Toolkit Series 2- Introduction by Dramaturg Suzanne Bell
The Bruntwood Prize exists to support anyone who wants to write for the stage. This website- www.writeaplay.co.uk- is full of free workshops and advice from…
It is important that we bring compassion and understanding to the situation we find ourselves in. This continues to be a tremendously difficult time for theatre and the artists who make it. If we are going to recover from the experiences of the past 12 months, we are going to need playwrights. That is a remarkable endeavour and a huge responsibility – something for which we all have the utmost respect and admiration at the Bruntwood Prize. That is why we are always striving to find ways to support playwrights and encourage people to have the courage to write.
Whether you have been able to be creative or not, we want to try and find ways to support you to continue to be engaged with the craft of writing for performance, engaging with an audience, telling stories and taking people on journeys. We truly hope that this series of on-line workshops – will inspire and support you to be creative and to find new possibilities for your work to be realised.
Eve Leigh is a writer for performance working between theatre, digital, audio, games, and installation work. Her play Salty Irina was shortlisted for the Bruntwood prize in 2019. Here she shares some techniques for anchoring your writing when beginning to write for games, interactive work, and digital performance.
What will the audience’s body be doing when they receive this story?
Make strong choices when it comes to all of this. Remember nothing about the audience experience needs to be taken for granted, and all of the above will affect how the audience receives your piece.
Give yourself ten minutes to dream about some interesting physical circumstances for a show. For a start, don’t think about narrative. Just think about the bodies you want to make work for, and how you want to accommodate them.
What sensations do you want to give them with this piece of work?
For instance, the feeling of playing football is different from the feeling of watching football, which is different from the feeling of playing poker.
Take another ten minutes. Build on the bodily world you’ve created in the previous exercise. What would some surprising/contrasting sensations be to give the audience, based on the creative decisions you’ve already made?
Now reread what you’ve written. And write a story. Give this another ten minutes. Try not to think too hard.
Does the story feel like it connects with the bodily/aesthetic world you’ve built? Or does it feel like a strong contrast? Remember that contrast and conflict are essential to drama. If it all fits together too easily, maybe add a little disjunction or irritant that throws the rest of the choices you’ve made into relief.
10 key pointers/questions /provocations to consider when thinking about creating work in this particular medium
A few more pieces to look at
Paper Stages by Forest Fringe https://forestfringe.co.uk/paper-stages-2020/
Hannah Nicklin – Suspension of disbelief in game design https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQhs_89n9V4
Eve Leigh is a playwright and theatre maker. Plays include “Midnight Movie” (Royal Court, London); “While You Are Here” (The Place / Dance East, London); “The Trick” (Bush Theatre, London, national tour); “The Curtain” (Young Vic / Taking Part, London). Installations include “Movimento/Variations” (36 маймуни, Sofia); “Your Future” (HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin / SOPHIENSÆLE, Berlin / Ballhaus Ost, Berlin / Camden People’s Theatre, London). Eve Leigh was a Royal Court Jerwood playwright 2019, and artist-in-residence at the Experimental Stage of the National Theatre of Greece 2017.