Autumn 2014 starts for us next Tuesday, 30 September, with the first of four meetings in Waterside 1 at Watershed, 1 Canon’s Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX.

Watershed’s busy programme means that we can’t meet on entirely consecutive Tuesdays, so please mind the gap in our schedule on Tuesday, 21 October! Copy the following dates into your diary or check for upcoming meetings on our What’s On page.

Ask at Watershed’s box office if you need directions to Waterside 1. Everyone attending a meeting pays £1.

Tuesday, 30 September at 7.30pm: Over the Tamar by Bryony Pope

Briony’s screenplay is the story of Tamara, a single mother whose family and romantic life in a Cornish village are complicated by folklore, the conflicts of multiculturalism and the ever present threat of the sea.

Tuesday, 7 October at 7.30pm: The Picking of a Primrose by John Colborn

Rupert and Jane visit their second home in the country, only to find that someone else appears to have moved in.

Tuesday, 14 October at 7.30pm: Open Workshop
Tuesday, 21 October: *** No meeting / Deep Pit premieres at Brass Works Therstre ***

Although we’re not at Watershed tonight, it’s the opening performance of a three-week run of Deep Pit by Adrian Harris at Brass Works Theatre in Warmley – see below for further details – so please use the break in our regular programme to see the show.

Tuesday, 28 October at 7.30pm: Open Workshop


Deep Pit by Adrian Harris

Many thanks to everyone who supported our Voices of the Great War show at South Gloucestershire’s new theatre at the beginning of August. It was a big success, attracting an audience of 130 over two performances.

Next up is also a chance to see work developed with Southwest Scriptwriters take the stage. Adrian Harris’ Deep Pit, inspired by Kingswood’s mining history, saw workshop action with the group upstairs at the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer in April 2009.

Adrian established Brass Works Theatre as a result of an original plan to produce Deep Pit. He approached Kingswood Heritage Museum in 2011 with the idea of mounting an outdoor production of his play in its grounds. One of the trustees suggested he might stage the show in the large room upstairs at the museum, and the idea of creating a new theatre venue in the space was born. Since then Adrian has worked tirelessly to put Brass Works Theatre’s infrastructure in place, raising money for its sound and lighting equipment, and most recently building dressing room facilities in an unused area of the new auditorium.

Deep Pit is Brass Works Theatre’s most ambitious production to date, featuring a cast of seven (a large number of actors for a professional staging) and supported with substantial funding from Arts Council England, South Gloucestershire Council and Oldland Common Parish Council.

By the 18th century, Kingswood’s coal miners had earned such a fearsome reputation that the Anglican evangelist George Whitefield met with the mocking challenge, ‘If he will convert heathens, why does he not go to the colliers of Kingswood?’

The mine workers and their families needed to be tough to survive dirty, dangerous lives in and around the pits where they were subjugated and exploited.

Deep Pit finds the Crew family continuing the coalface struggle in 1848. Jonathan and Elizabeth have already lost a son to the deadly underground conditions, and now their daughter Mary is treading a treacherous path with Henry Knight, the mine owner’s son…

The show’s three-week run starts serendipitously on Tuesday, 21 October, when Watershed is unable to offer us a room for a regular meeting, and so there’s no group diary clash that evening. The future holds a very strong possibility of more opportunities for members of Southwest Scriptwriters to have work produced at Brass Works Theatre, but it’s vital to see other shows at the venue to get a sense of what works best in the space. This is a good chance to begin or continue your writerly research and support the ongoing work of Bristol’s newest theatre.


William stands down

We’re sorry to announce that William House has resigned from Southwest Scriptwriters’ management committee after six years on the team.

A longstanding member of the group whose involvement dates back to the 1990s, William joined its committee in August 2008. He instigated a more formal approach at executive meetings with agendas and minutes replacing the previous ad hoc arrangements.

While William brought a conventional structure to the committee’s proceedings, he has been a strong advocate of an experimental approach to scriptwriting with a keen interest in writing for performance through music and dance. His writing while a member of the committee has reflected his innovative ambitions, building on earlier experimentation with absurdist theatre in The Climbers – a contender for inclusion in Theatre West’s Picture This autumn season in 2011 – and drawing inspiration from the work of the communication theorist Marshall McLuhan in The Woman of the Eleventh Hour, which we featured at a group meeting in March.

William has left the group’s management committee to pursue his many other interests and commitments, and, while it’s disappointing to lose his contribution on the executive, we hope he’ll remain a regular at meetings!


On your marks for Bruntwood

The organisers of the biennial Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting are advising writers to get set for when the contest reopens for submissions in 2015. With big cash prizes, publication deals and productions at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre on offer, the Bruntwood Prize is a major opportunity for new and established playwrights.

The contest’s website has some suggestions to get you started here