then a canvasser arrives who might just be able to change their minds…’

Here’s what you need to do to take part in The Write Response:

  1. Buy or borrow a copy of Women — Power and Politics: Now and read You, Me and Wii. We’ll try to make a few copies available to borrow at meetings, but these are likely to be in demand so it’s worthwhile adding it to your collection of published scripts — it’s good value because it also includes four other short plays.
  2. Come to the meeting on 21 September to discuss the play — don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to read it by then because we’ll outline the play enough to allow you to take part in the discussion.
  3. Write a ten-minute (1800-word) script inspired by You, Me and Wii. For this, you shouldn’t use the characters and setting from the play, but instead take it as a starting point for an idea of your own. You can write a complete ten-minute story or the beginning of a longer script and your response can be for stage, screen, radio or television.
  4. Book a slot for your work to be read at one of our workshop sessions this autumn — only members whose scripts have been read at a meeting before or on 30 November will be eligible to submit a script.
  5. Submit your script. I’ll include details of how to enter your script in our next newsletter — please don’t submit anything before 30 November.

As with the Ten-Page Challenge, an independent judge will read all of the responses and choose the one he or she finds most compelling. The writer of that script will receive the £50 Amazon gift certificate.

Good luck in coming up with The Write Response!


Theatre West picks Rabbit Ears for its autumn season

Theatre West has chosen Bruce Fellows’ new play, Rabbit Ears, for production in the Southwest Scriptwriters slot of its autumn season at the Alma Tavern Theatre.

The show will be the company’s second in association with the group following its production of Showing the Monster by Steve Lambert last October. Rabbit Ears is the final production of the ten-week season, playing at the Alma from 16 until 27 November.

The Theatre West show is Bruce’s second success with the group this year after he won our Ten-Page Challenge with the opening moments of his radio drama, The Goalkeeper’s Fear of the Shootout, in April. He was also the overall winner in our New Writing Festival competition in 2004 with Wingless Victor, another radio play, and had work featured in our short season of rehearsed readings at the Tobacco Factory in 2003 and in Scripts @ Starbucks during 2008.

We received 20 submissions for our Alma Tavern Theatre production this year, and Theatre West shortlisted the following six:

Rabbit Ears by Bruce Fellows
Flat Packed by Adrian Harris
Last Cab Home by Andrew Graham
Shaft by Vincent Cassar
Away with the Fairies by Gill Kirk
Consulting with Chekhov by Crysse Morrison

Theatre West also considered the ten scripts received from women group members alongside 30 others submissions from across the South West for its production ring fenced for a female playwright this autumn. Crysse and Gill’s plays made the shortlist of four scripts the company selected for the show joining Pavement by Sharon Clark (who spoke at a group meeting last October) and Show Dog by former Southwest Scriptwriter Shiona Morton. Theatre West will produce Pavement from 19 until 30 October with rehearsed readings of Away with the Fairies on 17 September and Consulting with Chekhov and Show Dog on 18 September.

Theatre West autumn season 2010

Many congratulations to Bruce on making it into the season and well done to everyone who made the shortlists in a tight finish. Thanks too to everyone who submitted a script — do book a slot for your work to be read at an upcoming meeting. October’s e-bulletin will include a reminder and further details of Rabbit Ears.


Gill’s back with Water’s Not So Thick

Following the rehearsed reading of her play Away with the Fairies at the Alma Tavern Theatre on Friday, 17 September, Gill Kirk has a Script Factory lunchtime reading of Water’s Not So Thick at the Ustinov in Bath the following Wednesday, 24 September.

Gill has rewritten her pre-marital drama after it scored a Script Space II rehearsed reading at the Tobacco Factory last year. She has since had work presented in Theatre 24 at Bristol Old Vic in February, as part of Saturday Shorts at the Bristol Folk House during May, and in the Ustinov Writers’ Forum showcase, The Push, in June.

Water’s Not So Thick’s latest outing is at 12.30pm on 24 September.


Mark leads two courses and a workshop at Bristol Folk House

Southwest Scriptwriter Mark Breckon continues his work at Bristol Folk House this autumn, teaching two courses and leading a Saturday workshop at the adult education centre in Park Street.

His 12-week Scriptwriting course at 7.30-9.30pm on Tuesday evenings from 14 September offers ‘a hands-on guide to writing drama whether you are interested in theatre, screenwriting or radio. With lots of practical exercises, the workshop will cover dramatic structure, developing ideas, character and dialogue.’ Beginners are welcome but the course also aims to be a useful refresher for more experienced writers.

Mark is also repeating his Drama and Improvisation programme: ‘This popular 12-week course is aimed at anyone including writers who would like to develop their confidence and creative spontaneity. The sessions will include theatre games, storytelling exercises and an introduction to the building blocks of improvisation such as objectives, status, character and emotion.’ It runs at 7.45-9.45pm on Wednesdays from 15 September.

On Saturday, 6 November, Mark is offering a Drama and Improvisation Workshop from 10am until 4pm, giving students a taster of the activities on his longer course.

Bristol Folk House


Training And Performance Showcase (TAPS) closes after 18 years

The Training And Performance Showcase (TAPS) ceased operating on 30 June after 18 years training and promoting freelance scriptwriters for work in the UK film and television industries.

Ewart Needham, TAPS Co-Founder and Trustee explained the background to the closure: ‘New, young and talented freelance writers struggle financially to afford the training they need to succeed in the industry. TAPS has, since day one of its operation, endeavoured to make its training courses both affordable and directed towards getting people into employment. Changes this year to Skillset funding through bursaries has made it impractical for writers to prefund their training prior to an 80% repayment following completion of courses.’

‘Having completed over 50 years serving our industry, latterly with specific emphasis on training,’ he added, ‘I am appalled at the lack of support for the independent training providers who have contributed so much to the industries over the past two decades.’

Several members of Southwest Scriptwriters benefitted from TAPS’ training and Tim Massey, the group’s Artistic Director, won the TAPS Drama Writer of the Year Award, presented at a ceremony at BAFTA in 2004. Later the same year, Ewart Needham and Jill James, TAPS’ Executive Director, came to speak to the group about the work of the training organisation.

Our commiserations to Jill and Ewart with huge thanks for all their efforts on behalf of scriptwriters over the last 18 years!


Congratulations to Adrian and Michelle

Many congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Harris who, on 7 August, became the first couple that met at Southwest Scriptwriters to tie the knot. Their wedding at the Compass Inn, Tormarton, had a scriptwriting theme with the Orders of Ceremony typed in standard screenplay format, and the ceremony itself showing their eclectic dramatic taste by including readings from Shakespeare and Dad’s Army!

We wish Michelle and Adrian a long and very happy life together.


Call for volunteers for Mentoring Plus

Andy Graham, Southwest Scriptwriters’ Chair, has issued the following appeal for volunteers on behalf of Mentoring Plus:

‘Could you help change the direction of a young person’s life?

‘Mentoring Plus is looking for caring, reliable adults to act as Volunteer Mentors. We are a Bath-based project and work with vulnerable young people between the ages of 12 and 17. Building trusting relationships, we help children to develop increased self-confidence and emotional wellbeing. Mentors usually offer around a couple of hours a week for about a year.

‘In return, we offer full training, out of pocket expenses and a unique opportunity to make a real difference in your community.

Mentoring Plus