Finding a director vs self directing

Your script is written, well done.

Now the fun part begins, bringing it to life.

I’m gonna give you some tips I adhere to once I’ve written a script and I’m at the pivotal stage of deciding whether I can trust someone with my baby or if I should just get it done myself.

Directing a play isn’t all shits and giggles, it’s time consuming, soul bearing and…pretty hard.

As the writer you know the script inside out but remember everyone who jumps on board won’t initially and part of your job as a director is to make sure they do, confidently, so as not to ruin your play when staged. No pressure.

For the plays Iv had directed by others, Iv found they’ve been scripts I’m not madly in love with, I mean… I wrote them so I have to love them. But I’m not so attached to them I can’t let others artistically develop them in their own way.

Make sure the director you work with is on the same page as you, find out their goals for your script, their method of working and their past work.

It’s important !

Find the right director, find the right director, oh and did I mention find the right director. Someone who respects your work is a major key.

You’ve written you want your protagonist to be black and suddenly after casting you find the protagonist is white…yes this has happened to me before.

If you have strong ideas about how you want your peice to look visually then I would suggest co-directing, as the writer of course you have your own visual ideas of how things should be staged but if your ideas are so important that you cannot see them any other way, you already have your directing hat on.

Think about budget for rehearsals, are you looking at an intense rehearsal schedule over a short period of time or something more long term and relaxed ?

Your first time directing shouldn’t be rushed and weighed down by pressure, so take this into consideration when choosing whether to direct.

Iv recently started to ‘paint the picture‘ in my scripts which some may argue is the worst thing to do in the world. But I’m a control freak; kiss my ass so what, and it gives me likkl peice of mind so hey.

If I have no plans to direct myself but have strong ideas for direction, I write this into the script.

That way there’s no confusion, I’m very much open to negotiation in regards to staging and changes but it’s easier to discuss something that is already written in the script than an idea that isn’t.

I hope that makes sense.

Self directing is rewarding but it’s hard work, it can definitely be done but just make sure you have the time on your hands to really do your peice justice.


Random thoughts & musings

-Sometimes work and network outside of just the black creative scene if you see you ain’t getting no play there.

– I don’t really fuck with most of the creative cool kids, everyones too licky licky and thats okay, i’m not in the fake-ness if my soul doesn’t take to ya.

– It’s kind of hard to fit writing, producing, rehearsing and working full time and raising a child.

– You would think a retweet costs real money big man ting.

– ‘We aRe LuKiN fOr SuBmiSsIoNs FoR oUr ScRaTchNiGhT fRoM bAmE WrITeRs’ is bullshit more time.

– I find it really hard to keep up with my emails at the moment and i’m not no where near where I need to be, so like… what the fuck happens when I am where I need to be?

– Making short films is cool and everything but shit if you don’t have money to fund it everything’s kinda stagnant.

– I don’t like people working for free for me, it doesn’t sit good with my soul, must find a way in the future to make sure all participants are rewarded, this life isn’t charity work.

– I think I need a cool business card I can give out to people instead of that awkward ‘omg so your a creative what do you do’ conversation.

– Black boys don’t cry as a short film or nah ?

– Going to the theatre on a date is always trash, why is this ?

– I need headshots and I need a new website.

– I just bought two pairs of really banging heels but like, outside is doing up Ice Age returns so like, now what?


How to deal with rejection emails

I write this blog post after literally just receiving a rejection email for one of my short plays submitted to a festival that won’t be named.


This blog post has been laying on my heart for the longest time, inspired by the kind of people who seem to think that my journey so far has been plain sailing, the I’m so proud of you people who are genuinely proud and stuff no disrespect, but ya’ll don’t understand the blood, sweat and tears that go into everything, and the beloved rejection emails, oh thy beloved politely worded, formal, not even in the slightest bit passive aggressive rejection emails.

The rejection emails are STRONG lemmenotlie, on average I send my work out 3-4 times a month, and I would say 80% of the time my work doesn’t get picked.


Why ?

Maybe I’m shit and I’ve picked the wrong career, or more realistically…the competition is just that tough.

I’ve got to the stage where I believe in my sauce small small and so the second option is my mantra and ideally should be yours too.

To put things into perspective :
Most places you submit your work to have hundreds of submissions and are only looking for 6-8 pieces of work.
Can you imagine having to read through 200+ scripts and know only a handful of those will be successful ?

Theatre is subjective, your play about your neighbours cat learning how to talk may be comedy gold, But if the script reader has a underlying hate for cats what do you think is gonna happen ?

In simpler terms, your script may be great but if the reader just doesn’t like your theme, it nah go ‘appen.


