Pippa Roberts (Stargleam)’s Blog

Cheltenham Author and Playwright

Note: This blog has now moved to:

https://stargleam.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/testimonial-for-philippa-pippa-roberts-from-ruth-goohall-at-the-national-star-college-cheltenham/

To contact me about any of the subjects mentioned please scroll down to the contact form, or phone me on 07899401808, or Skype: pippa2221. I’d love to hear from readers.

March 12th, 2014

I’ve have taken the baton on from my friend, Eliot North http://chekhovwasadoctor.wordpress.com/, who I greatly admire. I would strongly recommend readers who are interested in the intersection of arts and sciences to look at her blog. Her project with Rachael Allen, ‘Lessons in Anatomy: dissecting medicine and health through visual and literary arts collaboration’ promises to produce some very interesting work, and I have been very impressed by the strength of her poetry. I have only just learnt about the short story, and the theatre work she is doing, but nothing surprises me when it comes to this multi-talented woman.

What am I working on?

At present I am writing poetry, plays and short stories for projects with Professor Robert (Bob) Stone, and students, at Birmingham University. Bob has summed up the work I am doing at present as ‘the development of literary prototypes’ and I can’t think of a better way to phrase it.  He has asked me to be writer on a number of projects, and I have taken up the challenge with delight. I am not allowed to say too much at present, which is very frustrating, but all will be revealed eventually.

I am working on projects connected with Cheltenham Everyman. I am a member of their ‘Writer’s Lab’ and occasionally have short pieces put on in the Studio Theatre there. I’m currently studying the art of writing for radio, through this group. They have arranged for Peter Leslie Wilde to teach us, and I’m now working on an adaptation of a short story, into a radio script.

I have several plays for theatre to finish, and several novels to do, but realistically these will have to simmer on the back burner for a while!

My stories and plays tend to be inspired by scientific and/or philosophical ideas, so I am also studying for a second degree, in science. I am still in the first year, and enjoying studying a variety of subjects, including (just finished) a course in climate change, which feels very topical! The only thing I wish is that it was possible to do the degree at a slower pace, as it does devour some of my creative time, and sets up a conflict for me.

In the past I have done journalism, and I am hoping to continue with occasional free-lance interviews with writers and scientists. However, at present I have no clear outlet for this, and it is not a high priority.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t know anybody else who is doing work like mine. Although there are a number of gifted writers who combine arts and sciences I think we all do it in our own, very distinctive, ways. Of course we are all, also, influenced by the people we work with. I enjoyed writing a play and novel based on an idea by Dr Mark Lorch at Hull University. There were real science experiments in the story, and they formed part of the plot. I had to find the plot and put it all together, but I certainly gained insights from the collaboration, and it was a great idea.

I think I am also unusual in that I am working with modern media, and modern technology, but there are traditional devices, such as prosody, that I hold dear. I love to bring together modern subject matter and traditional form, and I feel that what I am trying to do is actually to create ‘the media of the future’. My ideas are constantly being tested and debated in my present collaboration with Professor Stone, and this is adding to my skill in developing ‘literary prototypes’ for my work, in a modern, technological world.

Why do I write what I do?

I have always written compulsively, but I find that it is usually a scientific or philosophical idea which will inspire a story, play or poem. I love the excitement of exploring ideas with scientists, and learning about what they do – and I am also interested in what can be done by combining modern technology and traditional devices.

How does my writing process work?

Like Eliot I love to collaborate with people. I work twice as fast if I know there is someone waiting for the work when it is finished, and I am more able to let it go when it is finished. (I’m one of those writers who would keep work on the computer for ever… polishing and perfecting it, if I was allowed to.)

I do need a lot of ‘thinking time’. I tend to work very fast once I have worked out how I’m going to do something, but I find the thinking time allowed for projects is rarely enough. I like to believe this is because I am a very deep and original thinker, and I’m sticking with that.

