I’ve always loved to write, I’ve always enjoyed reading and I’ve always loved books.
Clayton Green library was like a second home to me when I was a teenager. The library staff knew me by name as I would be there every single day in the long summer holidays.
I could be found sitting in the corner reading books as my library card only allowed me to take four library books away. I could read four library books in a couple of hours back then. I am talking Sweet Valley High’s Wakefield sisters rather than the Bronte Sisters, so the books were thin rather than War and Peace volume.
I enjoyed being in a fictional world with characters that I would never come across on a Saturday afternoon in Preston.
I also loved to write my own stories using those fictional characters that I read about.
Secretly, I longed to see my name on the front of a book cover like all of those famous authors whose work I enjoyed. I would wonder whether Francine Pascal or Jackie Collins would get excited about seeing their words in print for the public to see. I bet they did.
So I’m delighted to say that tomorrow afternoon I will be spending an hour taking part in a book launch for Write for the Stage Publications (WFTS) and my first play Bleeding with Mother is on sale.
I still can’t quite believe it. A play written by me, in print, with my name on the front cover. If I never do anything again, at least on my bookshelf which is stacked with printed copies of stageplays and screenwriting bibles; Willie Russell, Lena Dunham, Blake Snyder and Robert McKee is now a Sarah Cassidy. Does that mean I can say that I’m a proper writer now?
The Write for the Stage Publications launch event is part of Greater Manchester Fringe Festival and is taking place at 4pm at The Kings Arms, Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN
It wasn’t the cough that carried her off, it was the coffin that carried her off ‘in.
BLEEDING WITH MOTHER written by Sarah Cassidy
My debut stageplay Bleeding with Mother will be laid to rest in May 2016.
Staged in my hometown of Manchester, Bleeding with Mother is an opus kitchen sink drama meets farce as in true Catholic tradition, Sally-Ann Nolan’s coffin is laid out in her home the night before her funeral. There follows a séance, IVF troubles, a hidden fortune, interfering neighbours and some missing Russian dolls.
This black comedy stars Louise Wilson (Doe and Hollyoaks) Pete Gibson (East of Heysham, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and Prey) and Dave Jordan (Various fringe productions and The Actor’s Lab showcase, The Lowry). Audiences will also be introduced to Sheffield Crucible actor, Jennifer Derbyshire.
Tickets are on sale from 5064 Productions and priced at £6 or £5, cheaper than a pint of lager and a packet of crisps (well in town centre ale houses any road).
We’ll be playing at three locations across Manchester, but we’d really love it if folk would come to either the Joshua Brooks or Nexus Art Cafe nights as they’ll be a reet good laugh.
Tour details are:
Saturday 21st May – 2pm at Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
Sunday 22nd May – 2pm at Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
Friday 27th May – 7.30pm at Joshua Brooks, 106 Princess Street, Manchester, M1 6NG
Saturday 28th May – 7.30pm at Nexus Arts Cafe, 2 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 1JW
So come and bid ‘Big Sal’ a fond farewell as we join Randall, Carol, Sicknote Sheila and Doug as they bid her a final farewell, and remember that GREAT HUMOUR HAS THE SNIFF OF DEATH ABOUT IT……
Station Road is a continuing radio drama about life in a fictitious and gritty Manchester street. Not only do the characters work and live on Station Road but there is also a public house, café, urban farm and a corner shop.
Hearing the scripts come alive for the first time on Saturday was quite simply marvellous. A couple of the writers, myself included were interviewed live in the studio at ALL FM prior to the episode being aired.
The episode was played mid-interview, and it was pretty special not only hearing our scripts come to life but we also have a theme tune. An actual catchy theme tune that we’ve since been humming in our script meetings.
A surreal moment yesterday as I left work to drive to the weekly Station Road writers meeting, the pilot was played out again during ALL FM’s Drivetime show and as I sat in traffic, I felt such pride listening to the scene that I wrote
Yesterday was the fifth year that Mancunians celebrated “Manchester Day”
The day boasts a mile long parade of various community groups, organisations and clubs through the streets of Manchester.
