Twice a year Development Week gives an insight into the goings on at Studio Salford. This year you can expect to see polished plays that are stage-ready and page in hand pieces at their inception. It's quite an exciting proposition. You could see the next big thing years before it hits the stage or screen.
If you feel that you have an idea for play or a script that you would like to see brought to life, you could attend a free workshop. In this open session potential playwrights are encouraged to mine the imagination for characters and themes. It also demonstrates how the WriteForTheStage programme operates.
"It's for those who have an idea for a script just sitting around in their hard-drive" explains Mike Heath, former Salford University student and award winning published playwright "Salford University has produced some incredible talent and many have stayed around. Salford has great tradition for art. We want to bring people in and give them the benefit of our experience."
The WriteForTheStage programme is a course that comes with the impressive tagline 'page to stage, in just ten weeks'. Writers will have the chance to hone their craft while their work is performed by professional actors and directed by respected directors. Many plays from the course have gone to feature in the Greater Manchester Fringe.
Also available is a workshop on production and how to get your work seen... "WriteForTheStage has had Arts Council funding for the last five years and we have a requirement to ensure that new pieces get to see the light of day" Mike explains "It can be a bit of a lottery, if you pardon the pun."
Mike has firsthand knowledge of the industry. His own play, Call of Nature, was recently performed at The Kings Arms. He decided to use the cellar to stage it - "a perfect fit for an underworld themed play"- and he's well placed to pass on a wealth of knowledge.
Currently, WriteForTheStage has three bids for Arts Council backing; one of which has already been granted. Other recent triumphs have been Sarah Cassidy's Bleeding with Mother, and Naomi Sumner's Pass.
Many recognisable faces from the industry have been known to frequent Development Week. Last year Doctor Who and Queer as Folk writer, Russell T. Davies, turned up in the audience. Even Hollywood royalty Matthew McConaughey (Wolf of Wall Street, Interstellar) has taken part.
This time, highlights include a new work by Will Travis, of Coronation Street and This is England fame. His new play Monopoleyes will be performed at The Kings Arms on Sunday 2nd at 1pm. Monopoleyes is getting close to being a completed work and this will be a final opportunity to give feedback before its full debut in November.
Studio Salford Development Week gives a rare behind the scenes look at how a script is brought to life. It gives writers the chance to experience a taster session before the next term of WriteForTheStage (courses start in October), or to fine-tune a completed script, or to start to promote a self-production piece for the Fringe. Meanwhile, anyone can just go down and experience some incredible free Salford talent.
Studio Salford Development Week
26th September - 2nd October
Kings Arms Theatre
11 Bloom Street M3 6AN
For more information on Write for the Stage and the full programme of events see www.writeforthestage.co.uk
See also previous Salford Star article on Embryo which is also part of Development Week – click here
Words by Ian Leslie