What is the main challenge I have?

I have to admit that at present the main challenge is my OU Science Degree. I started by doing short courses, of ten hours a week, but now I am obliged, if I want to do the whole degree, to study for 16 hours a week. I love the work, but it is too much alongside full-time writing work. I may have to find some other way of doing it, or just resign myself to learning on each individual writing project. If I had the energy to fight another corner I would fight for the right of OU students to do an entire degree, by studying in smaller blocks (maybe 10 hours a week). As it is the writing will always win, because I am a writer before all else.

I’m passing the baton to the novelist, Clare Dudman, (http://keeperofthesnails.blogspot.co.uk, who has also become a friend, through the website, http://www.scitalk.org.uk/. I am currently reading her novel, Wegener’s Jigsaw, which is a fictionalised account of the life of Alfred Wegener. It reads a bit like a carefully crafted jigsaw, with a number of small and perfect pieces, and the most beautiful, exact descriptions of snow and ice that you will ever meet.

March 9th, 2014

Hi everyone,

I’m sorry that I have been silent for so long. I’ve moved house again – to somewhere that is really well situated from the point of view of my social life, and my work with scientists. 🙂 That’s the good news.

The bad news is that, no sooner had I settled in, than I went down with pleurisy. Those who know me will know I have had a cough for 23 years, and occasional chest pains, so I’m hoping that the diagnosis may be good news, as it is now, finally, being treated seriously.

I’m taking advantage of my time in bed to think a lot about prosody, and to try and develop a style that is modern, but appropriate for use in audio-visual materials. I’m working on a variety of projects with Professor Robert (Bob) Stone, at Birmingham University, but I have been asked not to give away too much information about this… yet. That is another reason I have gone quiet!

See you all soon,

Pippa

December 13th, 2013

This is just to tell you that The Stage has an extremely good article about the awards ceremonies at the Royal Court Theatre – and what was said about the crisis in funding at Cheltenham Everyman – and elsewhere.

http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2013/12/everyman-director-paul-milton-warns-looming-regional-theatre-crisis/

I have written, already, here about my trip to the Royal Court Theatre, to the award ceremony, where Paul Milton won the Writers’ Guild award for Encouragement of Participation in Theatre, 2013 (for the second time). I was well proud of Paul for speaking out about funding, as I know the incredible stress that our theatre has been under for the last few years.

Do see the article for precise details of what is happening. It’s very important to anyone who cares about our culture.

Pippa

Dec 11th, 2013

Hi everyone, This is very quick, as much of my news is still in that slightly fuzzy phase, when you know it’s happening, but shouldn’t give too much away. I think I can hint that I am getting involved in writing for virtual reality projects… The first meeting to discuss plans is at the beginning of January, so watch this space! 🙂

I’m also pleased to announce that the children’s book I wrote for the Hull University project is now coming out from Fractal, although it will be funded out of the original grant from STEMHE. We had some discussion with different publishers who were interested, but in the end Fractal seemed the best choice, as we already had links with educational suppliers. I have always avoided publishing my own work (although of course I edited Effie M Roberts’s war time poetry) – but this does seem to make sense. I’m also writing a lot of short stories for young children, including a Christmas collection, and I have no idea which publisher to approach. I know I have more than proved myself, with 20 years of writing stories, journalism and plays, so I am tempted to just go ahead and have everything published from Fractal. Planning something like a book fits well with my creative nature, while approaching publishers, and marketing, would score me a round 0% ! (I pay someone to market Fractal books). I should also say that I have added a new reading to my repertoire. I can now offer readings from First World War poets – suitable for the anniversaries next year. Phone me on 07961 838304 0r see my readings page for more details on this. See you all soon. I’m off to my Everyman Writers’ Lab very soon. Byeeeeeee, Pippa xx

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Brief update and News of Our Nomination for Award

Hi everyone,

I have been going through a lot of sadness in my personal life and so have not posted much in recent weeks. Fear not though. Plans are bubbling away beneath the surface, and I have been closely following some interesting scientists, with a view to collaboration. I am collecting a long list of people who definitely want to commission me, but currently don’t have the funds. I think that’s good. :/

In the realm of achievements: the Hull University project (for which I wrote a children’s play and book – see here) is being nominated for the Guardian Excellence in Widening Participation Award. Credit to Mark Lorch, who set the whole project up, advised me on the science, then went into schools and did the experiments with the children. We’re planning more in 2014.