Small tips when submitting your work : –

-Try to keep your short scripts simple in regards to staging, multiple scene & location changes may be challenging for a director and harder to perfect in a play with restricted time.

-Less characters the better. For reasons listed above.

-Nice twists, strong begginings and memorable endings play out beautifully on stage for short pieces, in my opinion anyway but who am I?
At 8-15 minutes per peice your looking to hook your audience in as soon as possible and hold their interest right up until the end.

Now you’ve done all the above, had your boyfriend read the script aloud and wholeheartedly agree your the next best thing to touch uk theatre and then boom… you get that painfully polite ‘sorry on this occasion we will not be using your play’.

Now what?


At this point I delete the email and go back to regular scheduling, but I’m a stubborn Taurus and this might not work for everyone.

Some tips that I would like to follow in a ideal world;

Read the email to the end, hear them out.
– Maybe the email states the exact reason your script hasn’t been chosen.

-Ask for feedback, for self development reasons.
Maybe the script just needs that one likkl tweak.

And lastly, this one I do follow you’ll be glad to know.
– Don’t take it too personal, apply for smaller scale scratch nights where submission numbers may be relatively lower.

Send your work out to many festivals at a time so your not just banking on one, don’t loose faith, rejection emails aren’t always a direct criticism of your writing skills so keep at it…eventually something will bang.





How I produced my first full length show

Gather your snacks, today I’ll share my first experience producing my own full length theatre show, in the hopes it provides at least a bit of inspiration that you can do it too and you don’t need to wait for theatre companies to do it for you.

So on 20th October 2016 I wrote this tweet: –

Anyone that knows me offline can agree that I’m a complete control freak and birthday-zilla and so planning my birthday 7 months early would be totally normal; even more so the fact I would be turning 25 that April 2017.

I wanted to do something momentous and that I would always remember, at this time I’d only had one short script produced (thank you Theatre 503) and so I was definitely a baby in this whole theatre ting (still am but that’s a story for another day).

So I began writing my first full length play (because if I had any hopes of actually showing a play on my birthday, I’d have to like, actually write one.)


‘The Inmate Monologues’ was born around 2/3 weeks after if I remember rightly and so began the search for a director as this seemed like the next sensible adulty-theatre-practitioner-in-the-making step.

After God knows how many useless meetings and long winded emails, one thing became painfully obvious; no one was gonna get this project off the ground if I didn’t.
Subsequently this led me to deciding to direct my production myself.

Understand at this point I’d never directed a damn thing in my life and written just one script.


I think the only thing I actually had on my side was the fact I went to theatre ALOT so had a intricate understanding of what I liked and what I didn’t like; I also produced a monthly spoken word event so I was clued up on the logistics of event running.

Over two days of auditions I teamed up with two young ladies and offered them the opportunity to both act and co-direct, best decision ever and then the rehearsals began.

(All this before the venue had actually been secured by the way.)

I was internally battling with myself about whether I wanted to go big (180 seats) and risk performing to a hand full of friends and family, or going smaller and trying to sell out my debut show.

The second option proved more cost efficient for a first show and so it began; I decided to use The Hen & Chickens theatre in Islington which seats 50, over the course of two Sundays in April.

And then this happened…


The things they don’t tell you;

– Rehearsals will eat out your bank account, anyone that tells you different is either rich or a liar.
If your going to produce a show yourself; I would say budget for loads of rehearsals; even more than you think your team will need.
Find a list of rehearsal spaces and enquire about availability, cost wise its better to secure dates and times that work for everyone rather than just cramming in rehearsal dates that only one member of your team can attend.

– I would recommend a smaller venue over a course of days rather than a big venue for one date. In my personal opinion it makes more sense as it allows people who cant make one date to still have an opportunity to see your work.
Also with fringe theatres they usually have their own followings who will come along just because of the venue your showing your work.
This is just my opinion though, especially if this is your first production.

– Box office split vs straight hire?
Box office split will see you splitting your profits with the theatre venue, this is good if you don’t have the money to put up a deposit or etc but lets say for example your show doesn’t sell out.
At a 50/50 profit share will you have enough money to break even on what you’ve invested in your project? Also if you are paying all members of the creative team will you be able to afford to pay them?

Straight hire; you pay an upfront cost and get to keep all box office takings.
This works well but depending on venue and size be prepared the straight hire fee may be quite costly.

– Getting people from the industry to see your work will be like pulling your teeth out, especially if this is your first show.
For my first production I invited around 6 different industry people to come down and see it (for free by the way) and none turned up.
For my second show I invited around 12, 4 turned up.
Invite as many as you can and account for no shows and people that just wont reply to your email.


Don’t be bitter, be better.

