When I wasn’t eating biscuits and/or fretting I was …

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2010, eh. It’s been quite a twelve months. Here’s a little review of my year … 

JANUARY 

  • I am invited on to BBC Sparks – a scheme for writers identified as having potential for radio drama. I accept. Obv. 
  • Deadline for submissions for Live Theatre’s Different Stages Festival. My effort, Tittle Tattle Tattletale, is a bit of a departure from my ‘usual’ style and content but it seems like an ideal opportunity to chance something different. 
  • I submit Maggie & Mary for the first Newcastle INK Festival

FEBRUARY 

  • Auditions for Blood & Money
  • I spend a week on an organic farm in Kent with BBC Sparks. I lose the ability to form sentences and seem incapable of ‘thinking with my ears’. I wonder whether me and radio drama will ever be friends. 
  • Extracts from Blood & Money are performed as work-in-progress drafts at Northern Stage’s First In Three night. The audience feedback is positive. I eat too many chips. 

MARCH 

  • Tittle Tattle Tattletale is performed at Live’s Different Stages Festival
  • I enter the Nick Darke Award with a new play, Trickle. The entry requirements are the first 20 pages and a synopsis … which is lucky as the first 20 pages and a synopsis are all I have! 

 APRIL 

  • I am invited to write a one-act play for the Centenary Season at The People’s Theatre. There are four writers involved, each with an association with the People’s – past or present – and the theme is Past Glories
  • Blood & Money previews at The People’s Theatre – rehearsed reading. 
  • I submit a short for Theatre503’s PLAYlist – plays inspired by a song, that can be no longer than that song! 

MAY 

  • I go to York to see On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco – Forward Theatre Project are inviting writers to submit a companion play to this Chekhov short.    
  • Heart Shaped Hole, inspired by Cilla Black’s Anyone Who Had A Heart, is performed at Theatre503. 
  • Rehearsals start for Blood & Money going to Prague. 
  • Trickle is shortlisted for the Nick Darke Award. Woop! 
  • Blood & Money previews at Live Theatre. 

JUNE 

  • Rascally Scoundrels make their debut with Blood & Money at the Prague Fringe Festival. It is all hideously stressful while at the same time being marvellous fun. In the run up I was having terrifying anxiety dreams and breaking out in eczema, but it all worked out and we board the plane home still speaking. 
  • My play Can Cause Death is shortlisted to the final four as the companion play for Chekhov’s On The Harmful Effects of Tobacco
  • I write a monologue for the Newcastle-leg of Paines Plough’s Come To Where I’m From project. I also perform it. Which is an experience. 
  • Maggie & Mary is performed at the INK Festival.
  • Can Cause Death is performed script-in-hand, along with the other shortlisted plays, at York Theatre Royal. 

JULY 

  • Rascally Scoundrels are invited to take part in the launch of Writers Block North East. Which is nice. 
  • Can Cause Death is selected to be the companion play for Tobacco. I am now on a double-bill with Chekhov. Never a sentence I expected to write. 
  • Trickle does not win the Nick Darke Award. Close but no cigar. Never mind, those 20 pages and that synopsis will not be wasted … I make a start developing the idea into a one-act play for Past Glories. When one door closes, etc. I also start keeping a blog diary of the play that will chart it right up to performance, starting [here]

AUGUST 

  • I am approached by Live Theatre, asking if I would be interested in developing my Prague play Blood into a full-length play. I am. So I make a start. 
  • I stumble across a recording on YouTube of Maggie & Mary – not being performed at INK but the 2009 Gi60 Festival in Brooklyn, New York! See, sometimes Googling yourself is not a bad thing … 😉 
  • Yackety Yak wins Live’s A Million Short Cuts event. There is no prize, just the warm glow of victory!
  •  I go to London to workshop Can Cause Death with director Charlotte Bennett and actor David Bradley. 

SEPTEMBER 

  • Deadline for Past Glories first draft – Never Rains But It Pours is up on its feet and wings its way to the powers-that-be. 
  • Finally I can reveal that Tobacco/Can Cause Death will debut at the National Theatre in November. Yowzah! 

OCTOBER 

  • A round-the-table-read-through of the first drafts of all four Past Glories plays at The People’s Theatre. 
  • Booking opens for the Tobacco double-bill at the National Theatre. It sells out within days. I do a little dance. 
  • I am invited to take part in Ignite, a programme by Old Vic New Voices for alumni of The 24 Hour Plays. I head to London for the workshop weekend. 

NOVEMBER 

  • Can Cause Death is performed at the National, starring David Bradley. A highlight of my career to date, without a doubt. 
  • Ignite – first draft deadline. 
  • Ignite – final draft deadline! (did I mention the project had a tight turnaround?!) 

DECEMBER 

  • But Otherwise Went Well is performed at Waterloo East Theatre as part of Ignite1
  • I deliver Never Rains But It Pours rehearsal draft – auditions are scheduled for January.
  • Podcasts of the Paines Plough Come To Where I’m From monologues go online. 
  • Tickets go on sale for Can Cause Death at Northern Stage in February. 
  • I pitch, and am subsequently commissioned to write, a monologue for Live Theatre’s Boys on the Edge event in March. Writing from the perspective of a teenage boy … this one’s going to be a challenge! I set off writing Clint.

Ambitions for 2011 …?

  • complete, and see performed, my full-length play
  • do more with my free time – ie, don’t spend it either a) feeling guilty about not working b) napping c) watching The Crystal Maze on Challenge TV d) all of the above
  • more Rascals funtimes with them there Scoundrels
  • make further headway into radio drama
  • work with Julie Walters
  • eat less cake & more vegetables (let’s not get ahead of ourselves!)

So, all that’s left to do is bid a hearty “Happy New Year!”. 2011, eh. Here’s hoping it’s a good one … xx

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