The Traverse Fifty – The Journey Continues

In the six weeks since my last Traverse Fifty post, many exciting things have been going on in Travworld!

Firstly, the London chapter of writers (plus the sole representative from the Midlands) met in the main RADA building, in a boardroom so plush it seemed Alan Sugar was about to burst in and give one of us the boot! We had a great discussion and some of us shared work-in-progress, and I was delighted to get such honest and constructive suggestions on my piece, Smash & Grab.

Next we all decamped to Edinburgh for a weekend of workshops at the Traverse. Friday 8th was International Women’s Day and it was so exciting to be in a room full of so many talented and creative writers and to have so many of them be women of all ages. This is not to put down my male peers in the slightest, but with only 17% of plays on UK stages currently being written by women, the egalitarian and positive ethos at the Traverse makes me feel confident that many in the room will be part of improving representation of female playwrights. The workshop itself was an excellent session about structure and rescuing a play that has gone stuck and was delivered by Olivier-nominated playwright Tim Price. Tim was extremely likeable, approachable and supportive and the day was a lot of fun, as well as being invaluable to me as a writer. I took away a lot of tools that will help progress a number of ideas I have had but am struggling to develop, and I am very excited about the rest of the attachment throughout the year.

Saturday’s workshop was led by Zinnie Harris, a prolific playwright and associate artist at the Traverse. The session had some more practical work and we were sent out into the inclement Edinburgh weather in search of interesting people and conversations to inspire some short dualogues which we then worked on back at the theatre. The workshop was about imagery in plays and was very useful as it gave me a different perspective on playwriting being that my pieces are generally very dialogue driven. Zinnie gave some direct feedback on work people shared, including myself, and I definitely learned a lot from her and the other writers in the group.

Before I left Edinburgh to return to London I was lucky enough to be able to make it to a work-in-progress night arranged by one of the Edinbugh-based writers, J.A Sutherland. It showcased work by seven of the Traverse Fifty writers, and was a superb evening and full of exciting new plays. It really made me feel like part of a creative community, and I felt very lucky to be working with so many talented people, many who are teaching me more about the sort of playwright I want to be.

Lastly, the Traverse have just announced the eight writers who have had work selected for the next event – ‘Scratch the Fifty‘ on 13th April. Unfortunately I was not one of those selected, but I am delighted to be able to go and support those who were and can’t wait to see their plays!

Until then, I will be continuing to work on my plays, applying all of the techniques and knowledge I have gathered so far. The rest of the year is looking very exciting indeed!

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About Deborah Klayman

Deborah is an actress, musician, voice artist and writer based in the UK. She trained at the University of Northumbria, where she gained a 1st Class BA (Hons) in Performance, and at Drama Studio London (Postgraduate Diploma in Acting). Deborah has performed in the UK and overseas in a variety of roles which include Emilia in 'Othello' and Juliana Tesman in 'Hedda Gabler' in rep, Regan in 'King Lear', Mrs Pugh/Polly Garter in 'Under Milk Wood' and Fluellen/Alice in Henry V. An accomplished cellist and singer, the projects she undertakes frequently utilise her musical talents. Film and TV roles include: Geordie in a TV pilot for 'Dead Man's Cardy', Reporter in 'Mission London', Sarah in 'For Better or Worse', and Nurse Tremaine in 'Another Day. Deborah is also a successful voice artist, recording projects for companies such as M&C Saatchi/Silverfish Media, BP, Oxford University Press and The Scottish Sunday Express. Deborah is a talented writer, penning plays and screenplays primarily on issues surrounding social justice. Her first play, 'Janetarium', was one of three selected through the Traverse Theatre's Class Act project and was subsequently staged at the Traverse and published in Theatre Scotland Magazine. She later joined the theatre's Young Writers Group, and continued to write and devise plays throughout her university and drama school training. In 2005, she co-authored "Eve & Lilith" with Jessica Martenson which was produced at that year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2011, Deborah co-founded Whoop 'n' Wail Theatre Company with friend, collaborator and writing partner Ali Kemp. Their debut production, 'eXclusion', was produced in association with UK charity Women In Prison and toured to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, London's Waterloo East Theatre, and Bracknell's South Hill Park Arts Centre. Their latest venture, "Whoop 'n' Wail Represents...", showcases new writing that puts gender equality centre stage, working with even numbers of female and male writers and directors to stage plays that pass the Bechdel Test. Deborah was one of the Traverse Theatre's 'Traverse Fifty' (a year-long writing attachment in 2013), and Whoop 'n' Wail's play 'My Bloody Laundrette' recently won the Cambridge University Press "Channel the Bard" competition. View all posts by Deborah Klayman

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