Marianne Powell, 9 January 2016

How do you make the transition from playwright to theatremaker? What does it mean

to identify yourself in these different ways, and does it even matter?

Below are just some of the themes that came up.

As writers we might be bound by the process we know. How do unlearn that?

One participant talked about creating open space musicals, and the idea of ‘writing on

actors’ instead of writing on paper. What comes out of that might be a score, rather

than a script. Another mentioned the process of Chaos Baby, a collaborative show that

came out of D&D and created in open space.

How do you find your role as a writer in a devising process?

Do you still have the final yes/no on what goes on? Are you comfortable letting go of

that control. One participant mentioned that writers are often unused to being in a

rehearsal room, and may feel uncomfortable. A few people suggested ‘devising for

writers’ course would be helpful. It can be difficult for writers and actors to play

together, one participant said, but the results can be great when they do. One

participant mentioned a project ‘Selfies’ - where writers performed their own work on

the theme of being a playwright in the West Midlands.

How can you find new ways to understand text?

Some people suggested an acting course as a way in, to fully understand the process.

One participant mentioned that in the US there are ‘acting for writers’ courses, but

none in the UK as far as we know. A voice coach talked about her work with poets,

and working with embodied language. She said that poets had noticed a shift in their

writing once they started working with their breath and their body. Something similar

for other writers could also be useful.One participant described a process where a

writer gave actors monologues which they played around with for five days and

created new work from

How do you find collaborators?

People suggested a couple of ways into this. It could mean hiring a space and then

putting out an open call for actors and directors to come and play. (Being clear about

what's involved, what it might lead to or not.) Other people suggested finding

companies who were already doing it, and offering to be a writer for them as a way of

getting started.

Is solo performance a good option?

A few people shared their experience of creating one-person shows. We talked about

how to make these shows theatrical, and how theatrical they needed to be. This can

be very exposing, if an audience doesn't like your work. But it's also a way into

creating work without having to collaborate with lots of others, perhaps just a director.

Participants: Nicola Collett, Cathianne Hall, Amie Taylor, Vanessa Oakes, Antonio

Ferrera, Thomas Ryalls, Gerard Bell, Jack Hudson, Susie Sillett, Marlien van Liempt,

Katie Jackson, Serafina Salvador and other.


Writing, finding collaborators, writing, solo performance, theatremaking, collaborating,

Solo Performance