See you all again soon, I hope.

Pippa 🙂

Image

Hi everyone,

This is very quick, as I have yet to make breakfast, but I want to tell you all about a rather exciting day I had on Friday. I’d nominated Paul Milton, our director at Cheltenham Everyman, for one of the Writers’ Guild Awards for Theatre Encouragement, and – yes – he won!

Paul – I should explain – is a committed and enthusiastic leader in the theatre. I have learnt a lot of what I know about playwriting from him. He runs an excellent Writers’ Lab, organising actors to come in and read our scripts, and give us feedback, along with his own feedback, as director. It is invaluable to all of us writers.

The certificates were awarded at the Royal Court Theatre. Mandy Fenton, of Equal Writes; Juliet Forster, from York Theatre Royal; Gillian Hambleton, of Northumberland Theatre Company, and Edge Hill University‘s Bill Hopkinson – had also won awards, and certificates were presented by David James. 🙂

Conversation over lunch was very exciting for me. I was able to sound out different directors about trends in theatre, and whether certain movements, such as verbatim theatre were dead. I was surprised how very dead they considered it to be – and had to argue my case for using real words from a recording of the Greenpeace protestors being arrested. (I’m quite interested in it – especially as it is an interesting way of linking up different kinds of media – which is something I like to do.) Gillian also suggested to me that, rather than doing a new version of Miz Margenon’s Jungle for adult actors I could do it as forum theatre. That feels very right to me, and I am going to do this.

I should have asked her who would be interested in it when I’ve done it, but it’s typical of me not to think of the practicalities. 😀

I have to go. Breakfast calls, but I hope I’ve given you a taste of that very exciting day. For more info see here:

http://www.writersguild.org.uk/news-a-features/theatre/476-theatre-encouragement-awards-2013

Love to all,

Pippa x

6th October,  2013

Pippa Roberts: About Fabien Oefner – Projects that Bring Together Art and Science

Hi everyone,

I’m sorry that I have been gone for a while. I’ve been writing – but travelling a lot. I’m now paying Gill to type my scripts and stories, as I’ve suddenly realised that the brake on my work is actually the amount of time it takes me to type something. (I’m only a self taught typist, and could be much faster.) I also have Pauline, managing my admin, and work is coming in quite steadily. I think I’m the sort of person who works well as part of a team, so these arrangements suit me.

As I’m writing plays and stories with real science in them I am naturally very interested in any other projects that bring together art and science. A new TED talk has been posted today, that brings them together in the most stunning way. Photographer, Fabien Oefner, takes photos of crystals interacting with sound waves; paint mixing with magnetic liquid, and whisky catching fire – though he stops after one demo as he says a lot of people would argue he should be drinking the whisky. He’s fun. 😀 The video is well worth watching. Have a look at:

http://on.ted.com/oefner

Now, I’d better get back to work, or maybe some serious relaxation. I had an incredibly long day yesterday – and the day before (6.30am to 8.30pm) travelling around on public transport, chasing poetry events in little villages and towns. :D) They’ve been a great couple of days, but I have to admit to being slightly tired!

See you all again soon,

Pippa x

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Mark Lorch’s Periodic Table – A Map of the Underground for Chemists 

Hi everyone,

You may have discovered the Guardian’s excellent science blogs. They cover all sorts of weird and wonderful subjects. Today the blog post was written by Mark Lorch, the scientist who worked with me on the play and novel, ‘Investigation: Haunted House’.

