Hull, You're On It!
Hull you are on it! How ace are you!
I’ve been in post as Playwriting Officer here at Hull Truck Theatre for three months now and I have undergone some enjoyable, interesting, and fun activities. Meeting each week with school, college, university, youth, and community groups has been such a great experience that the purpose of me attending these groups and trying to inspire them to get writing and submit to 37 Plays is such an inspiring thing towards my own personal development too. I suppose when you sit down to write and create on your own work, as writers do. You learn and you grow, and you continually try to make each work better with each attempt. The development may go a little unnoticed in your own personal psyche unless you are getting plays published all the time and people are responding by telling you just how wonderful they are. So, it’s a real pleasure to be able to meet with these different groups and share with them my thoughts on playwriting and recite back what I have been learning a developing myself over the past number of years and seeing that help others as it helped me. Also, the continual learning I am doing as I listen to others, work with colleagues, and meet new writers is such a bonus that I feel very lucky to be having this experience. I am a firm believer that we never know it all. There is always something more we can learn, craft, and develop that I don’t ever see this position as teaching or leading. I’m just a guide, a support. Offering my take on the craft and hoping that it could help and inspire others. What’s mega is that we are really starting to see that guiding and supporting coming to fruition.
The evening young writers’ groups here at the theatre are steaming ahead now. Lots of learning and developing skill has taken place over the past six weeks and they are about ready to start writing their plays. Hearing their ideas and listing to them be enthused and inspired about playwrighting is exciting and promising. The 18-30’s group are all writing individual plays that have come from their sole imaginations and we can’t wait to receive their first drafts in a couple of weeks. Our 14-16’s group are just about to embark on co-creating their play as a group of writers. So, it’s action stations here at Hull Truck Theatre on a Tuesday and Wednesday evening.
As I mentioned I have been here, there, and everywhere visiting groups and delivering my ‘Introduction to Playwrighting’ workshop in hope to sprinkle a little magical creative dust and encourage the people of Hull to get writing and submit to the 37 Plays Project. What was really amazing this week was receiving an email at the end of the working day telling me that a young person from a school I had visited in the morning had already written a play and handed in to their teacher before school was out! No messing at Chiltern Primary Academy in west Hull. Impressive scenes.
We are getting tough on our Artist Network and offering a Writers Bootcamp for those that currently have works in the making but may need that extra push, support, and guidance to help give them the confidence to finish their plays and get them submitted. You don’t need to be able to do 100 press-ups in this bootcamp but 100 words yes! The Bootcamp will run over three sessions which will consist of two group workshops and then a one-to-one session. You can read more about the Bootcamp and express and interest in those via a form that is live on our 37 plays section on the website here.
If you are still struggling to get started or keep at it then don’t worry because as always, I have a playwrighting pal to share some useful tips with you. Our playwright tip this week is from Maureen Lennon. Maureen is a Sphinx 30 playwright 2020, a Leeds Playhouse FUSE writer 2019 and Associate Artist of Middle Child Theatre. Her play, Us Against Whatever, was produced in 2019 by Middle Child Theatre in association with Hull Truck Theatre and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and with support from the National Theatre Studio and British Council. It is published by Oberon. In 2020 her play, Helen, was shortlisted for the Theatre 503 International Playwrighting Prize. In 2018/19 her play What About The Children was longlisted for the Alfred Bradley Bursary for Radio Drama. In 2017 her play Bare Skin On Briny Waters received two award commendations from NSDF as part of the Hull Takeover at Edinburgh Fringe.
“My top tip for getting started actually writing is set a tiny but achievable goal. That might be a timer, today I'm just going to write for 20 minutes, or it might be a word count, I'm going to write 500 words, or it might be a story beat. But make it small. And lie to yourself that it never has to be good, it just has to be there. I have to do that all the time to make myself start, because the truth is once it is there you can make it good, and doing tiny amounts soon adds up.
My other one is really, really try to write until the end of something before going back and changing/ editing. Having the full skeleton of something, no matter how scrappy, means you can understand what it is and how it needs to change so much better.”
Once again, I cannot recommend highly enough the resource section on the 37 plays website. With writing activities, podcasts, and master class videos. There is no way if you spend some time looking at those that you won’t want to just crack on. Remembering in just over a month submission will be opening. So, get them words down on paper and let’s get a Hull play into a new folio of works.
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