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.

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Amen.
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.

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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.

Sick.

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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 .

& ALSO
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.

LEARN HOW TO FORMAT.
LEARN HOW TO FORMAT YOUR SCRIPT.
PLEASE LEARN HOW TO FORMAT YOUR SCRIPT.
PLEASE PLEASE LEARN HOW TO FORMAT YOUR SCRIPT.

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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.

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