Hi All, All the fuss of Xmas has died (at least for a year) so why not turn your attention to: Slough Writers’ DRAMA PROJECT 2008/9 Had chats with those who expressed interest in the drama project with Total Theatre and this is a summary of what emerged.

Who may join in the project – any member of the group.

The general aim of the project is simply to offer the opportunity for SW members to try something new and add to their repertoire of finished work.

Background. We have had these collaboration with Total Theatre Workshop (who are based in Windsor but meet at The Greyhound) in various forms for over ten years. It has settled into a two-year cycle culminating with a 2/3 night public show at Windsor Arts Centre (which has recently closed while they sort out the finances). A trophy is usually awarded by independent judges to the best play (whatever that means) and a unique feature is that the audience vote each night for their favourite – interesting to contrast the two results.

Overall timings are that scripts should ready late summer 2008 after which time we will be working with Total to select and perfect the set for the show which will be Spring(ish) 2009.

Regarding script workshops it was felt that early workshops are not very useful so we will wait until there are a few ideas on paper. Then we will circulate on email before each workshop to aid proper consideration and discussion. We will still do readings at the workshops. If a writer wants a workshop for a project at any stage we will organise one between us. Workshops are not usually on Mondays and are usually held at one of our houses. We do not treat the writing stage as a competition. We work to support each other with suggestions and positive criticisms. Writing for performance is a fresh challenge for many of us. The Windsor Fringe Festival Drama Festival closes about the time we are aiming to have our scripts ready so the general consensus is to aim to enter that festival as well as (for those who want to). Tony Matthews is getting the details.

Anthology/directory of previous scripts was suggested with the aim of offering our existing works to other drama groups for production. Drama groups usually pay small fees for this and there is a need for one-act plays for general drama festivals leading up to The All England Drama Festival which a couple of us have had plays selected for. This sort of anthology has a set format and in the first instance need only contain an outline of the play, length and how many actors are involved (male and female). See the Samuel French directory. We could do it via the SW web site maybe.

The venue was mentioned by several writers because there are concerns about the cost of Windsor Arts Centre (see note below)(all production costs are borne by Total) and several people made the point that we could look at involving other drama groups in the event that Total are low on numbers. In the past, doubling up among the actors and directors has made things difficult. There is no reason why we cannot spread our wings – West Wing, Andy Lee at Slough Council, Norden Farm or anything else you can think of. The Theme for the plays is completely open (as suggested by David Bartle) but all the writers I talked to felt that approx 20 minutes was a good length to aim for and it was sensible to keep the number of characters below six. The final production could have four and five plays. Following on the discussion last Monday about themes for competitions there is no reason why we should not set optional themes for those who want them. So there would be a themed section and an open section which would come together as one overall section for the performance. One problem with themes is that we may end up limiting the variety at the final show.

CALL TO ACTION. Email your interest, comments, suggestions and bits of old turkey (and I don’t mean your scripts!) or talk to me on Monday night.

Mike Pearcy (acting as co-ordinator)

Since writing this the Windsor Arts Center has closed until further notice but there are lots of other potential venues. MP