This is the link:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2013/sep/03/underground-map-elements-periodic-table

It was devised for Mark’s son, Sebastian, who is mad on trains – so it is not too complicated or ‘clever’ – and there is a jargon buster, to explain any difficult vocabulary.

I’ve tried to upload the image, but failed miserably. Do have a look at it. If there are any students of chemistry reading this – it may even help you to remember relationships and symbols.

Good luck! 🙂

Pippa

Friday, 30 August 2013

Canyon Found Under Greenland Ice Sheet – and thoughts of Robert Peary, by Pippa Roberts

Hi everyone,I have just seen this news from NASA:http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/icebridge/index.html#.UiEJNhukqopIt’s interesting that we are still mapping the surface of our planet. I have a particular interest in Greenland and the Polar regions, as I am working on plays set in them, and I have just – virtually – finished the OU course, ‘The Frozen Planet’ (based on David Attenborough’s TV series of this name), as background for these. (Just my TMA – (final paper) – still to go). I’ve read a huge number of books about Robert Peary’s journeys in Greenland, and the exploration of this ice sheet. I wonder what he would have thought of this news? He hoped that Greenland would turn out to be a larger landmass which would allow him to trek straight to the Pole, and he even convinced himself that he could see hills in the distance.There is so much more to this story that I am dying to tell. Look out for the play, which should be finished some time this year.

World War Two Memory Project Fails

Hi everyone,This time it’s slightly sad news. My lovely project, recording memories, has fallen flat on its face. The old people suddenly decided that I was going to write books with all their memories in, and become rich on it, so they asked for the tape to be wiped clean. I’m really disappointed because I’d been wondering if we could involve museums, and perhaps put together a book for them – but the idea of profit in my line of work is a bit of a joke. Money is not what drives me, and a collection of people’s memories is never going to be a big seller. It would probably have pleased their families though.

I felt very sad after hearing their thoughts. Sometimes I feel as if my life is a constant attempt to give to people, and most of the time they don’t want what I have to give. I think I should just focus on writing my books, but I must admit that most of my workshops do go well, and then they do enrich me as well as the people I am working with. I’m not talking about material enrichment though. I suppose spiritual is the closest word to what I want, though I am deeply wary of using the word. In one sense it does feed into my writing, so perhaps there is a grain of truth in their suspicions, but it is only in the way that all human interaction does. Everything goes into a big melting pot, and comes out in another form. So, what do I do? Go and shut myself in a room and stop interacting? Ohhh, the older I get the sillier I think the world is. How can we learn if we don’t record memories? How can the human race move on?

One lady told me recently that she burned all her mothers long letters and diaries because she felt ‘they were hers’. I don’t really understand this individualistic thinking. I would like to think that anything I’d written could contribute to human understanding and development, if it is only by learning through my mistakes, and what I record of the mistakes of others. How can they be mine after I’m gone? Whether I’m floating around on some ethereal plane; toasting my marshmallows on the fires of hell; or just plain dead, I won’t be here, and ‘they are mine’ will have no meaning.

So… not a good start to life in my new home, but apart from that everything is going well. I’m learning all the bus and train routes, and slowly fitting together my time tables. I still need more work, but I feel slightly burned by that last experience. I’m going to see if I can get some work in journalism. I enjoy that, and at least it is writing. I still dream of the day that I can just quietly get on with my books, but I’m not there yet. I am, of course, still quietly preparing the mystery I’ve talked about here, and I put my Wrinkly Monster in to try and get a scholarship for something today. Work is progressing more slowly than usual though, because an awful lot of my effort is going into finding my way around in a new area, and in stocking up the flat.

