Since the start of the 2017, I've been co-coordinating a social play reading group and am looking forward to meeting back with the group for our first session of 2018.
I'd been involved in similar informal groups through the National Theatre of Scotland and Lyceum and the days they took place were often my favourite days. Sitting around with a bunch of cool people. Drinking something nice. Talking about plays you loved. Finding your own way in to a play you're not mad about by hearing someone else talk about why they love it. It's great. More please.
There's a network of about forty-five theatre professionals who have signed up to the mailing list, with a different group of between 3 - 12 at each session. It's really great to talk about plays from a distance from the source. To imagine what our own productions would look like. To just hang out for the love of the thing.
More information or join in here.
Me and Laurie made a thing.
We’re both playwrights. We’d been feeling as if there was a bit of a gap in the current provision of new writing nights in the central belt and mystery around the work that actually gets commissioned/programmed. We’d spoken a lot about what our version of a new writing night would be – we ended up making a wee publication instead.
Our zine, Sugar, is focused on celebrating the processes and successes of playwrights working in Scotland’s central belt. It’s an opportunity to share our ideas, the work of peers, gain insight from established writers who inspire us. Then comes the most important bit – shoving it in the faces of other people and saying LOOK, LOOK, LOOK HOW COOL THIS IS! SCOTTISH PLAYWRIGHTS ARE AAAAAMAAAAAZING.
We only gave out the zine by hand. Having conversations was important. I did whack a few copies off in the post but on the proviso that they send something back in return. My favourite was An Oral History of Pirate Radio in Hull, 1993 -2005 from Jamie Porter. I wouldn’t have stumbled across this topic in any other way. Brilliant.
Zinewright is the new playwright – there are lots of great examples of literary and art based publications in Scotland but its fun to see more popping up in our own industry. Our local pals Andy Edwards & Gareth Vile have made great publications. Further afield there is Exeunt’s membership publication, and The Dionysian and OG theatre-zinewright Megan Vaughan’s creations. We really love creating something with love and care that can also be torn up, scribbled on, photocopies, destroyed.
Aye, we’re going to make another one.
I supported Georgie Mac in making a show only Georgie could make. Our enjoyment of fantasy tales to tell big, complex real world emotions (particularly The Never-ending Story - seriously, watch that as an adult. Mind Blown) was a jumping off point.. Just enjoy a story. Nothing fancy. We accompanied this with Georgie’s talent for drawing to create a storytelling show with live illustration. - Hero.
My job was to write the script. I found the writing this show a challenge emotionally as I endeavoured to be more open and straightforward with talking about the consistent anxiety and periods of low mood I experience. It's cool, it's chill. It's just how I operate. I've been learning how to stop battling it but to recognise it and to embrace its energy. A nice thing about getting older I guess. Can we stop pretending that we don't all deal with this side of being human on some level, please.
Once the show was up, I was hands off which was a bit of a strange but welcome feeling. I'm usually also collecting tickets or running the lights or pouring out the post show wine. My job was done and someone else can get on with theirs. The ambition of the show was to make something that only Georgie and I could make, to see what they experience of doing a full run during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is like and to loose as little money as possible. It was quite nice to elect to not worry about inviting potential partners, hustling for reviews, crossing fingers for awards. The show Just Was. The size of the potential market meant that audiences still found us.
One guy - who saw the show twice - would months later complimented Georgie on the show in a random supermarket encounter in another city. We got a lovely email from a family whose young kid was inspired to tell stories of his own. These two connections makes me feel like we found our audience for whom the show could speak for and to.
We had a lot of support to put this show together, particular from Ross, who created our beautiful score and drilled Georgie in his recorded performance; Georgie’s parents who constructed our “set” and brought it to us in Scotland; my family who served as local transport; Lea who took great photos in rehearsals; Shilpa who provided an outside eye as we worked through our ideas; and the other participants of Black Market Room 3 who really pulled together in creating a great performance space out of nothing.
Georgie Mac paints brilliant characters and scenes from a new story in front of audiences. Hero is an uplifting, live illustrated, storybook adventure that embraces fantasy to address issues about anxiety, depression and learing to live with sad thoughts. Follow the adventures of Cavalier, a young boy plauged by nightmare, who lives at sea on a ship stuck in still waters. He travels with the nightmice to reach the Horizon and try to bring life back to The Doldrum.
Created and performed by Georgie Mac
Written by Eve Nicol
Music by Ross Clark
5-26 August 2017
Part of PBH Free Fringe
Sketchbooks and recording of show