14 June 2013
Posted in General
Olivia Hetreed is the new President of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain, following a vote at the Guild's AGM
Olivia, best known for scripting the hugely successful film Girl With A Pearl Earring, has served for several years as Chair of the Guild's Film Committee and a member of our Executive Council. Olivia started her career as a documentary, drama and film editor and moved into writing with a series of family films for ITV including The Treasure Seekers and The Canterville Ghost. Other credits include the award-winning Man of Law’s Tale for the BBC and the feature film Wuthering Heights, released in 2011. She is currently in development with Philip and Liz, the love story of the young Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth. Olivia’s unopposed election as President was announced at today’s Guild Annual General Meeting. She takes over from the eminent playwright David Edgar, who has been our distinguished President for the past six years.
Addressing the AGM, Olivia was passionate about the role of writers. 'We all need stories – to tell us who we are, what we have been and what we aspire to, what’s good and bad in our lives today and what concerns we have for ourselves and our children,' she said. 'We are the storytellers for our generation, a huge trust and responsibility. Without us, without the stories we tell, there is no bigger story. I would like all Guild members to hold on to that thought on the many occasions when you are made to feel that you or your work is not important. Your words, our words, are essential, whatever the medium. Without the storyteller, there is no story, only incoherent fragments.'
Olivia continued: 'Most of the Guild’s efforts remain unseen and unknown to members or the outside world. My focus as President will be to make the work of the Guild and its members more visible, both internally and externally.'
The Guild's chair, Roger Williams; the two deputy chairs Ming Ho and Antony Pickthall, and the treasurer Andrew S. Walsh, have all been re-elected unopposed. There are some new faces on the Executive Council of the Guild: Piers Beckley will represent members in London and the South-East of England, with Jayne Kirkham representing the South-West region around Bristol and Bath. Bill Armstrong takes over as television rep, and Nick Wood is the new theatre rep. Several vacancies remain, so if you are interested in helping to run your union, please see the nomination forms that were enclosed with the recent issue of UK Writer – or contact the Guild office.
The AGM approved a rule change to introduce a banding system for subscriptions – this has been designed to make administration easier, while ensuring that most members will notice little or no difference in the amount they pay for Guild membership.
An emergency motion was carried deploring the Greek government’s closure of its national public service broadcaster, ERT, describing it as "a vital component of a properly functioning democracy and a mainstay of national culture. The motion calls on the Greek government to reinstate ERT immediately and honour all contracts with writers and other staff and suppliers.
14 June 2013
Posted in Theatre
Christos Callow Jr. introduces a call for papers for a conference on science fiction theatre
Stage The Future will be, to my knowledge, the first academic conference on science fiction theatre. The idea for such an event came last year when I realised that science fiction and theatre can produce fascinating results when combined.
The first thing to do was to decide where a conference should happen and with whom I would organise it. There are almost no academics researching this subject, but there’s another PhD student – and fellow SF playwright – Susan Gray, who’s researching SF Theatre for her PhD. I wrote to her and I’m happy to say she accepted, so we started planning the conference.
But just what is SF Theatre exactly?
Science fiction theatre could be the answer to how – and why – theatre would survive the modern digital age; it could also attract an important part of the young generation, namely the geeks, to theatres where they’d get much more than the big budget visual effects of Hollywood.
As a genre, science fiction theatre can contribute to both science fiction and theatre, offering new insights, new ways of exploring the relationship between humanity and technology and, of course, new challenges for theatre-makers. Indeed, this could well be the theatre of the future.