Friday, April 24, 2015

Working in the Theatre - unpaid/low paid.

There's an article doing the rounds via The Stage and now the BBC about the actor/director Samuel West where he talks about how the theatre industry is a little but unsustainable because of all the unpaid/low paid work creatives (in his case, actors) are required to work on. On top of recent arguments about how "Fringe" is a defunct term and how the 1% pay rise for playwrights at the RSC/National/Royal Court isn't enough there are some interesting discussions going on at the moment in the industry about not just why we make theatre but how it is made.

Last year I received my first proper fully paid, writer/dramaturg commission Beauty and the Beast - two years after graduating. It came as a result of an internship with the Norwich Puppet Theatre and sort of demonstrates the process about how working for nothing should work. The internship was intense and incredible and I learned so much, found what I wanted to do with my life and then it didn't just end - it went somewhere.

Theatre gives back a lot to the people that make it. It offers a platform, it offers exposure (two excuses often used to justify no money) but it also lets us connect with each other, make great work and share. I consider myself a professional writer regardless of if I am paid and whatever the level of 'platform' or 'exposure.' I also increasingly am looking for way more than just that as a reason to write and not be paid for the time and energy it takes to make work. The creative challenge of a genre piece for example, or collaborating with an artist, or working with a director to make work in a different way. All of these things need to keep you growing and grafting as an artist, even if you are not being financially rewarded.

Perhaps the point not picked out and highlighted in the Samuel West argument is the sustainability argument - how many people is theatre going to lose to 'real jobs' that pay the rent. Bread-lining is absolutely exhausting and I've lost count of how many people I know have been forced into that position. It takes massive guts and love to stick it out.

The picture in this post is of my files of the plays and projects I have written over the last year and a bit. The financial income? Not very much. The professional, artistic and personal development? Priceless.

Be sure to check out my website for details on the love and guts. x

Monday, April 20, 2015


David:             Dear Ed,

Nearly that time again. Still at least you’re more fun than Gordon.


Love, David.

He sighs.

Dear Nick,

I suppose you have to come again because otherwise it would be awkward.


Love, David.

Nick:               David! I thought we weren’t speaking! Does this mean we have a future?

David:             Nick. Just don’t bring Nigel.

Ed:                  Nick? You know only invited because you were last time.

                        I mean. David. Nick’s made this like totally awkward because he like invited Nigel last year to his ridic sub-par Eurotrash bash.

David:             Please can you both just RSVP! I need to sort out the catering.

Nigel enters.

Ed:                  Oh Nigel? Did you get invited to the party?

Nigel:              David! Party? I’ll bring the beer.

Nick:               Wait, so Nigel is invited? You could have given me a heads up here. I thought we were supposed to be partners in government.

David:             Nigel is not coming.

Natalie enters.

Natalie:           Hello! Why aren’t there any girls at this party?

Ed and Nick exchange looks.
Nigel:              You weren’t invited.

Ed:                  Who’s she?

Nick:               Natalie?

Ed:                  Who’s Natalie?

Nick:               It doesn’t matter.

Nigel:              Er, David? You need to invite me. I am a party!

Ed pulls Nick aside.

Ed:                  If we make David invite Nigel you do realise they’ll just fight each other?

Nick:               You need to invite Nigel.

Ed:                  It won’t be the same without him

David:             “Dear Ofcom,


Love, David.”

Now listen, Ed and Nick and Nigel,

This is my party and I invite who I want. And I’m not inviting anyone unless Natalie comes

So there.

Natalie:           Oh David! I think I’m in love.

Nigel:              Nice try, sweetheart.

Ed:                  But I don’t want her to come! She’s steals all my friends!

Nick:               And well, we don’t like your parties anyway.

Nigel:              I might just host my own party.

David:             So, Nick and Ed and Nigel aren’t speaking to me now. And that’s your fault.

Natalie:           You invited them!

Nigel:              I brought beer.

They aren’t listening.

David:             You know you could have just RSVPed like normal people and kept this between us. But know you had to bring Nigel into it!

Nick:               We don’t need you anyway!

David:             You jumped at coming last time!

Ed:                  You did!

Nick:               Whose side are you on?

Ed:                  Not yours.

Nick:               Well I’m going to write to express my deep dissatisfaction at the situation.

Ed:                  Me too.

Nigel:              Me three.

Ed:                  Oh piss off! No one wants you here.

Ed, Nick, David and Nigel exit in an annoyed rabble.


Natalie:           Hey ITV, Don’t forget me! I’m still here. I’m still relevant people know my name now!

                        I’m still invited! Aren’t I? Hey wait! I have my RSVP. I’m still here!

She rushes off.

Nicola enters.

Nicola:            Dear England,

So are we!

Love, the SNP



It's spring here.

Thing are new.

The birds are singing and the blossom is out.

I've had a website for a while now with up-coming projects and work-in-progress stuff. I love the way it looks and will be keeping that up - but I also miss the rawness of blogging and how it is a mini soap box. Twitter isn't long enough, instagram is too pretty and I can't bear the thought of tumbling so here we are back on good-old-blogger, trying it out again.

This page basically wins at having old hits on it, which is why it is still love. So thanks for dropping by and checking out all my old student theatre posts, I took reviewing so seriously then, and now, I do sort of miss it - although I sure prefer making work than reviewing others! And thanks for coming to check out the words to Each Peach Pear Plum, it's my go too last story when putting my nephew to bed, because I can 'read it' in the dark.

Anyway, here's to posting reasonably regularly and keeping updated with the world.

As I say, it's new.