Anyway… enough woffle. See you all soon,

Pippa xx

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Pippa Roberts – Recording WW2 Memories

Dear all,

Just a quick update…

I am settled in my new flat, and loving it. I moved in on my birthday, last week, and I must admit it wasn’t the easiest birthday ever; but that is all behind me now. I finished unpacking on Friday night, and fell exhausted into bed… but since then it has been pure delight. I’ve been sharing houses since January, and had forgotten the luxury of having a bathroom and a kitchen all to myself. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time in bed eating icecream, and then deciding I’m hot and having another shower.

The surrounding countryside is superb, and I’ve already done a few bus journeys. I’ve always loved exploring, and it helps me to cope with the grief of leaving everyone I love behind. (On this point, yes, I’m a total wimp. I know people move away from their families to the other side of the world, but I’m the sort of person who puts down deep roots, and transplants with difficulty. Quite ironic when I spend my life moving!) Luckily I am not so far that I can’t visit, and I plan to do it very regularly (well, yes, I’ve been back once already.)

Now I’m busy sorting out business stuff. I think I have a PA who is very highly qualified, and just what I need, but more of that when it’s definite. I’ve also got my business accounts done for the year, so feel very organised.

Somehow (yes, I’m not sure how I managed this) I did a workshop on Friday in Ross on Wye. It had been booked for some time. I went to read some of my grandmother, Effie M Roberts‘s poems to a group of elderly people, and it got them talking about their memories of WW2. The staff asked if I could go back and do a session with them, recording their memories. So this is what I did, and found it extremely interesting and moving. I also found out some very quirky bits of information – for instance, that parachutes were prized because they could be used to make underwear! One lady said her mother probably would have done this when a parachute landed in their back garden, but it provided such wonderful games for the children that they were allowed to keep it.

We also talked about the winter of 1947. One lady said that they nearly froze; but another came in with a laugh and said it was wonderful. She remembered, as a child, jumping and going head over heels in the dry snow; and not knowing if there were hedges underneath her; it was so deep.

I loved doing this session and hope there will be others like it. I’d happily type up the material, but I’m waiting to know if the home would like me to do this. I think I’m going to approach museums and see if they would be interested in collaborating with me in any way, in this sort of work. I think it’s so important to record memories, so they are not all lost.

Well, I’d better get some sleep.

See you all soon,

Pippa xx

Saturday, 13 July 2013

My writing workshops at the National Star College, Ullenwood Manor, Cheltenham.

Hello again,I thought I should just let all my worried fans (? :/) know that things are better here. We’ve had good support from the local police station, and as far as I know, the burglaries have stopped.I’ve actually had a wonderful week, in spite of the sleep deprivation on – um – Monday? I led some writing workshops at the National Star College, at Ullenwood, Cheltenham. I’d been there before, so I was beginning to know the staff and to have an idea what to expect. The first time I went was back in December, when I was asked to do workshops around the theme of winter. I uploaded some videos of ice hotels and freezing weather onto their interactive whiteboard (which was a new skill for me), and then I guided the students through the process of writing stories, using all their senses to make the descriptions more vivid. They produced some lovely work, and I think we all enjoyed it. I didn’t want to stop at the end because one student was dictating such a moving story.The workshops this week were equally lovely. I find the whole atmosphere there very conducive to creativity. Staff have a relaxed and gentle approach. No one is ever rushed (even me :D) and the students also seem exceptional and very open to new ideas. We began with a music video on a summer theme (Bryan Adams), then went out into the beautiful gardens. I read some summer poetry to them, including one by Spike Milligan, and then they had a go at writing their own. I always feel slightly awed by this process. Every student writes something so different, and yet every one is good. I wish I’d asked for photocopies of the poems to take away, so I could have put them here. Next time I will.Yesterday I took some time out to go shopping, but today I have been working steadily on my robot play, which I want to finish and send out. (I’m just making minor amendments after the staged reading last year, but I have a long version and a short version and am trying to untangle the bits I want to keep. Quite a task.) Tonight I finished reading the scripts of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches‘. I’ve had this horrible fear that it might be a bit like my Hag of Horra and her cat, Humphrey, but, to my relief it’s about mice and witches, not cats and witches. A boy cowers under the table at one point, and in mine the cat cowers under a table, but all similarities stop there, and all of the rest is totally different. Phew. Of course I knew this would be the case, but I was almost afraid to read it in case Roald Dahl had had the same idea. :DI’ve finished a lot of books lately, but I’ve already written a lot about them on goodreads. I loved Oliver Sacks‘s ‘Hallucinations’ – and was fascinated to learn that hallucinations can be associated with all sorts of things, including visual problems. I remember seeing little people rather like the seven dwarfs when I’d been hitchhiking with my boyfriend in hot weather, and never knew it was a typical hallucination (though I knew it was one).I’ve also read a couple of very good books on forensic techniques and anthropology. (Dead Men Do Tell Tales and Forensic Clues to Murder). Have a look at my reviews if any of this interests you, and do get in touch.love to all,Pippa xPS. A gorgeous golden moth has just settled beside me. Never seen anything like it! 🙂

