Your reports Find reports Entry points for older writers Entry points for older writers How to find development support and a nurturing environment when you're over 25 Convener(s): John Myatt Participants: Attendees included Kathryn Worthington, Andrew Piper, George, plus a few more ears and voices that really helped to move my thinking on. Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: The reality check: sending your script and hanging your future on the feelings/opinions of a theatre reader isn’t perhaps the best way forward. If you want a better handle on your own future, you have to another solution, other than these gatekeepers and their reading piles. Here’s a summary of the discussion that focused on how to get your work seen by the people who you need to see it … … JUST DO IT The age-old argument: do you rely on others or do-it-yourself? DIY doesn’t have to mean get it to the fringe. It can be a weekend workshop, or a rehearsed reading. Find a director who can help. Find actors. Offer to pay them for a weekend workshop: expenses or nominal fee that’s offset by artistic satisfaction of their involvement in the creative process. Play around with your play, with people who can help you spot what works, what doesn’t, and what fixes could happen. And when it’s ready, get it in front of a director … … MAKE FRIENDS Get to know a theatre, a director, a producer. Know their programme. See their work and go to them if you like it. Don’t ask them to read your play: just ask for advice. A chat over coffee. Think hard about who you want to know better, then be gentle with your alliance. Have plenty things to talk about beyond your play … …SEE STUFF Seek out work you enjoy. See it all, if you can. It will help you see what’s working, what’s current. And it will help you to find the people who it’s right to talk with … … BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR BIOG Think about your story as a writer: where you’ve come from, the decisions you’ve made, what you’ve done. You don’t need to talk about every play you’ve written. Just the ones that found a space and/or an audience. It’s not about creating CV checklist. It’s about revealing something about your drive to write for the stage. What sort of writer are you? Where are you coming from? What are you going to be like to work with … … BE CONFIDENT ABOUT YOUR WORK It’s easy to slip into unhelpful thinking patterns when you work so much alone with occasional basic feedback. Which leads to apologetic approaches. If you’re going to start talking to people about you and your work, be confident about it. If you think it’s strong, you don’t have to say it; the way you talk about it, or yourself, will show this. Confidence breeds confidence. Unlearn your negative, safety-barrier introductions and invite support … … SO YOU'RE NOT A NEW VOICE Some theatres, some people, like to feel they’ve played a significant role in your development, in discovering you. Maybe everyone likes to feel includes in the playwriting process. Therefore, a raw first play might be more attractive than a more polished, aware piece. So … … GIVE THEM SPACE TO HELP One example: stage directions. Hold them back as much as possible. Let directors and designers be excited by the possibilities when they’re reading. Let actors dress the text … …BE JUST A LITTLE CANNY It doesn’t have to be cynical or Zeitgeist-chasing. But there will be ‘gaps in the market’, things of the now. Subjects and stories that haven’t been told. Picking one of these as your first play could make a difference. You’ll have plenty of time to explore your other ideas when you’re in there and listened to … … EMBRACE YOUR NEW D&D MEMBERSHIP Where to find the energy and confidence to do all of the above? Easy. D&D. Start there. Realise it’s not such a big, cold world of closed doors. Change how you see and think about the landscape. Change how you feel about yourself. Change the way you work with your work … Thanks to everyone who came to the session. And to everyone at the event, who gave their wisdom so warmly.