I’ve been surprised by how excited I am to work with Theatre Centre, or rather I’ve been surprised by how far off track I’ve gotten as a writer. I started writing to give myself interesting parts to play, and then the focus shifted to the audience – giving them unlikely, un-patriarchal protagonists. Somewhere along the way I’ve got a bit distracted by wanting glossy commissions from big shiny theatres. I somehow forgot that I really passionately want to make theatre for a diverse audience, an audience that haven’t seen themselves represented in mainstream work, an audience that perhaps think theatre is not for them . So I’m thrilled to be working with Theatre Centre who are making proper exciting work across the nation for young people who are brutally honest in their response, they’re up for being challenged but won’t ever let you be casual with them
Remembering the terrible TIE work I saw as a school child, feeling frustrated by it, knowing it could be so good, but instead being forced to watch something patronising and lazy and boring. The idea of writing for that audience thrills (and terrifies) me.
We’ve had two learning days at Theatre Centre so far and both have been brilliant. Like, genuinely, absolutely brilliant. Hearing from school teachers the actual tangible impact of government policy on their day to day work was very eye-opening. It’s really fuelled my respect for teachers, they’re proper on the front line, educating and inspiring despite the stupidly long hours, lack of support and new Offsted-hoops to jump through.
Learning about the neurological development of children and teenagers from two amazing clinical psychologists blew my tiny mind. We’ve had writing workshops from previous Theatre Centre writers, who’ve kindly shared some of their practice with us. They’ve tested me to think beyond my own current box of tricks and try new methods of work-shopping and writing.
As artists, if we’re genuinely passionate about provoking cultural change then working with young people is a no brainer. The potential for inspiring young minds and learning from them too is far more exciting to me than preaching to the self-congratulatory choir. I’m about to start writing my first ‘splurge’ draft and I’m feeling inspired and supported. Really grateful to be part of this fellowship.
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