Writing for ….

Playpen Illustration by Boz Groden

Playpen. Illustration by Boz Groden

Playpen, the latest showcase of work from the Writing for Performance Group took place over two nights on the 1st and 7th February. The short one act plays that had been kicked out into the air over the tables of the recording studio where we meet where presented before an audience. An audience that consisted not just of family and friends but of genuine paying audience members.  An audience for script-in-hand readings is an interesting one, it is always evident that many of the audience are writers themselves and guaging the success on the evenings often lies in how many of the audience ask about joining the group. After both nights of Playpen I was inundated with interest.

Performance nights always fill me with fear and exhileration in equal measures, the nerves of seeing my own play presented tend to over whelm along with the pressure of my producer role, working to see that the other writers are happy with watching their plays and ensuring that all production aspects are handled. An evening when I have to help the writers as their plays are handed over to the director and the performers and become something beyond what we see on the page.

As writers we write often alone, filling pages with our words and the images in our heads but as writers for performance then the play must make the tricky transition beyond the life we see for it and it has to live beyond our heads. Sometime that life can falter and it is impossible to know how it will emerge until it does. Experience makes it easier to envisage that transition but still it is dependent on factors beyond our control, within the space, under the performance lights, moved by the director and the performers and most importantly that engagement with the audience. Does the play that we see live in the eyes and minds of the audience, does it engage their hearts, does it make them laugh, does it connect with them?

It was beyond doubt the most successful showcase, it is exhilarating to see the standard of writing rise from earlier showcases there is no doubt that since May 2011 when the group was formed, the writers have become writers for performance. As writers in Aberystwyth we are in the extremely lucky position of having the support of not only the arts centre and it’s staff but a community that is filled with talented, enthusiastic and extremely generous creatives. Many writers spend years writing for the page without seeing their work performed, sending plays to over subscribed competitions or trying to get through the doors of under funded writing programmes. In Aberystwyth we have a creative community that has allowed us to present three showcases of work and we are extremely grateful to all the performers and directors for their part in making us all into writers for performance.

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