Opened by being very supportive of amateur theatre as many people start there – it’s a fertile breeding ground for all actors. One of the key elements to success is to love the theatre and acting. He praised the professionalism of many amateurs which he stressed should not be confused the “amateurism”. He also stressed the respect for the text and for new writing in amateur theatre – the use of language and understanding it. Overall, he said it was not enough to want to act – you must need to act. If you go on to act professionally you must expect rejection, excoriation and poverty! But still you will feel that you must act. In the amateur theatre all you need is love and some talent but do it for love.
Oliver Ford Davis. On acting Shakespeare
Mike Bartlet - playwright
He has also written screenplays for film and TV series. His 2015 series, Doctor Foster, starring Suranne Jones, won the New Drama award from National Television Awards. Plays include Charles III, Wild, Earthquakes in London and Cock
He noted that directors need two brains going at the same time. First managing what’s going on in the room and second being creative with the text. He said that good writers NEED to write and need to be in theatre. For him writing is like improvisation - characters take on a life if their own. He plans a scene and then populates it with characters. Often creativity is borne out of constraints like deadlines and budgets. Playwrite problems solves. His plays express the way we can choose to be animals or human beings.
Amanda Wittington – playwrite
- Be My Baby, Lady’s Day, Satin and Steel, The Thrill of Love. A woman writing for women. The Thrill of Love her favourite – Hull Truck/John Godber (Happy Families etc) commissioned. Interested in writing as a political act – by its nature it reveals situations and tells a story. Thrill of Love – Ruth Ellis, why she did what she did – explores gap in our knowledge after Dance with a Stranger. She likes people adapting scripts to bring them up to date and make them relevant. Laughter is vital – it gets people to care about the characters.
Her plays, though written for women, are for men to. She makes the point though that, for hetro couples, women tend to book theatre tickets. Taboo area for writing is the right-wing playwrite…asks where the right-wing plays are…
Marketing for theatre, James Seabright
The Producer should be heavily involved in marketing and creativity for the show. There should be a great deal of collusion between the Director and Producer (Production Manager) to create synergy and exploit the shows potential. Role of Producer includes: (1) Budget is important obs! Setting a budget and allocation of it. (2) Administration – licensing, H&S, Risk Assessments (3) Technical - understanding the needs of the show, sets, lights, sound, Get In schedules, cast time calling, theatre access, overall problem solving and pooling resources. (4) Promotion- marketing, Box Office budgeting – what’s needed to make it work financially, PR – not necessarily under control but marketing is. Social Media is key today – more than ever and is very effective but must be managed. Social media gets the message out, brings it to the attention of audiences, Facebook features are very useful. Instagram and snap chat – get cast to make a speech at the end of the show to encourage interaction with social media. Generate engagement at the theatre – provide photo opportunities which can be posted on FB. Time the marketing to get the offer right.
See producerbook.co.uk – website with information
Understand who your audience is, who will fill your seats and how will you find them. NO longer worth taking print advertising “newspapers are dead”. Flyers still have a role, but digital marketing is key, as is pricing – low cost tickets to encourage younger audiences.
Very useful to have focus group – what do you want to see, research your audience.
Jezz Butterworth – playwrite
– The Ferryman, Jerusalem, Mojo, A River etc. He suggests that writers need to be attached to a theatre and part of the process – can’t write in isolation. His first play, Mojo, was at the Royal Court, he was aged 25. Incredible success. Writes for small and large casts, A River has three, The Ferryman 20. The River is his favourite play, “I still don’t know what’s going on in that play”. Plays are entrances and exits, births and deaths – these are the strongest moments in a play.
Begin all drama games by breathing in and out to capacity several times, centring yourself in the room, loosening up - shaking arms, legs and head. Rolling you eyes and circling your jaw.
1. Walk around the room pointing and objects and naming them loudly
2. Walk around the room pointing at objects but as you point name the thing you saw previously.
3. In Fours – one sitting, three around the chair, in turn give - two numbers to multiply, then a sign to identify, then a fact true or false, person sittings answers each as quickly as possible. Swap round every third question.
4. In a group circle copy very subtly what a person across the circle is doing (how they are standing, their hand position, facial expression etc)
5. Pretend to behave like a Mercedes, a Mini Cooper, or a camper van. Walk around the room like one of these cars and eventually group with other people who look like they are the same kind of car.
6. Sit on the floor and begin a story with one word – go around the room, each person developing the story but with just one word each.
7. In a circle again – one word from each person but the next associating that word with another word
8. In a circle again – one word from each person but the next gives a word totally disassociated from the one that went before.