Theatre Centre, Skylines Showcase and Conference on Writing for Young Audiences

Hi,

I want to write about the Theatre Centre London conference on new writing for young adults, which I went to last week. It started at 10 in the morning, so I had to stay in London the night before. I decided to try St Paul’s Youth Hostel, which is just opposite St Paul’s Cathedral. It sounded lovely, and I was quite excited, and looking forward to popping into St Paul’s cathedral. Well… things didn’t work out quite as planned. The day before I left I was expecting my removal men to bring me three or four boxes out of storage, and they turned up with about fifteen (all to be fitted in one room, which was pretty full already). I unpacked what I could, and shifted boxes around, and, of course, this meant that I was thoroughly exhausted when I started out for London on Wednesday. By the time I arrived at St Paul’s I felt ill with exhaustion, and decided to skip the visit to the cathedral, and go to bed straight after dinner. There was a really lovely woman who was a teacher sharing my dorm, and she felt the same, so we settled down, hoping no one else would come in.

Hmmm. There were people coming and going all night, and the huge fire doors made a lot of noise. Not only that, but there was the sound of glass being smashed outside through most of the night. The only thing I could think it might be was a collection for recycling, but I could swear it went on for hours. Then, just to cap it all, it was suffocatingly hot. I think I slept perhaps for half an hour all night.

Thursday started at 6.30. I’d booked breakfast, so I had that, but I still felt unbearably hot, and uncomfortable. I’d forgotten to take soap, so I had a soapless shower, and had to manage without cleaning my teeth because I’d have woken people up. I collected all my stuff in the dark, as the curtains were still drawn for sleepers, put on my clothes from the day before because that was all I’d taken – never dreaming it would be so hot. I have rarely felt such a complete sight. Then I made my way to the Canada Water Library, where Theatre Centre had organised the conference on writing TYA. After cleaning my teeth in the ladies I felt slightly better, but not much. I went to pick up a coffee, and to my relief, was greeted by Jude, who is a member of Cheltenham Everyman Actors’ Lab, and is also a gifted writer. Of course… many of you will know… I have prosopagnosia, as a result of head injuries many years ago. I had no idea who she was, but when I admitted it she was most understanding, and she helped me by spotting people I should know, and pointing them out. This was a huge relief. She kept finding me too, which I really appreciated. Although my visual recognition is improved, according to cognitive tests done at the hospital, I can only recognise people now if they look straight at me. If they turn their heads to the side I am lost. Also, I do find that, with exhaustion, I can’t recognise anyone at all. Anyway… the day began with a brief address from Natalie Wilson, artistic director at Theatre Centre, followed by a speech from playwright, Bryony Laverty. This was warm, humorous, and interesting, and it was inspiring to me to see a woman who had successfully built a career for herself in writing for theatre.

