Playful Writing: Writing for theatre without writing plays

Convener(s): Matilda Leyser

Participants: Oli Townsend, Hanna Walker, Ben Luke, Katey Woolmer, Gregor Henderson-Begg, Anouk Miskti, Sam Hall, Emma Newborn, Catriona James, Jen Toksvig, Peter Cant, Mary O’Conor, Grict Spanhove, Greg Wohead

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Lots and lots of questions…………

What does it mean to be a ‘writer’? Is it a role that anyone can inhabit?

What would it be like if the writer’s name was left off the credits of everything in the theatre for 6 months?

What is the difference between the (live) experience of reading and seeing a piece of theatre?

What are playful plays?

How would you leave enough space in a theatre show/ play so that, as with a book, the audience had to construct the world in their imaginations?

What makes a text more suitable to be read (silently on page) as against performed out loud?

Why is poetry often painful to hear on stage?

Am I the best person to read out loud/ perform my own work?

How much do you experience the process of writing/ composition to be similar/ different from improvising?

Do you use improvising exercises to write?

Should we just talk about ‘creating’ and ditch the word ‘writing’?

What do an audience need to stay engaged in a bit of writing as they listen to it?

Are different forms of writing inherently different skills? Or is it all the same skill set and if you can write poetry then you can write dialogue too?

Can writing be an extension of movement?

When you write do you take it down from dictation in your imagination or do you see images, or what?

What is the difference, if any, between a monologue performance and a performance poet performing their work?

What makes a play ‘a play’ if there are plays without words?