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Development During the Pandemic

Who would have thought - a year ago - where we’d be right now?

This time last year, I was working with a group of fanastic actors, putting together the production of my latest play, boyfriend stroke husband.

I remember - almost exactly a year ago - writing a blog about how much was coming up in March: the debut run of the show, Development Week, AND a new term of the Intro and Advanced courses.

Thankfully, we managed to get Development Week in - just in time. We weren’t so lucky with boyfriend stroke husband, however, which had to close after the opening night due to the burgeoning pandemic.

And we all know what happened next.

Development During the Pandemic

The theatre is a social experience: the thrill of the action unfolding right before your very eyes, the packed houses of rapt audiences, the interval drinks and after-show debates.

Those will return, of course. But, by the time we’re allowed back into theatres, almost two years will have passed.

Hopefully, that means that the world will be ready for entertainment and all the associated fun that goes with it. Audiences are poised for packed houses once again, and we can go back to how things once were.

In the mean time, we’re finding new ways of doing things - theatre people are resourceful. And, while we’re limited in how we can currently present our work, a true theatre audience understands that theatre is all about the limitations; that’s what is brilliant and unique about it.

So, we’re growing and learning, changing and adapting.

And development continues, because - sooner rather than later - we’ll be back in those dark spaces, telling stories that make audiences laugh, cry, and question their humanity.

What WriteForTheStage have been up to

When the first lockdown hit, we had a very successful run of the Intro course. People gathered online from all over the country, and - together - we explored themes, characters, and ideas which eventually formed the opening pages of a script.

Some of those Intro participants continued to the Progressing course during the Summer and the Advanced course from October until January. And those writers created scripts that are now ready for a bit of an airing.

What is Development Week?

If you’re new to Development Week, the event is all about sharing new writing with audiences who give feedback. We usually cram ourselves into the Studio at our spiritual home (The Kings Arms, Salford) and have a week of sharing, socialising, networking, creating, and developing (with a fair share of drinking!).

This bi-annual ritual has become one of my favourite theatre events of the year, alongside the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival (which WILL be back!) and the ever-colourful Manchester International Festival.

But, of course, we have to do things differently right now. So, Development Week will be run for just a single day, and it will run live on YouTube.

Development Week 2.0

We’re taking little baby-steps towards getting new work out there.

Development Week 2.0 is a new way of sharing work. We’ll be reading three of the pieces from our brilliant WFTS Advanced writers, and we’ll be asking for feedback; just like we always do.

The event is free, and you can expect some little extras in there as well.

So, join us from 6pm on Saturday, 27th Feb, for an evening of sharing, development, entertainment, and fun!

I’m in the process of arranging some of the extras. But I guarantee an entertaining evening of new work that has NEVER been performed in front of an audience before.

How Do I Log On?

At the moment, we don’t have a link to share. But come back to this blog on Friday and we’ll update it with the YouTube link.

In the meantime, we’d love it if you might add the date and time to your diary. There will be opportunity for a bit of open mic-ing, so join us on the night and I’ll let you know how to get involved.

Save the date -

Development Week 2.0, Saturday 27th Feb, from 6pm. YouTube

boyfriend stroke husband

By the way, boyfriend stroke husband WILL return.

I developed the script during my time with the great team at Liverpool Everyman with their Playwrights Programme, and it got me through to the interview stage of BBC Drama Room 2020. So, it gives me great validation of the quality of the script.

So, as soon as we can, we’ll bring this Viaduct Theatre production back to life. Watch this space!

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