Recent & past projects
Before it Rains, 2012
The Bristol Old Vic Studio has become the home for premières of new plays by emerging and established playwrights. 2012 saw the debut of Before it Rains by Katherine Chandler. A tale of parenthood, protection and provocation, Before It Rains, took us to a hard-bitten, back woods Cardiff estate where we witnessed, vodka-sloshing single mum Gloria and her gentle son, Michael developing ways of coping in a world where companionship is threatened. This co-production with Sherman Cymru won the best script and best female performance prizes at the inaugural Theatre Critics of Wales Awards. It was also shortlisted for the international Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
In 2011 we opened Natalie McGrath's first full production, Coasting, a dizzying and hauntingly beautiful story about young hustlers Pearl and Ocean, who carefully construct a world for themselves in a down-at-heel, windswept British seaside town.
...there is no mistaking the distinctive timbre of McGrath's voice and a real ability to capture the dead-fly desolation and bruised end-of-season melancholy of a place.
Short Fuses, 2010
2010 witnessed Short Fuses, a mini-maelstrom of specially commissioned new short plays. We threw a gauntlet down to five writers from the South West to make a response to the provocation - The State We're In. Tim X Atack, Jenny Davis, Natalie McGrath, Craig Norman and Adam Peck's work was performed together each evening, to form a powerful medley of new work.
In 2009 - during the department's first year - we produced two new plays. Sarah Cuddon's My Green Your Grey and Muscle by Tom Wainwright. In co-production with Hull Truck Muscle subsequently embarked on a national tour.
Inspire Sessions with renowned national playwrights provide writers in the South West with an opportunity to a have a conversation and debate about their craft with nationally recognised peers. Past sessions have been led by David Eldridge, Simon Stephens and Polly Teale.
Writers Sprint We invited ten writers to work in the building, from 10.00 - 18.00, for five days to produce the first ten pages of ten new plays. This provided a hothouse for writers to kick-start their creative process and explore how it is to work to a tight and strict deadline - but along the way they met some new writing colleagues, learnt from practical exercises and were given space and time to start that all important next play.
Get Shorty Six evenings exploring the craft of the short play, this programme looked
at how playwright might approach writing a short play - investigating the form, exploring it and identifying the challenges and freedoms. This culminated in the writers completing a ten minute play, with provocations and guidance, which were read, script in hand, at the Ferment Fortnight in 2012.
PITCH! Tongue-tied when you have to stand up and talk about your work...? Sweaty palms at the thought of selling that script...? Don't know how to tackle a pitching structure...? Pitch! Is a day-long workshops on how to build and deliver an effective pitch to producers and literary managers.
So What Next? So you've written the final draft of your play - what next? Sharon Clark led informal sessions on answering all the many questions about where to go with your script once it is completed - where best to send it, how to present it, who's looking for what, what is the ‘market' and the do's and don'ts of your initial approach to literary managers and agents. And, more importantly, what can you expect in return?
S.A.S. Exploring how choices of style and structure are highly influential in governing how plays communicate themselves to an audience, this course investigated the differences between style and structure with an emphasis on reading contemporary and classical plays, and applying those models to writing exercises and participants' current projects.
Stretch As the Theatre Royal closed its doors to refresh and refurbish, this new course challenged writers to climb out of the window, take to the streets and revolutionise their writing by responding directly to their environment.
The Write Space A unique intensive week of writing, exercises, discussions, theatre visits and one-to-one dramaturgical support. The week encouraged writers to set their own targets and complete new tasks each day in a supportive but challenging environment, moving them towards creating the first fifteen minutes of a new play.
Under The Skin What is a character? How do you create a character with dramatic potential? How can you push the boundaries of character in your own writing? This six-session course for writers of all levels explored diverse approaches to the creation and development of characters in a range of performance texts.
Adaptation How might your approach and voice be influenced and challenged by adapting other mediums for theatre? Looking at prose, Greek tragedy, music, poetry and visual image, each session will ask writers to engage with the composition of other art forms and offer creative interpretations for expressing them through playwriting.
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