Theatre in Wales

Commentary and extended critical writing on theatre, dance and performance in Wales

Sgript Xplosure 2

Sgript Cymru reports on the recent three day workshops

Sgript Cymru's second Sgript Xplosure event followed a different course to the first with a strong emphasis on bringing writers together with the companies and directors who might consider producing their work. The theme of 'Who are we writing for?' provided the starting point for an examination of the needs of companies and their audiences.

Despite the discursive nature of the event individual works for the stage were not neglected. Thursday night's reading of Kaite O'Reilly's award-winning play 'Yard', set in a failing Valley's butchering business, was praised for the intensity of the performances and its extraordinary use of language. This play by a Cardiff-based writer has been seen in London and Berlin but not in Wales, and the reading went some way to redressing this situation. Friday night saw a developmental reading of the first act of Geraint Lewis's 'Adar y nos': a darkly comic chamber drama, dealing with the decline of village life and vigilantism. This was very much work in progress, and the two days of work with actors focussed strongly on developing the characters, giving the writer inspiration for a second draft.

Workshops over the three days included Christine Harmer Brown's well-received examination of structure, and Emily Nightingale's delightful exploration of images and inspiration, which although aimed at beginners provided the experienced writers attending with an inspiring approach to beginning a new work.

Saturday featured the regular open-access workshop offering the chance for writers to hear sections of their work read by actors. A visitor arriving cold to the scene would have noted the range of style and content on offer, and might well have concluded that the future was in good hands. The evening of discussion might have led this visitor to qualify their judgement as some speakers strayed into the well-worn grooves of past arguments about funding, politics and other intractable problems.

Despite these digressions the issue of 'who are we writing for?' met with rich and varied responses. Of particular value was the wealth of knowledge around children and young people offered by Rosamunde Hutt (Theatre Centre), with an examination of the rigorous demands such audiences make on the writer. With well-attended afternoon workshops as well as evening discussion from Geinor Jones (Theatr na n'Og), Gaynor Lougher (Hijinx) and Jeremy Turner (Arad Goch), ranging across the needs of both building-based producing companies and touring into communities, the discussion was characterised by an openness and a willingness to explore possibilities on all sides. For the evening they were joined by Tim Baker (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), Phil Clarke (Sherman Theatre), Natasha Betteridge (Northampton Theatres) and David Prescott (Plymouth Theatre Royal). The day offered hope for future fruitful collaboration between a wide range of writers and directors, a theme picked up by Natasha Betteridge speaking of her own regional concerns, in terms of finding a future for new work based upon the unique relationships between writers and communities.

author:Simon Harries

original source:
01 March 2001


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