Alex Bulmer: What's new?

14 July 2014

Last December we announced that Theatre Centre and playwright Alex Bulmer had successfully applied to the BBC Performing Arts Fund to support a year-long Fellowship. In her second blog tracking her progress throughout her attachment, Alex lets us know what she's been up to recently…

The last six weeks have included a trip to Canada, where I performed in a new musical satire about disability, assumptions and exploitation. As such I’ve not had quite as much time to dedicate to my writing research for young audiences.

However, while there, I met with Lynda Hill, the Ontario based artistic director of Theatre Direct, which is the closest equivalent to Theatre Centre. She and I talked about creating work for young audiences over a fancy Mexican cocktail in sunny Toronto. She couldn’t have been more clear that the best way to prepare oneself to write for a young audience is to spend time with young people– listen to them, see how they interact, get to know how they talk, and understand what drives them both forward or back. 

She also spoke of the power of theatre for young audiences to impact on the future and the vital role that the arts and creativity play in development and education, from pre-school to University.

She and I both agreed that more support is needed for new plays for young people, beyond the box office selling novel or film adaptations.

In late May I had an intriguing meeting with a drama teacher from Highbury Fields School for girls. It fuelled my interest in female icons and the role of hero and heroine for today’s teenagers. I am looking forward to having more conversations about this in July with designated discussion groups.

Also looking forward to a discussion with a developmental psychologist, as I’m still in search of a better understanding of how story theme and age connect, and how this changes throughout childhood development.

In terms of my writing, I am now revisiting two scripts I’ve written in the past for young audiences. The last six months of reflection and research has given me a new way of assessing my own work, and I’m applying this to the writing – making it more active and sensory rich.

Alex’s Fellowship continues throughout the year – she’ll be attending more performances and receiving guidance on her reading and research from Theatre Centre. To follow her blog posts, sign up to the Theatre Centre mailing list. You’ll also receive regular information about our opportunities for writers, actors and teachers.