For our 17th night at the Door – yes that’s right, 17th – Boldtext Playwrights presented their third Doubled Up evening.
These are occasional evenings where two of our playwrights showcase longer extracts from work in progress to help with the development process of full length plays. This is invaluable for the writers, as it gives a chance to see the staging, the characterisation and the plotting working in front of audience and assess the way all these aspects can be improved/ changed/developed. Having said that, it is always a tense time as you see the audience react to your words for the first time but it often brings real surprises as sections you have struggled with seem to work effortlessly and unexpected moments of humour emerge which bring laughs rather than smiles. Of course, every audience is different but a number of real insights are always there for the writers. It is also a chance to work closely with directors and actors who bring their ideas and interpretations to help in a collaborative process and make work a real joy.
For our May 22nd ‘Doubled Up’, myself (Julia Wright) and Liz John presented the first 40 minutes of our full length plays. Liz’s World War 3 looked at the challenges of the environment facing young people and the lack of power they can feel at being able to decide their own futures. Liz had two days of workshop and rehearsal before the showcase, giving her time to develop and rewrite as the time progressed and see the characters arise as individuals, each with their own stories to tell. All the cast were playing teenagers/early 20’s and seeing the world from their viewpoint which gave Liz the chance to immerse herself in that world. The digital age has changed life so much for them, while some aspects of their emotional responses remain universal and easily able to be identified with.
My play ‘Unfollow Me’ (Julia Wright) was about the worrying consequences of stalking and its profound effect on, in this instance, a 25 year old young woman. I had one day of workshop/rehearsal before the evening and, as I directed it myself, I found the insights of the actors into the characterisations invaluable. The character of the male stalker was, obviously, really difficult in order to strike the right balance between understanding and condemnation so that he could be believable and not just a product of careful research. Each actor was able to look at the relationships within the play from their character’s viewpoint and make brilliant suggestions to enable me to make subtle changes to the script to produce major shifts of tension and complexity.
As usual, the show was sold out but on the night, there were 8 or 10 empty seats. Please can we ask our very loyal audience to cancel your reservations if you are unable to attend, as we are always having to turn away people who want to come but have no tickets. Our next show, Fake Times, is on September 19th and we look forward to seeing you there.
Bold Text Playwrights return to The REP on Monday 22 May 2017 with Doubled Up – two plays-in-progress from BOLDtext writers Liz John and Julia Wright.
WORLD WAR 3 by Liz John
Zoe is fighting for the planet. James yearns for a career. Kat needs her sister to be ok. Ella just wants it all. But no-one listens to young people so now it’s time to make a stand. Can the fiery enthusiasm of youth overcome the cynical politics of today’s Britain? A challenging, acerbic tale of conflicting ambition in the 21st Century.
Liz’s work ‘shone out as a masterpiece of compression’ – LichfieldLive (about ‘Perversion of Science’)
UNFOLLOW ME by Julia Wright
What is the tipping point where obsession becomes truly dangerous? Ayesha, Natalie and Sam have to make the choices which will determine all of their futures. Who is really in charge? Who is losing the fight?
Follow Julia on twitter @JuliaWriting
Come along and catch extracts of these two plays-in-progress at 8pm on Monday 22nd May as part of The REP’s Open Door season. Continue reading
Our very own Stephen Jackson’s fabulous musical extravaganza, Roller Diner, opens at London’s Soho Theatre on Friday 26th May until Sat 24th June. Steve showcased this play at a BOLDtext event at The Rep back in 2014, and it went on to win the Verity Bargate Award. We can’t wait for Steve’s unique perspective on life to hit the London stage! He’s such a talent and we’re very proud.
Home of the full English Brexit
Welcome to Eddie Costello’s Roller Diner – a faded Brummie beacon of a deep fried American dream. The staff can’t skate and there’s a whiff of burnt sausages and disappointment.
So when new waitress Marika arrives from somewhere foreign looking for a slice of a better life, hearts are set alight in a fiery recipe of love, jealousy and murder.
A theatrical jukebox sizzling with songs, sexual tension and failed dreams… all served with extra ketchup.
Directed by Soho Theatre Artistic Director Steve Marmion, Roller Diner is the professional debut of Birmingham writer Stephen Jackson and the winner of Soho Theatre’s prestigious Verity Bargate Award for new writing.
A savage sweet musical comedy, it opens up the heart of middle England and the universal search for a place to call home. Book via Soho Theatre.
Come January, will you have an empty bank account, a tight waistband and a pile of unwanted Christmas presents cluttering up the house?
Then get down to The REP on Monday 9 January 8pm in The Door where BOLDtext’s Stephen Jackson, Liz John, Vanessa Oakes and Julia Wright will be exploring the politics of consumption and questioning why we all want so much more than we need.
Do bring along all your unwanted Christmas presents, as after the show we’ll be hosting an Unwanted Christmas Present Swap with any leftovers donated to local charity.
These script-in-hand new writing nights are very popular so please do reserve your ticket in advance.
It’s free to book then pay-what-you-can on the night (we will rattle a bucket at you on the way out).
CALL BOX OFFICE 0121 236 4455 Mon-Sat 10am-7pm
Or via this link Birmingham Rep
You can follow BOLDtext Playwrights on Facebook, Twitter and at
On Thursday 24th November 2016 at 8pm, BOLDtext Playwrights are stirring things up again at The Door, Birmingham Rep with Behind Bars, three brand new short plays about Prison Reform from Liz John, Nicola Jones and Tim Stimpson, writer of Helen’s trial in The Archers. The director is the BBC’s Jessica Dromgoole.
Does prison work? Or is it a revolving door?
We lock up more offenders than any other Western European country, yet UK re-offending rates remain sky high – 60% in Birmingham for those serving sentences under 12 months. And with under-staffing, over-crowding, spiralling rates of assault, self-harm and suicide, substance misuse and mental illness – what can our prison system realistically achieve? What are the alternatives?
The plays will be followed by a debate: Does Prison Work? with panellists from both sides of the justice system.
Tickets are free but should be booked in advance at Birmingham Rep, then Pay-What-You-Can on the night. Or you can book at 0121 236 4455. Come and join the discussion – and have your say!
Liz and Vanessa arrive at Astley Castle to set up for our ‘Write What You Know Workshop’.
One of the grander workshop venues we have encountered so far.
Fingers crossed that the weather holds…
…because this is our view of the ceiling.
At tea break we all retired to Astley Reading Rooms for tea/coffee (and cake) and as the rain began to fall we decided to order another round of drinks and continue indoors.
Lunchtime brought a welcome break in the clouds, and Steve…
…with his trusty trolley.
Steve rehearsing Liz (Julia’s understudy).
The audience start to arrive…
Waiting for the rain and the thunder to abate so we can finally begin.
We met some lovely people and had a great day (despite the British weather). Thanks for having us!
I loved the relaxed feel of it all and the wealth of knowledge from the workshop leaders.
All elements were perfectly timed. Full of tips and ideas and very laid back. Very helpful.
Given me new enthusiasm for writing my book.