2016 has been quite year so far- we’ve lost some of our best-loved comedians and musicians and British politics has become so farcical that it’s impossible to satirise any further. As for the weather, while the grey miserable skies do nothing for joie de vivre or vitamin D levels it does mean that desk-bound writers don’t feel like they’re missing out on being outside in beautiful weather. Silver linings and all that.
2016 has been a busy writing year for me too. Apart from work-related writing I’m been busy coming up with some new material so here’s a run down:
February saw the Actors Awareness scratch night at the Canal Cafe Theatre and was such fun to do. I directed my own piece and while it worked out fine, I’d much rather leave directing to the professionals!
In March I was a finalist in the Red Women’s Theatre Awards at Greenwich Theatre. It was a joy to see my play on stage in such a fabulous theatre space and my team of Kate Saffin, Fiona Whitelaw and Alex Appleby did me proud. I managed to pick up a bug the day before and spent the 24 hours before curtain up being violently ill. Luckily all I had to do on the night was slump in a seat and watch the actors do their thing.
‘Sian’s play is whip-smart and hilariously funny…The play is honest and authentic with two beautifully-crafted central characters, who epitomise the pressures exerted on normal people every day by a cold-hearted parliament.’
In April I decided to focus on comedy and applied to be a writer for News Revue, the world’s longest running new comedy show and started getting sketches, songs and voiceovers accepted. It’s hard work, especially when politics has become such a parody of itself, but good practice in the art of sitting down in front of a blank screen and desperately trying to come up with something amusing.
In April I was also thrilled to be invited by Funny Women to attend a comedy improvisation masterclass from impro legend Josie Lawrence at Rada. She was charming, funny and erudite. Her feedback was invaluable and we all felt inspired.
In May Red Women’s Theatre asked all four finalists to write a short piece for Scottish Refugee Council’s 30 year anniversary on the theme of Displacement. we were asked to include some verbatim words from refugees and it was fascinating and moving reading their stories. What an eye-opener. My short piece Nami Nami was performed at the James Arnott Theatre in Glasgow.
In May I also had a piece in Drafts from Director’s Cut Theatre at Southwark Playhouse. The theme was based around the email you wanted to send but didn’t and the email you actually sent. I went full-on comedy with my piece Look Here about the ins and outs of wearing contact lenses and actor Nicola Kill and director Edward Land did a brilliant job with it.
June: Earlier in the year I submitted a play proposal to Doughnut Productions- an innovative theatre company that puts the audience on swivel seats and directs the action around them. They put a call out for plays on the theme of Trapped. I was shortlisted, wrote my play and was chosen. The play will be on 28th August at the Cockpit as part of Camden Fringe and I can’t wait!
from 12th to 16th July my monologue Life Sentence gets another airing as part of Alone Inside The Box at the Bread and Roses theatre. Victoria Porter will reprise he role as Karen and she has a unique ability to draw people in. I’m looking forward to seeing the other monologues too. There will be comedy, tragedy and a smattering of the absurd.
Here’s to the rest of the year and plans afoot for more theatre to come.