I’m sure Sally Wainwright, Tony Marchant and the likes still get a buzz from seeing carefully crafted characters brought to life in front of them. So far in my writing career I’ve experienced this twice.
The first time was just before Christmas when a radio play that I was co-writing was recorded in a radio studio at the university by performance students. I remember walking to the studio and overhearing a young actress practicing her lines with a Polish accent. This made me chuckle to myself as this character that she was rehearsing was the character that I created for the radio drama series.
On top of my scriptwriting I have also been taking a short course in Writing for Stage. This was run by The Houldsworth, a new fringe theatre in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. Each week we would look at various aspects of storytelling such as creating characters, structure, dialogue and stage directions in the hope that by the final week we would have a few scenes of a play that could be performed live.
Last weekend was the final week of the beginners course, and the session was dedicated to actors performing our selected scenes. Although slightly nervous at the prospect that what appears in my head and onto paper will not match what appears on stage – the experience was one that I had been looking forward to in the run up to the weekend.
It did not disappoint.
Five actors who work closely with The Houldsworth Rep Theatre gave up their Saturday to perform extracts from several plays all written by the course members.
Most of the playwrights felt slightly anxious as soon as their play was the next one to be performed, but the actors did a sterling job and hearing words that first are heard in your head, to being performed in character by a professional was one of the most satisfying experiences a writer can have.