Attended by a record breaking 20,000, the Manchester Day parade was a successful event. A gathering of Mancunians and visitors to the great city for the one day of the year where we can toast our diverse communities and remember how we prevailed during the riots of 2011.
Parading down the streets of Manchester were Read the rest of this entry »
Get out of your comfort zone and do something that terrifies you. That’s a healthy motto – right?
One of the aspects of my MA which challenged me the most was the collaborative group project in semester two.
An eight part radio drama where I worked with seven other writers and devised a radio serial with a forty-five minute episode written by each member of the team.
It was a challenge to say the least. Not only a divide in age and gender, but also in sense of humour. We spent most of the semester arguing about the serial storyline and at the last meeting still hadn’t nailed it down fully.
Firstly it’ll be great to get my writing on the radio again, secondly it will be good for the CV if I can show that I’ve worked as part of a writing team in a professional context, and thirdly if I don’t have someone giving me strict deadlines I fear that my writing will only occur when meeting competition deadlines.
This project is at the very beginning of becoming a radio soap opera, and with a team of twelve writers we won’t all get commissioned to write an episode. Which mirrors real life on a television soap opera too.
Last night was the first get together of this new writing team, and I thought I would blog about the journey from inception to writing that first episode.
The writing team is a diverse group of local people from Manchester who are a mix of volunteers at the radio station, writers and others who just want to get involved in this thrilling project.
We began the session by reading aloud a couple of short radio scripts. When asked for volunteers there was an uncomfortable silence so I put my hand up. Reading scripts out loud doesn’t phase me anymore as I’ve had two and a half years of doing this week in week out.
We were then given a large selection of photographs of people which had been cut out from newspapers and magazines. A range of ages, gender and ethnicity were covered and each of us chose one picture. Mine was a woman in her mid-twenties in a yoga pose. I thought I could have a lot of fun in creating her character as she looked quite chilled and peaceful.
My aim is to make my character the least stereotype for that particular image which is what I did when writing her character biography.
Other groups worked together on each of the characters, but the group that I was put in we worked solo and then shared our ideas. I found this approach better as the least conflict at the early stages the better.
Briefly we then came up with a long list of places that would be featured in our make shift soap opera world. Pub, café, library, bridge, park and pound shop were just a few of the suggested places that would feature in our community.
We also need to name our community in the upcoming weeks.
It’s certainly exciting to be part of something new creatively, and of course getting to know new people in this context is something that I find beneficial. Who knows, today community radio – tomorrow the writing team on House of Cards!
MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE
There are a couple of things to bear in mind when visiting the Big Apple.
The food is very cheap, and I have already marvelled at the “all you can drink” coffee that gets refilled for as long as you sit in a diner/restaurant, but what I didn’t mention is tipping.
We always put a tip of between 10% and 20% onto the food bill no matter how good/bad the food was. The reason being as above, but also because the staff in New York were always so friendly, polite and helpful. If you need tips to pay the rent then of course you will be polite, but nevertheless it was a fraction of the normal food bills we have on the rare occasion we dine out in Manchester.
Prior to going to America I was told a few stories (surprisingly by people who hadn’t actually travelled over the Atlantic so no doubt were confusing their facts with television). One story was that New Yorkers hate us British.
That may be so, but in no part of my five days in the City did I experience anybody being rude to us. In fact I found the opposite. Whenever we stood on a street with our map in front of us trying to find our next destination, every single time a New Yorker would stop and ask if they could help us.
Let me tell you if you were standing with a map open in Manchester you would be ignored and would end up having to ask for directions. As for London? – well the folk in London would never notice you as they never look up from the ground to make eye contact with anyone. And yes, I have experienced this in London where the code on the underground is to stare at the floor.
Secondly, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to make sure you have decent, comfortable shoes for walking around in. I didn’t fully appreciate how large New York City is and how much walking we would do, and I got blisters, sore heels and swollen feet. Thank goodness for the Nike shop who kitted me out with trainers that felt like I was walking on cushions.
Finally, plan your days. We didn’t end up doing half of the things we wanted to as we misjudged how much we could fit into a day.
But for anybody reading this who hasn’t been to New York yet – I am really jealous. It is fantastic, the most exciting city I have visited so far on my journey and I will certainly be back there to see her again.