If theatre is truly the industry you’ve chosen to work in, eventually there will be a time these people will see your work, maybe this time just wasn’t meant to be.
Honestly, you have to tell yourself this or you will end up hating everyone.

Last minute costs that may creep up on you:
– Remember you need to have a lighting/sound technician on the day.
– Props; if your gonna have any.
-Not a cost, as such, but if your inviting industry people then account for the fact you will offer a complimentary ticket which is essentially a financial loss.
– Last minute rehearsals if everything isn’t how you’d like it to be before the show date.

Other than that the only advice I would give is make sure you have the right team, a great team will make everything smooth sailing.
I’ve been blessed both times I’ve produced to work with a great team of creatives.

Be selective with who you work with as it will make all the difference once the pressure kicks in couple hours before doors open.

Enjoy the process and invite me to the show,
Ta x



Creative arts, Theatre, Uncategorized

How to get your work off the page and on to stage – My Guide

Welcome to my new theatre focused blog; ‘Just Another Black Playwright’ which I decided is a much needed; no fuckery, no filter, no tom-foolery insight into the world of theatre as I try to navigate my way through as a 25 year old black female from Brixton.

By no means is this blog going to serve as some extensive guide to becoming the next big thing in theatre; because honestly sis…

who the hell am I ?

It’s just a light hearted back stage pass to my story so far; and a chance to journey with me as I hopefully evolve into what exactly I want to be…an established and respected playwright.


I like to say Amen randomly, you’ll get used to that also.

So here it is, my first blog post/introduction type thing.
I’m going to title this one… ‘How to get your words off the page and on to stage’ and i’m going to like, help you with that.

Or at least offer some actual useful advice; based off what I’ve learnt and how I got people who felt sorry for me to go on stage and actually care enough to memorise lines I’d written.


Okay first things first:

Go to the theatre, often.
If its theatre you’ve decided you want to write for; then at least have a basic understanding of the work thats out there, what you like and what you don’t like and why.

That’s already half the work done.
Find out what it is you want to see on stage; or what isn’t on stage just yet and then…write the narrative yourself.

Decide whether your first literary explosion will be a full length production (60-90 minutes) which will be over 60+ pages btw or are you looking at creating a smaller piece i.e a short (10-15 minutes)?

So, you’ve written your script and now you have decided you want to stage it. To actual people and with an actual cast.



I would highly recommend festivals; like overly overly recommend festivals.
So in the paragraphs below; that’s what i’ll talk about; submitting work to festivals:

I’ve only actually produced myself 2/8 times my theatre work has been staged; the rest of the time it’s been other theatre companies that I’ve submitted my work too; that have picked it up for a festival and found me a cast and director.

How do you find out about festivals looking to produce new-writing?

London Playwrights Blog
They have a weekly roundup of play-wrighting call outs / festivals with a list of all closing dates.

BBC Writers Room
They also have a ‘opportunities’ page which lists all play-weighting call outs / festivals.

Facebook groups such as :
BOSSY , Playwrighting UK , Theatre Opportunities and stuff .

I can’t stress this enough; TWITTER.
When I first joined twitter I followed literally anyone and everyone that had something to do with theatre; including any theatre company I came into contact with.
This was a great tool for seeing theatre call-outs and etc on my timeline; and definiteley exposed me to a few call outs / opportunities I would of missed otherwise.



BBC Writers room has script examples for you to read; please also search online for theatrical script examples. Please don’t just wing it, PLEASE DON’T JUST WING IT.
Learn what a script looks like.

Ok so you’ve seen the perfect opportunity for you to send in your script:

1. First things first; read over it, once you’ve done that I would suggest re-reading over it.

Repeat this process a couple of times until the script/story is so embedded in your sub-conscious you could talk about in your sleep.
Each time you read over it you’ll probably notice a couple of mistakes you’ve previously missed.

2. Read your script aloud; or if you can, get someone else too.

This is REALLY good for seeing how practical your narrative actually is, sometimes something may sound really good on paper and then once actually said out loud you realise it’s too much of a mouthful; or just completely doesn’t fit the character’s personality.
Happens to me all the time, honestly. It’s nothing personal.

3. Send out the ting’.

Don’t over think it, the fact you’ve made it to the end of your script is a blessing in itself.
Save your file as PDF or a word document and then get submitting.
For extra points, try submitting to various places at once.

4. Keep writing.

This might not be your script that gives you the big break; but the next script you write could be.
As silly as that sounds, its a good way to keep yourself motivated and constantly writing.
So whilst you wait for that reply, keep writing more material and keep sending your work out.

Lastly, Good luck.

Next week’s post i’ll write about ‘How I Produced my own show’, for all that are looking at self-funding a production.