Sparks 2011

A NEW WRITING IMMERSION DAY.

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We are just coming down from a highly successful Sparks event last Sunday (July 3rd) at The Junction.  Billed as a ‘New Writing Immersion day’, it lived up to its name with ceaseless activity from 10am to 8pm.  Sarah Dickenson, from Soho Theatre, ran a fabulous  workshop to kick off the day, and this was followed by an inspiring April de Angelis masterclass.  Both attracted a great variety of writers who had travelled from far and wide to be with us!   Following these, we had the three rehearsed readings of new plays in progress:  Foxfinder by Dawn King, The Plan by Laura Watson (Junction-supported artist), andGirl Walks Into a Bar by Matthew Wilkie.  All 3 plays had feedback and questions from the audience – not always an easy thing to undergo, but truly beneficial to the writers as they ponder future development of their work.  Hats off to Literary Associate Jacqui Honess-Martin who read every page of over 150 scripts submitted to Sparks, and who worked most closely with the featured writers.  Finally, a huge thank you to all who supported the event through their work and participation.

@ The Junction

Our annual Sparks new writing event, a warm-up for the Hotbed festival featuring new plays, workshops, coaching, masterclasses and social events.

Workshop – Finding Your Voice  10.00-12.00

With Sarah Dickenson, Head Reader, Soho Theatre.  Free Event. ONLY 10 PLACES AVAILABLE. To reserve a space email office@menagerie.uk.com

Come and unearth the elements of your own unique playwriting style in this two-hour practical workshop led by Soho Theatre’s Senior Reader, Sarah Dickenson. Through dynamic practical exercises and lively discussion, participants will explore ways into to developing distinctive dialogue, memorable characters and sparkling settings for bold, exciting and authentic theatre. This session is aimed at early career writers. Places are free but limited, booking is required.

Masterclass Workshop 12.00-14.30

With April De Angelis, acclaimed playwright (RSC, RNT etc)  £20/£15 Concessions. ONLY 12 PLACES AVAILABLE. To reserve a space email office@menagerie.uk.com

This is a practical playwriting workshop for all writers who have some experience of writing for the stage.

April began her career in theatre as an actress in the 1980s before turning to writing plays in 1987. Since then her work has been presented by every major British theatre including the Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Out of Joint and the Royal Court. Her fourth play for the Royal Court will be produced in October 2011. She is also under commission to the National Theatre and the Manchester International Festival. April was the previous director of the Masters Degree in Playwriting Studies at Birmingham University and has led Royal Court workshops for the International Department in Latin America, the Middle East, India and Russia.


Staged Readings of new plays

Foxfinder 15.00-17.00

By Dawn King

Directed by Jacqui Honess-Martin

“If there was something going on, on our land, I’d know. Don’t I know my own land? I’m out there all times of day and night and I’ve seen nothing. You’ve seen nothing. The men have seen nothing. There is nothing.”

Judith and Samuel’s struggle to meet their farm quota has drawn unwanted attention. Now they know the source of their misfortune all that is left to do is hunt it down, wherever it hides.

Dawn King weaves a subtle and chilling tale of how we choose to construct truth and face our demons.

Dawn King is one of ten writers chosen for the BBC Writersroom 10 scheme, and through this is on attachment to West Yorkshire Playhouse. She is under commission to write My One and Only, an afternoon play for BBC radio 4, and an episode of horror series The Man in Black for BBC radio 4 Extra. Previous radio work includes afternoon play 28 and episodes for the first and second series of science fiction drama Planet B for BBC radio 7. She was made co-series leader for the third series. Her film script The Squatter’s Handbook won the UK Film Council’s 25 Words or Less pitching competition in 2005, and she is currently has a short in development with the British Film Institute. Recent theatre work includes: Water Sculptures/ZOO double bill – The Union Theatre, Face Value – Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, The Bitches’ Ball – Hoxton Hall, National Tour and Edinburgh Assembly Rooms and Doghead Boy and Sharkmouth Go To Ikea – The Junction, Cambridge.  Previous work has received performances, workshops and readings at; Royal Court Theatre, Soho Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Theatre503, Arcola, Old Red Lion, Etcetera Theatre, The Latitude Festival, Resonance FM and The Union Theatre. She has also had a short play performed in a pod of the London Eye. Dawn holds an MA distinction in Writing for Performance from Goldsmiths University, London.


The Plan 17.15-18.00

By Laura Watson

Directed by Patrick Morris

Rosie’s Dad has been missing for months, but she hasn’t given up hope. As the anniversary of his disappearance approaches, Rosie concocts a plan to bring him home. Rosie’s friend Jack thinks she’s losing her marbles and her mother and grandmother refuse to acknowledge the gap in their family.

Will Rosie’s plan work? And will the family survive the outcome?

Laura Watson is a freelance scriptwriter, living in Cambridgeshire. Laura has written for EastEnders, Casualty and Radio 4. She has had a theatre play, ANGEL IN THE PARK performed at The Kings Theatre in Newmarket and has also had work performed by WriteOn and Classworks in Cambridge. Laura is currently on the Escalator Performing Arts Initiative and has received a grant from the Arts Council to research and write her theatre play, THE PLAN, with support from Menagerie Theatre Company and Gomito Productions. Laura also runs a variety of drama and scriptwriting workshops for both adults and children.


Girl Walks Into A Bar 18.30-20.00

By Matthew Wilkie

Directed by Paul Bourne

“Is this where I want to get off? I ask.

A pause.

“No-one ever wants to get off here”, says the guard

Won’t be another one until dusk

I know. I say. I know.”

A girl’s search for answers leads her to a remote town where she must trace the footsteps of the girl who went before her.

Matthew Wilkie’s beautifully crafted play interweaves the two girls’ journeys through the small town’s bars and beauty salons and out into the afterlife.


Matthew Wilkie is a playwright whose previous theatre credits include Bliss (Platform 4, Salisbury), 412 Letters (Union Theatre, London), Dark Sometimes (Edinburgh Fringe), Sunday in the Park with Frank (Short and Sweet Festival, Sydney, and Mind The Gap Theatre, New York) and Horst Buchholz And Other Stories (Bewley’s Café Theatre, Dublin), which he also adapted for BBC Radio 4’s Afternoon Play.  Matthew has written for BBC Radio 7 and is currently working on a new play for BBC Radio 4 Extra, The New Boy.

All readings FREE – no booking required… each play is followed by a short talk-back.

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Professional Development coaching

One to one coaching sessions (1 hour) with Andrew Burton – writer and career coach. £35/£28 Concessions. ONLY 5 PLACES AVAILABLE. To reserve a space email office@menagerie.uk.com

More information on Sparks professional development coaching

BBC Plays

An opportunity to listen to recordings of Menagerie’s short BBC Radio Dramas throughout the day…

The Junction Café/Bar will be open all day for coffees and cold drinks.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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