On Wednesday July 29 the MLitt Playwriting and Dramaturgy cohort had the pleasure of hosting our annual postgraduate play reading event in the James Arnott Theatre. For this event, our playwrights and dramaturgs teamed up to select 15 minute excerpts from their work-in-progress scripts to be performed in a staged reading. The selections came from the following pieces:
(Conspiracy) by Marie Yan, dramaturg Jeni Cumming
Hurricane Elvis by Elspeth Sweatman, dramaturg Andy Edwards
The Old Oak by Emily Rowan, dramaturg Dimitra Gkougklia
The Name Game by Olan Kiatsomphol, dramaturg Molly Ziegler
Aikwood by Kenneth Shand, dramaturg Glenys McIntyre
Jericho Road by Fiona Forsyth, dramaturg Andy Edwards
The organisation of the event came in two creative stages: rehearsal and performance. For the rehearsals, the playwrights and dramaturgs were allotted time to read through their excerpts with the actors and director, answer questions about their play’s background and help create a staged performance of the piece. This process was helmed by director Philip Howard and playwriting mentor Douglas Maxwell. The dramaturgs were also asked to provide the creative team with a script report of the play’s characters and plot. While the experience had its challenges, I found it to be very useful for both the playwrights and dramaturgs as we learned how to communicate essential information about our scripts. In addition, being able to work with the director and actors on our plays offered great insight into how scripts move from page to stage. This has been especially helpful for our playwrights as they continue to draft their plays.
The second phase, performance, offered a chance to learn about organising and presenting a professional event. To achieve this, the dramaturgs curated the evening and invited representatives from various theatre companies and arts organisations, including A Moment’s Peace theatre company; Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland; Oran Mor; the Tron; the Citizens Theatre; and the National Theatre of Scotland. Having audience members from these different organisations created a great opportunity to network and to learn more about the Scottish theatre scene. The dramaturgs also got to learn how to market different plays. This involved writing tag lines for each script and creating poster displays with background information on the playwrights and their work.
Overall, the experience was very beneficial to both the playwrights and the dramaturgs. We were able to learn more about the importance of collaboration in the professional creative world and how to plan and organise a large event. It was a great way for all of us to present the work we have been developing and to cap off our year.
We would like to thank our five actors (Paul Cunningham, Pauline Knowles, Victoria Liddelle, Gemma McElhinney and Cristian Ortega) for bringing our scripts to life and Tony Sweeten for providing technical support. We would also like to extend a special thank you to Dr Vicky Price for her time and guidance in helping coordinate the evening. We hope next year’s cohort also has a successful and beneficial event!
Written by Molly Ziegler, MLitt Playwriting and Dramaturgy
All photos © Emily Rowan Photography