A Play Lovers Haven

01-Nov-2022 | Kerrie L Marsh -

Let me tell you of a magical place. One of which many may not know of but one where an oasis of play scripts, writing textbooks and theatre books call their home. In the depths of the old town, upon the river's edge there is an old, cobbled road called High Street. Off that cobbled street tucked down an alleyway is warehouse 31. Which from the outside, looks just like any other warehouse but don’t be fooled by its normal looking exterior because once you ring the doorbell, you are welcomed inside to a plethora of plays. It’s the Middle Child Theatre companies, Theatre Library.

If you wish to read scripts, get inspired by them or even just look at a few to see how they are laid out structurally, then this is the place for you. Middle Child Theatre company are a gig theatre company based in Hull who mix live music with bold new writing while trying to make sense of the modern world. Their theatre library is an awesome resource for the creatives of Hull. A large room with many plays and other books on theatre, writing and practitioners. If you are struggling to get started, feel motivated or just curious as to the different types of plays, writers and shows out there, please go and have a look around their library as it really is an encouraging place to visit.

There are three large book shelfs to peruse. Suggestions on the noticeboard telling you what’s new in and postcards with people’s personal recommendations on if you need any helpful tips as to what is worth a sneaky peek at. The space has a reading bar along the right-hand side of the room and comfortable chairs to have a chill and take in some words. There is also a long table with chairs a plenty in the sociable reception space that can also be used as a place to read or work. For me, the cherry on the cake is the private writer’s room that you can hire out to write your masterpiece. The reason I found this space particularly inviting is because it actually has a bed in it. Yeah, I know! Epic right. A desk, mood lighting, relaxed atmosphere and a bed! What more could a writer ask for?

Write and nap, write and nap. What a life!

It's worth reading a few plays if you are interested in writing one. This way you can get a feel for what you like, dislike and use your findings to guide you in your own work. A visit to the Middle Child Theatre Library would be a great place to dive in. Not many people are lucky enough to have a dedicated writing space in their homes or where they lodge. So, it’s always worth remembering that the city has places you can go to get creative. The library is open on Tuesdays 10am – 1pm & Fridays 2pm – 5pm. Find out more here. Theatre Library - Middle Child (middlechildtheatre.co.uk)

The 37 Plays resource I’d like to share with you this week is about freewriting, one of my favourite writing exercises/activities. This is because it’s a chance to wake up the mind or get anything that’s been buzzing around in your head out and onto paper. I try to free write most days at some point as a habit of doing some writing every day. Though there are many ways in which you can use freewriting to aid you here is an activity that the 37 Plays website offers which I think is worth a go.

This exercise is ideal in getting us out of our heads and into a writing mood, almost like a warm-up before physical exercise. Give yourself permission to write whatever comes into your head. Don’t worry about showing this writing to anyone. Try writing without stopping and answer the question: Where am I from? Try not to think or plan. Just start writing.


Then, take a look at what you’ve written. Does anything particularly stand out to you? Any strong images or emotions which have taken you off guard?

This exercise can be a helpful liberation. There can be nothing more intimidating to a writer than an empty page so it’s helpful to quickly get over that barrier.

I personally think doing some freewriting after reading a play, before you start writing something of your own or before bed are some good times to give this exercise a try.

As further encouragement to you my wonderful writers we have wise words from another of our local Hull playwrights. Josh Overton, winner of the Sunday Times playwrighting award for his play ‘Anger’ is a Hull-based playwright and co-artistic director of fire circus spectacular theatre company, From Below. Josh would like to share with you a phycological tip.

“Never doubt yourself or think you're not experienced enough to write a play!

No one knows entirely what they’re doing, not really. There are genius writers who write with excellent formulas and structures that make the process easier, but at the end of the day when they sit down to fill out those pages they still have to rely on their imagination, their creativity and their passion for a subject, which puts them at exactly the same level as a beginner. Trust your imagination and you're halfway to being a professional. Believe in yourself and you're already miles ahead of most writers.”

I hope that you are finding these blogs encouraging. That you are taking something away from the resources I am sharing from the RSC 37 Plays website, the local playwright tips and the guidance I’m offering you as your Playwrighting officer.

Remember if you don’t have a space to write at home then do use some of the welcoming places across the city. Middle Child Theatre Library, the central and local libraries. Coffee shops are always a good shout, I could do a whole post about which are my favs! Also, check in with your local community hubs and see what they can offer, and of course Hull Truck Theatres foyer space is open to the public. Wednesday and Saturdays. Pull up a chair, grab a coffee and use the Wi-Fi for your play research and crack on.

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