Off Cut Roots

For the last couple of years, I’ve been privileged enough to help select a few plays for the Off Cut Festival of new theatre writing.

The Festival isn’t happening in the same form this year. But instead, the organisers have announced Off Cut Roots.

The aim of Off Cut Roots is to bring writers into the heart of the process of developing a play for performance.

The plays we are looking for do not need to be perfect, not ready-for-stage. Our panel of readers will be looking for two plays with the potential to benefit the most for the Roots project.

Once the two plays are chosen, the writers will be invited to a first read through with each play’s cast and director. Also in attendance will be Off Cut’s Artistic Director, a dramaturg from Theatre 503, and, depending on availability, an established playwright, director and actor. This will probably take place on Monday 8th July, but may be subject to change.

Resolutions for 2013

I’ve had these in my head for a bit. But when New Year resolutions are silent and hidden, it’s easy to break them without having to hold yourself to account.

1. Blog more and take more pictures

Apart from my Doctor Who post about the Christmas Day special, I haven’t really blogged for ages. I should do something about that.

I’m not one for sharing my innermost thoughts, though. That style of blogging just doesn’t appeal to me. However, I do enjoy photography but haven’t done much recently – so hopefully I’ll be able to do some form of photoblogging when I can.

2. See more dance and classical music events

I tend to gravitate towards musical theatre and straight plays when I go out to the theatre – it’s where I feel most confident and informed as an audience member. Dance is one area where I’ve often felt at my most adrift. At times I’ve felt hopelessly out of place (a dance piece at the Barbican remains one of the few events I’ve left at the interval with disgust at its ineptitude) – but it’s also been the source of some of the most thrilling performances I’ve seen.

Similarly, I do enjoy going to the occasional classical music concert, but I can’t remember the last time I went to one. So I’m hoping to rectify that absence in 2013.

3. Support my local theatres

I have been writing several blog posts about trips to my local large regional venue, the Aylesbury Waterside – but I’m going to try and do more, and that’ll involve going to more of their shows and one-off nights.

It’s important to remember that Aylesbury also has a smaller theatre, the Limelight, as part of the Queen’s Park Arts Centre – and I’m going to keep an eye on what’s going on there, too.

4. Be more active

Having a job, and hobbies, which require long periods of sitting down mean that it’s more essential to find ways of being active when not working. I prefer long walks to running, and my long daily commute gets in the way of joining a gym. Neither of these are valid excuses for not doing more exercise, but instead will frame the ways in which I get out more.

5. Finish at least one creative writing project

I have a couple of short story ideas germinating, one of which could potentially expand into a much longer piece. And after being on the Blogger’s Choice panel for the Off Cut Festival over the last two years, I’m intrigued by the festival’s 15-minute stage format. I’d be interested to see if I can transfer my belief about what can work in that timeframe, and what is best avoided, into a practical piece.

So those are my resolutions. What are yours?

Off Cut Festival bloggers’ choice update

Last month, I wrote about being part of the Off Cut Festival’s new “bloggers’ choice panel”, selecting four 15-minute plays to be part of the 28-strong programme for the festival in October.

Earlier this week, the festival organisers mailed the bloggers’ panel to let us know that one of the 24 plays that were selected by them, not us, had had to drop out. And so, filling its place in the festival schedule was one of the plays which we heard as part of our selection process, but which didn’t make our final four.

That means that New Age comedy Skyclad (I’m afraid I don’t know the author’s name) has joined this year’s Off Cut Festival.

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Off Cut Festival 2011: Selecting the bloggers’ choice

Last night was good fun, as I joined with fellow bloggers Luke, Alison, Ian and Havana at The Actor Works in Wapping to select four 15-minute plays to go forward to October’s Off Cut Festival.

The Off Cut script reading panel had already decided upon 24 such plays to go forward to October’s festival. We were going to listen to readings of another eight, and collectively would decide on the final four scripts that would make up the 28 Off Cut Festival 2011 submissions. Or, in festival organiser Daniel Brennan’s words:

The reading panel selects 32 plays, all of which they would be happy to have in the festival. From that 32, 24 are put into four groups to best reflect the diversity of writing style/genre/tone/casting in order to present the most exciting, interesting and varied programme for the audience. The remaining eight are presented in a rehearsed reading to a panel of eminent theatre bloggers, who then choose their favourite four. Those plays will join the original 24; one in each group.

(I know. I can’t believe he thought I was eminent either.)

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