so … October. lots and lots and lots to do.
But first let me just say a little about what a joyous time I had at the Havant Literary Festival, partly the hospitality of the organisers, partly the stunning it’s-still-summer weather, largely the energy of the participants in the workshops I ran. And in particular the asonishing event that was the Dynamo Youth Theatre. This time last week I was cursing that slightly excessive part of myself that had said, when asked to teach a theatre workshop to the youth, “Well, yes, but no point in just running a workshop, why don’t I teach impro and making/devising and then we’ll have a showing of whatever we create, in the evening, you can invite people?”
It had seemed an amazing idea in April. When I was on the train, thinking I had four events on the Friday, a full day writing workshop on the Saturday, and the youth on the Sunday, I felt a little less keen. I do believe it is possible to make theatre/theatrical work that is engaging and interesting without spending a year on it. I really do know that the impro/making work techniques are immensely useful for helping people to just start making with nothing but their own permission to go for it. Applying bits and pieces I learned with my own impro company Spontaneous Combustion back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, when we were among the very few here doing what the Americans call ‘long form’ impro, other work I’ve done with Improbable, forms I’ve found useful in my own writing … all of it coming together in sharing with these new people tools that I know will work – if they will let it. And that’s the key. I’ve shared this stuff with people who stand back, arms folded, and just judge it. And I’ve shared it with people who scoop it up, soak it in and come back hungry for more. I’ve even shared it with a group where half does the latter and half the former (ah, Novosibirsk!). Some of it is to do with how I pass it on, yes. Some of it is to do with the work itself. Much of it is to do the group being willing. Saying yes. When the 50-odd people turned up for the showing (not show, not performance) in the church hall at 6.30pm, they had no idea what to expect. Neither did we. And then we gave them something amazing. Brilliant.
And as soon as that is done I’m off to teach this full-up Arvon course with the very lovely Paul Magrs, guest writer, the equally lovely Paul Burston. (I’m thinking of changing my name to Paul for the week.)
So, the sold-out nature of the course means you can’t come unless you’ve already booked, sorry, but look! here’s a competition and prizes instead!
Go to Paul’s blog, enter the competition, and then at least you can read with him if you can’t learn to write* with us.
* I say learn to write – I probably mean practice. Or try, or do it anyway, or play doing it, or have some fun doing it, or get over being scared to do it. I suspect I DON’T mean “learn”!! At least not in the ‘learn to drive a car’ sense …