The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain is supporting London Writers’ Week once again, which sees a programme of events celebrating new writing in the UK, during the week of 4 July 2016.
This year takes as its theme the best new ideas in theatre writing in the UK.
WGGB is a partner for the second year running and its Theatre Committee will be hosting a day of events on Wednesday 6 July 2016.
Theatre Co-Chairs David Edgar and Jenifer Toksvig will chair panels on fact-based theatre and bookwriting for musical theatre:
The bit that isn’t the songs: bookwriting for musical theatre
6 July 2016, 2-3.30pm (free), Platform Theatre, Central Saint Martins
Most people can probably hum a show tune, and musicals are often known by the names of the songwriters, but what about the bits in between? Aren’t the scenes just holding the songs together? How much book is too much book? And why does nobody ever know the name of the bookwriter?
These questions and more will be tackled by accomplished British musical bookwriters. Playwright Catherine Johnson created the original catalogue musical Mamma Mia!, for both stage and screen. Writer and director Gurinder Chadha brought Southall into the West End with the stage musical Bend It Like Beckham, adapted from the screenplay. Playwright and screenwriter Joe Penhall wrote the book for the Olivier Award winning Kinks musical Sunny Afternoon. American writer and composer Rob Hartmann’s musical books include Vanishing Point and Kelly the Destroyer vs the Springfield Cobras; he also works as facilitator of new musical writing at both New York University and London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
Too true? The aesthetics and ethics of fact-based theatre
6 July 2016, 4-5.30pm (free), Platform Theatre, Central Saint Martins
Fact-based theatre has been among the dominant drama forms of this century. Why is this so? How is it made and what is its political purpose? Is it just journalism carried on by other means? What are its rules of engagement? Where is it headed?
These questions will be discussed by four leading writers of fact-based theatre. Alecky Blythe pioneered her tape-based play-making technique with Come out Eli and The Girlfriend Experience, going on to revolutionise the form with the musical London Road at the National Theatre. Like Alecky Blythe, novelist Gillian Slovo has written an interview-based drama about the 2011 London riots; she has also written Guantanamo: ‘Honor Bound to Defend Freedom’ (with Victoria Brittain) and her Another World: Losing Our Children to Islamic State premiered at the National Theatre in May. Robin Soans’ interview-based political dramas include A State Affair, The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, Talking to Terrorists and Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage. Many of Alistair Beaton’s plays for stage and television are (loosely) based on fact or factual possibility; they include Feelgood, King of Hearts, The Trial of Tony Blair and his new play – Fracked! Or: Please don’t use the F-Word, which is opening at Chichester in July.
Other events, which all take place at Central Saint Martins college in London’s King’s Cross (pictured above), include:
• A showcase of Tamasha Theatre Company’s new project.
• A showcase of the Dark Horse Festival for unproduced plays being developed by the London Playwrights Blog and targeted at emerging writers.
• A workshop with Tim Crouch on his recent residency at Central Saint Martins, The Complete Deaths.
• An in conversation event with the Arts Council on Grants for the Arts and the Arts Council’s priorities in terms of theatre funding.
• A masterclass with BBC Writersroom Head Anne Edyvean on how theatre writers can make the transition to other forms of dramatic writing.
The British Writers’ Council is advising on and developing the week.
Jennifer Tuckett, Director of London Writers’ Week and Course Leader of Central Saint Martins’ MA Dramatic Writing, said:
“We hope the week provides access… to some of the most interesting theatre writing and theatre writing ideas going on in the UK. There should be something for everyone – from students to the public to writers and the industry.”
WGGB Acting General Secretary Ellie Peers said: “WGGB is proud to support London Writers’ Week once again, with its focus this year on theatre writing, and we are delighted that our Theatre Committee will be hosting a full day and two panel events.”
Further information, including bookings, can be found on the London Writers’ Week website.
Photo of Central Saint Martins college by Shutterstock.com/Ron Ellis