Heaven Blogs #4: A post that got away from me somewhat

*excellent, & heartwarming post on writing & collaborative theatre development/dramaturgy…

I’ve just spent three incredible days in the depths of the Roxy, watching characters who have existed in my head for three years starting to take shape.

I can’t pretend that I have even the least amount of chill about this. The process of making theatre blows my mind every single time, and this is the first time I’ve had the chance to work this way on one of my own scripts. I’ve watched other people direct my text, I’ve directed other people’s texts, but I’ve never been both writer and director on anything but development pieces.

Over the past few days I’ve found myself saying repeatedly that I know almost nothing about this play. That might sound like an odd thing for the writer to say, but… it’s true. Yes, I poured my research and craft and love and labour into the script. I thought I knew the characters…

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Heaven Blogs #3: Domingues D’Avila’d

Time to introduce the Heaven Burns team…

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There they are! From left to right, Kirsty Eila McIntyre (Isobel), Susanna Macdonald-Mulvihill (Christian), Flavia D’Avila (movement director), Daniel Hird (understudy) and Andrew Findlater (John).

I’m so happy that these guys could all be involved. Kirsty, Susanna and Andrew were in the rehearsed reading back in 2015 and they were always going to have first refusal on their roles if the opportunity to stage the play ever arose. Dan is stepping in to cover a performance before he heads off to drama school. And Flavia…

If you know my work, chances are you’re also familiar with Flav. Artistic Director of Fronteiras Theatre Lab, director of the beautiful and award-winning show La Nina Barro, We met during our undergrad at QMU, the hell in whose flames our bond was forged, and we’ve been working together in various capacities ever since. She always encourages…

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Heaven Blogs #2: Prima la musica, poi le parole

Music is vitally important to my writing. The first thing I do when I start work on a new play is figure out the soundtrack – not music that will make it into the script directly (usually), but the sounds that feel like the world of the play. It’s one of my favourite parts of the process, not just because it’s useful to me creatively but because the hours that I spend searching for the right pieces always yield a ton of excellent new discoveries.

I start by going to YouTube and if I have a piece in mind, I look it up and start wandering through the recommended videos. If I don’t have any specific starting point in mind, I just start typing words related to the world and characters until I find something. Even when I do know which track to start with, it’s often quite abstract. I…

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Heaven Blogs #1: The Origin Story

I’ve picked up a lot of new followers recently, which I imagine has something to do with the EdFringe entry for Heaven Burns going live… which probably means it’s about time I wrote something about the show!

The short introduction to Heaven Burns is this: I’ve been fascinated by the Scottish witch hunts since my teens, so when I started writing plays it was only a matter of time before I wrote one on the subject. That play was Heaven Burns, which I wrote in 2015. There was a rehearsed reading at Previously… Scotland’s History Festival that year, followed by two years of looking for a home for the script. After a lot of rejections I was on the point of shelving it, but then the Assembly Roxy Theatre Award came up and I decided to give it one last shot… and I won! Heaven Burns will run for…

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The Nastyversary

A year ago yesterday I received a book in the post. This book:

Nasty Women author copy

My contributor copy of 404 Ink‘s Nasty Women. The look on my face is somewhere between pride, joy and sheer bloody terror based on the growing realisation that this book was something much bigger than I’d anticipated.

I’d first heard about 404 Ink through my husband, Mark Bolsover, who had spotted them on Twitter and foretold their greatness/retweeted them a lot. As the deadline for submissions for the first issue of their lit mag approached, Mark kept nudging me to send something in. I kept putting it off because the only thing I had to send was a monologue and I doubted they’d want it. Then, half an hour before submissions closed, 404 tweeted a gif from one of my favourite songs.

Muse gif

I don’t think it was that actual gif, but it was close…

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Audition Day

syncretic theatre research blog

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On Saturday night, I had this odd feeling of being ready with more than 24 hours to go. The paperwork for candidates and panel was printed and organised in folders, the little balls of yarn were prepared and in a nice bag (not the Brazilian pharmacy poly bag with little sanitary pads depicted that I inadvertently used at the RCS Learning and Teaching week), everyone had been emailed contact details for me and Kris and the address of the studio. Therefore, the only thing that was left to happen on Sunday was to be hit by audition nerves. This was an odd experience, because in theory, I would hold the power in the room. It would be my decision, I would do the judging. So why was I getting nervous? I think that somewhere in my mind, because I am a student, I feel like I should be assessed. My…

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The ‘Western/Non-Western’ problem

*Interesting thought piece by Flavia D’Avila, on the problem of the terms non-Western/Western. …

syncretic theatre research blog

I’m trying to edit my literature review and four lines in, I get stuck. The line begins:

Debate centers on readings of re-contextualised canonical texts and plays written by non-Western playwrights […]

I don’t like non-Western.

Western and non-Western are terms I’ve contended with since 2009, when I struggled to use them in an essay for a module called, precisely, Non-Western Theatre in my undergraduate course. I’ve used them in my writing since, generally with an added footnote, explaining that I’d rather avoid this terminology, but I still don’t have anything better to take its place. But maybe the time to figure out an answer to that problem is now, during my PhD. No more apologetic footnotes.

One of my issues with these terms is, quite plainly, that there’s a ring of flat earth theory to it. Dividing a round planet into eastern and western hemispheres sounds a bit…

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