Category Archives: Festival

Posts about a writer’s experience in the Write Now festival

Two Submission Weeks Left

P2S-buttonJust two weeks to go before the final deadline for submissions to the Page to Stage Festival and scripts are rolling in.

Lots of progress has been made this week. We have had a number of volunteers come forward with a variety of skills, including public relations manager, press officer and literary manager; we do have some incredible talent joining us. We’ve had some very early enquiries from potential directors, and actors are queueing up to be placed on the list. Read more…


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At Last! Page to Stage Submissions Open

The long awaited on-line submission form for the Page to Stage Festival is now available.

P2S logo 2 Debbie Continue reading

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Why I Decided to Run a Festival

Curtesy of years, many writers and actors in Merseyside lamented the lack of a good theatre festival in Liverpool. Edinburgh had the, by now world famous, Festival Fringe, Manchester’s 24:7 was established in 2004, Suffolk has its High Tide Festival, and even Barnstaple has a theatre festival. Then, in 2009 came the Write Now Festival.

The Write Now was established specifically to showcase new writing. In its first year, eight new plays were performed five times over the course of ten days in The Actors Studio, a modest eighty-seat venue owned by Pauline Daniels. Continue reading

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Media Launch

Media - Press ConferenceSo, rehearsals are well under way. The director assures me that everything is going swimmingly and that the cast are on target for a grand performance on 30 March. Well I hope so.

The Write Now Festival organises a strange event called the Media Launch. This is an opportunity for each of the plays to present a live trailer to the assembled throng that, theoretically, consists of lots of members of the press.

Well we arrived replete with props and costume. We all found a neat little corner to rehearse again and I was just so impressed. Two of the cast and the director had improvised and then written a trailer that was just incredibly professional. No input from the, by now, surplus writer.

So then there was the initial viewing by the festival director. We were first on but went down quite well. Then there was the full dress and tech rehearsal before which we discovered we were scheduled last. That couldn’t have been better, because the last thing the Creatrix and Architect did was to uncover a giant poster on the flip chart. Being last meant that it could stay on the stage – yippee.

3.30pm and we were sent off for a long break. It was a chance for Katie (the theatre’s technician, to take anyone who wanted to the theatre for a final look. Like a mother duck with a gathering of ducklings she went walked off with about ten of us in her wake.

Back to Studio 2, the venue for the launch event, at 5.00 to get changed and await the press. By 6.00pm, the place was packed out – with actors and writers. Hardly any media people turned up. I recognised one reviewer and local radio personality Roger Phillips and he disappeared after the second trailer.

Oh, well! We all had fun and it made me feel far more confident in my cast and director. Roll on the tech/dress rehearsal.

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Oh! The Stress of Rehearsals

Well, I attended my first rehearsal of “In the Beginning – a slightly irreverent look at creation” on Saturday (10 March).

I‘d  arranged to meet all the cast and director at the director’s flat at 5.30pm. Come six o’clock, we were an actor short. We tried ringing, texting, emailing, and Facebooking but nothing. This doesn’t bode well, I thought.  Well, come six o’clock, we wandered down to the very nice pub who was allowing us to rehearse in the upstairs room, after leaving messages for our errant actor.

masks - Rehearsals for In the Beginning

Now, this rehearsal was mostly to allow me to see an improvised scene so that I could add to the script. This was considered necessary by the director in order to clarify some points and explain how Adam went from a gibbering idiot to a more articulate idiot (of course it’s all down to Eve’s excellent coaching).

Well, that was the theory but, since the scene required all the characters to be on stage and we were missing one actor, it wasn’t as successful as it could be. Oh, well! At least I videoed some of it. However, now I was panicking – we had less than three weeks to the opening.

So, we tried again on Tuesday. Guess what? You guessed. A different actor was missing this time. At least now I have two improvised scene five-and-a-halfs to call on when writing the new bits.

However, I also managed to see other scenes that have been rehearsed already and, I must say, I don’t feel quite so panicked now. They need a lot of polishing but that is to be expected.  As I write this, we have two weeks and a day to the opening performance but only about twelve days to the dress and tech run – that’s when the press can get a chance to see the whole thing if they want.

Oh, damn! I just pressed the panic alarm again!

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The First Reading

It’s always a scary time for a writer of new works – that first script reading with a company of actors and director. Will the actors take to the characters? Will the script come across as you had imagined? Will the script be the literary masterpiece that your are convinced it is? Will you have to do an extensive rewrite because they all think it’s crap? Or is it just me.

Well, the first reading of “In the beginning – a slightly irreverent look at creation” (I’m going to get well and truly pissed off with that title by the time this production is finished) was scheduled for Wednesday morning;  the setting was Rebecca’s (director) flat not far for Liverpool City Centre; the time ten in the morning. Two of the actors were on time. Two of them were an hour late! To be fair, on of them had contacted the director to say that he would be late due to a sudden call into uni. I hope this isn’t a pattern for the rest of the production.

So, tea and biscuits were provided by the host and we sat down with our scripts. I then said that I’d take some photos for the Facebook page. Call me sexist but true to form the girls moaned about this, with comments about wishing they’d known and something about not looking their best, while the boys couldn’t care less. Was this just delaying tactics by me?

So the first page was read by Abbie and Sean, the Divine Creatrix and the Grand Architect.  I started to feel less anxious and by the time “Curtain” was reached I was convinced that this is exactly the cast that this script needs.

Discussions followed about the script. I told the cast to try and present that the writer wasn’t there and just be brutally honest – I don’t think they took any notice. Turns out, all anyone felt was needed was another scene between Adam and Eve.

Oh well! Looking forward to rehearsals now.

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Don’t worry, I will write some original stuff eventually.

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Auditions – now they can be strange events.

Tuesday saw our first round of auditions. First off, out of  about thirty five candidates from the casting event, only eight confirmed that they would attend, two send messages at the last minute to say they couldn’t do it after all, and nine turned up. Odd!

So, what do you expect at an audition? Well, I have never been in favour of the standard monologue in front of a panel type audition; I have only ever had to do one of those and I think they are just a waste of time. Sure, if the script is a monologue, you might want to see how an actor can portray a character without someone to react to. However, most scripts aren’t monologues so you need to see how actors can relate and react to each other.

Luckily, my director agrees (read her blog, by the way. Just click on “Director’s Blog above).

So, we surprised our candidates by running a workshop with all of them – an improvised workshop, which means that we made it up as we went along as well. Well, okay, we did plan a little bit.

Running workshops like this allows the actors to get comfortable with their surroundings and each other.  It also allows the director to observe who gets along with whom, what the actors make of the characters they are given. Yes we had men playing women and women playing men and even had a group playing the same character at the same time!

The actors, Rebecca (director) and I all enjoyed the process. Although, they did admit that it was the strangest audition they’d ever attended. The orgasm exercise was particularly interesting, but I’ll leave you to guess about that.

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