After this we had a couple of workshops – both with well known playwrights: the first with Rob Evans, who got us building models of places we’d been happy in childhood, and the second with Philip Osment, who worked with us to identify the problems of creating verbatim theatre from interviews with young people. This last was very interesting, and useful, and many people liked the first, though I don’t find that sort of thing very helpful (probably because I’m not much good at it. :D). I tried to create a scene from holidays in Llanstephan, when I used to try and hide in the reed beds to do my writing. The only thing vaguely resembling reeds were bamboo sticks, so I took a piece of yellow card and sat on it, holding up a few sticks and peeping through them. Rob told me I should create something to represent what was happening nearby, so I made a very messy thing, with ripped up bin bags, held together with pegs. (Don’t ask. It was meant to represent my family’s difficulties, with my sister in hospital in Carmarthen!) It was so horrible it spoilt my lovely, happy scene. Rob thought that was good because it had made me more conscious, but I feel I’m conscious enough, and… um… I need my springs of joy to be unsullied. Usually I make things up when asked to produce memories to work with, because I’ve had bad experiences like this before, but in this case I forgot. I was the only one not to like it, as far as I know. Some people built wigwams with the bamboo sticks, and the person I was paired with tried to make a path, which I thought was a boat, when asked to guess. Ah well… He thought I was in a cage! 😀

In the afternoon we watched the winning entries from the Skylines competition. Skylines writers were asked to put in a 15 minute script… in two parts. For the first part writers had to put in just the first ten minutes, and the second part – the last five minutes, was to be written after receiving feedback from the judges. I have to admit that I entered this, and wasn’t even highly commended. The judges praised it very highly, and said they loved my humour and wit in the first ten minutes, but I must have let myself down in the last five minutes. Mind you, I was in the middle of moving house,for the second time this year, and fighting floods of tears, when I wrote that last five minutes, so I’m not really surprised.

I really enjoyed the plays, and they were excellent. Suhayla El Bushra wrote a very moving piece, (Sehr Cool),about two teenagers, who both had huge emotional defences, being lost in a wood at night, and slowly discovering who each other really were. The teenage boy reminded me totally of my second boyfriend, who never stopped talking in funny accents, or scraps of different languages. I thought it was very authentic and really loved it.

Kellie Smith’s play was about a gremlin who kept stealing a child’s toys. The actress who played the gremlin (Naomi Ackie) was absolutely superb, and the whole piece was fun.

Jane Wainwright wrote ‘Life Mould’ about a girl running a 24 hour web stream from her bedroom.

All three plays were well worth seeing, and I was relieved to discover that I’d been beaten by such good writers. I have the scripts of the highly commended ones to read, and am looking forward to reading them in bed when I’ve finished this. 🙂

This is turning into an incredibly long blog, so I’m going to hurry a bit. The plays were followed by a debate between several eminent people in theatre… Anthony Banks, Associate Director of National Theatre Learning; Jonathan Lloyd, Artistic Director of Polka Theatre; Purni Morrell, AD of Unicorn Theatre, and Natalie Wilson, AD of Theatre Centre. After this we all, supposedly chilled over a glass of wine, and chatted to each other. My visual sense had 100% gone. Jude had to leave early for a bus, and I spent most of my time standing on the edge, staring into the crowd and trying desperately to pick out people I knew. Once I went up to someone and then thought I’d got the wrong person, and turned my back on them, just as, I think, they started to speak to me. I then went into intense worry mode, and started thinking I was offending someone I really like and admire. I left, as I left the hostel, feeling like a seed spat out by a fruit that couldn’t hold me, caught a bus to Victoria, and then walked about for a while before getting the megabus home. I’m glad I went, even though it was difficult. I’m absolutely determined to learn anything I can that will make my work suitable, not just for school halls, but for big theatres. From the point of view of networking I probably offended people, and created a bad impression, but I hope that what I learned will outweigh that.

Better go,

Pippa x

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