I am currently developing a One Woman theatre piece – a true story about a female soldier, entitled ‘Heroine’. All details are online at www.heroinetheplay.com.
I have also written a TV pilot about real life psychic healer Erika Schwenk, with gratefully appreciated guidance so far from Erik Bork, Katy McCaffrey and Jessica Sharzer.
My highly successful adaptation of Virginia Ironside’s The Huge Bag of Worries has run consistently since 2002 in Scotland with sponsorship from BBC’s Children in Need and also the British Council.
My play for trapeze ‘Hester and Jude’ was shortlisted by the Almeida Theatre, London and is now being adapted for screen.
As a writer, I produced, acted in and wrote site-specific new writing project in Hoxton Hall in London, a sister project of the Glasgow version. ‘I Confess, a show for London’ went ahead with Arts Council funding and sponsorship from the Jerwood Space, to great acclaim. Amongst the stellar cast were Adam Godley, Susan Worsfold and Allan Corduner; Rebecca Lenkiewitz, Sean Buckley and Robin Soanes on the writing team. It was directed by Anna Linstrum and Christine Hathway was production manager. Monologues from the show have since been published with Capercaillie books or from Samuel French, for £6.99. It’s a collection of monologues from the Glasgow show, one of which is mine.
Also, I completed some research on the breakthrough vocal technique of Dr George with the artistic directors of The National Theatre Scotland and the Traverse theatre, led by Ros Steen, Head of Voice at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Scotland. This research has been published in association with the Centre for Voice in Performance, RSAMD, UK.
FEEDBACK FROM THE WORK-IN-PROGRESS AUDIENCE FOR I CONFESS, LONDON
From The Arts Council of England
“Very high standards artistically, an impressive achievement.”
– Salette Gressert, drama officer
From Soho Theatre, London
“I really enjoyed the afternoon; I thought the pieces were beautifully written and performed for the most part and by and large, all of them in some way took advantage of the destabilising but very affecting dynamic between a single performer and audience member.
I found the showing quite provocative; sometimes very calming and soothing, though I think that came through in the wordless perambulations from space to space. I wasn’t altogether comfortable and didn’t always know where to stand or look. I particularly liked the pieces that acknowledged and made a virtue of the one on one vibe as opposed to the pieces that pretended at an ambient passer-by dynamic.
I think there is real potential to develop this work; at its best it was revelatory, profoundly intimate, moving.”
– Nina Steiger, Literary Manager
From The Almeida Theatre, London
“Thank you so much for inviting me to I Confess, and sorry I had to shoot off. I really enjoyed it though and I absolutely think it has legs for the future. I found it a very challenging and enjoyable experience. It isn’t easy on you as an audience member because you have to decide to participate, but I think that’s its joy.
The pieces that worked best were the ones where I felt I had accidentally stepped into a tiny moment in time, and glimpsed something transient. When it didn’t work, it was because I sensed that I was awaited as an audience. I think it is just a question of getting the writers to work more closely with their performers in the space. I don’t think you have to sacrifice the integrity of the content and writing by giving it a dramatic concept, I just think you can make it even more an experience.
That’s it really. I thought it was great. It has all the content that Shunt sometimes lack, and my feeling would be to give it some of their theatrics … Keep me updated? I’d love to know what you plan.
– Jenny Worton, Artistic Associate
From LIFT festival, UK
“First of all I thought it was fantastic! As a reasonably seasoned theatre goer, it is not often that I go to see something which feels genuinely new and different in terms of its engagement with the audience, but the experience of the one on one performances definitely ticked that box! The mixture of terror and privilege that I encountered was a thrill, but also forced me to give each performance my fullest attention (which often, in the safety of a large audience, does not happen). So in the short time that I had with each character, I felt that I had established a real connection, and genuinely cared about their differing situations.”
– Paddy Chatterton, Producer
From BBC Radio 4
“Thank you so much for inviting me along yesterday. It was a strange and pleasurable afternoon. I have lots of thoughts. I do think it has a future. Some of the writing was wonderful. As an audience we’re so close to the performers that you can almost hear the thought process. Writers tricks and touches have to be stripped away to allow the actors space to think and connect with the listener.
The difference between the devised pieces and the written ones is interesting. The constructed narrative starts to look a little jaded against the freshness and uncertainty of what looks like an improvised piece.
Obviously the natural extension of this idea is for radio.
You’ve brought together a wonderful collection of artists.
Anyway, thank you. I hope you’re happy with the piece and well done! It’s a great adventure.”
– Steven Canny, Producer
From Freelance Theatre Directors
“Thanks very much for inviting me to the show on Sunday; I enjoyed it very much. I hope the following feedback is useful — these ‘criticisms’ are opportunities to develop the show, not failures to have achieved something on the very restricted schedule and budget which this R&D allowed; in respect of those you’ve done a great job (which I think you probably know!)”
Most importantly, I very much liked the exceptionally intimate moments. Being alone with the actor creates a very different dynamic to that of a normal audience and performer, one in which our audience reactions are not permitted, and we are forced to confront the character and story in a much more immediate and personal way.
Moving from space to space was beautifully choreographed by FoH staff, becoming part of the experience, and this seamlessness was something I enjoyed, but the timing perhaps requires a certain consideration in the writing. allowing us to understand something of the character before the confession proper began (was a good idea as) for an audience member too, these confessions require intense attention and a very quick absorption of cues. This doesn’t mean excising subtlety, but a strong foundation helped – and you did this in your piece, you allowed us to come up to speed before the confession ‘proper’ began.
Again, it’s correlative of the R&D aspect of the work, but there was a similarity among the pieces. Probably radio, where monologues are already at home, is attractive, but to me this piece really lived as interesting theatre, and I hope it goes further.”
– Alister Lownie
“The porousness of the building and the relentlessness of the experience were both things I liked. The subject matter was broad, which is a godo thing. I loved the unexpected journey between pieces and the stories themselves were all so engaging. In general, I thought the reading was absolutely fantastic and the production values were very high. Front of house ‘actors’ were absolutely brilliant.”
– Helen Chadwick
“A highly imaginative project”
– Mavis Sawdy
“The pieces that really used the space were the most powerful: definitely a future as a full production.”
– Rikki Beadle Blair
“A very powerful and intimate idea. The most penetrating pieces were those where I felt a true confession was being made, rather than the storytelling of a sad event. Very complex narratives don’t fit – I preferred the simple, direct, highly emotional ones. It make the teller travel in his memories and the listener enters them. A creative idea with lots of potential, that can be worked into full production.”
– Miguel Pinheiro
“Monologues could be simplified to be more understandable to an unprepared audience. Absolutely has a future as a full production. Very good general standard of writing. Acting very good.”
– Will Sheldon
“I thought it might have been too intense, but it was brilliant, gripping. More difficult to follow the more abstract pieces of writing, but very good writing standard generally. Well organised ushers who worked well with the space and the flow of the show. Enjoyed the sense of atmosphere that was in each space, esp when I felt I was intruding into someone’s personal space. Being able to explore the building and be part of it was a privilege and a moving experience. Perfect duration. I felt like I was absorbed and taken into peoples lives I would otherwise never know. Intense and thought provoking. A very individual performance and idea, an amazing experience. I have never had a theatre experience like it and would definitely like to experience it again. I was expecting to feel uncomfortable being so close and interacting with the actors but it was the opposite, and it left me wanting more.”
– Zoe de Pas