Photo 06-02-2014 20 34 55

The Sides

The members of the ARCADE Writers group at ARC Stockton were given an intriguing new challenge for this year’s New Writing Scratch Night – ARC’s Programme Coordinator Becci briefed us all to write a 10 minute piece to be presented in the main theatre space, with the performances to be presented among the audience. This exciting opportunity gave us the freedom to explore new approaches to how we write, thinking not only about story but about the space the work would fill. I think it’s fair to say that we all found it very interesting a lot to be able to think about staging and how our writing might create new possibilities for directors and performers to work with.

The New Writing Scratch Night was presented on Thursday 6th February, and featured a host of talent from amongst the ARCADE Network. The writers presenting work were me andmy fellow Meerkats Allison Davies, Mhairi Ledgerwood and Nicola Cameron, along with Humira Imtiaz, Dan Perry, Scott Young and Chrissie Petrie. We were lucky enough to have the directing talents of Steven Gaythorpe, Jay Moussa, Becci Sharrock and Scott Young, and our performers were Jade Byrne, Lynne Lawson, Lori York, Christopher Stewart, Charlotte Gray, David Robson, Jonny Bussell, Danny Ward, Pip Chamberlin and Gemma Whiteley.

My play was ‘The Sides’, directed by Scott Young and performed by Pip Chamberlin and Lynne Lawson. My idea for the staging was for the audience to form the two sides of a wall dividing two performers, with the side you chose to sit on determining what you saw of the performance. I wrote the script as one long stream of lines, with the intention that these could be divided amongst however many cast members the director chose to feature. I really enjoyed the rehearsal session that I spent with Scott, Pip and Lynne – and their conversations about how the lines would take on different meanings depending on who delivered them were the most interesting part of the process for me! I thought that Scott, Pip and Lynne created a fantastic performance out of the script, and I would be really interested to give the script to another director and performers and see what they might make of it.

Dividing up the lines of 'The Sides' - director Scott Young and performers Lynne Lawson and Pip Chamberlin in rehearsal

It was brilliant to see how enthusiastically the audience got involved in the constant movement and re-setting of the theatre space that was required to accommodate the very different staging of each piece – and also that so many of the audience contributed feedback to help the ARCADE Writers to develop their pieces in the future.

Our Scratch Night was also featured in the March edition of NARC magazine, with Mhairi and myself interviewed about our experience of being part of the ARCADE Writers group. You can see some photos from the Scratch Night, and read our feature article below:

'Hummingbird' by Mhairi Ledgerwood

'Face Hash' by Allison Davies

'Untitled' by Scott Young

'A Play of Two Halves' by Chrissie Petrie

The audience setting up the stage

NARC magazine feature