Category Archives: Traverse Fifty

The Traverse Fifty – Submissions and the London Collective’s rehearsed readings

Everything has been go go go in Traverse Fifty land over the past week. Firstly, we had our deadline for the twenty minute play festival submission and then each had a meeting with one of the Traverse Theatre creative team about our work. My meeting was with the lovely Hamish Pirrie (Traverse Associate Director), who offered some advice and insight so that I could improve on my most recent draft of Cause for Alarm. I am currently rewriting and hoping…

On Sunday 2nd June some of the London members of the Traverse Fifty took on the task of staging rehearsed readings of our work at the Invisible Dot in Camden Stables Market. Thanks mainly to the hard work of our own Iain Mitchell, the day was great fun and a huge success, with six plays being staged by a talented collective of writers, actors and directors. The plays were:

Sixty by NSR Khan

Culling by Iain Mitchell

Para by Deborah Klayman

Natural Break by James Green

Birdwatching by Helen Shutt

Sweetcorn by Emily Jenkins

A massive thank you to the actors who took part, namely: Gerri Farrell, Jessica Martenson, Augustina Seymour, Helen Shutt, Hugh Coleridge, Julius Metson Scott and Paul Kevin-Taylor; and to Sarah Davies and Iain Mitchell, who were our fabulous directors. Thanks too to the other writers who all came along and participated in making the day a success – NSR Khan brought the amazing food, James Green travelled a great distance and came bearing gifts, and Helen and I lent our acting skills to the event.

Also, in case anyone missed them the first time round, the Traverse Fifty Plays for Edinburgh – all originally staged in January of this year – are to be performed again at the Traverse on the 30th and 31st August 2013. My play, The Boundary, will be shown on the first night. Tickets can be purchased here!

As I post this I am also packing to go to the airport, ready for another packed day of workshops at the Traverse tomorrow! Exciting times 🙂

Advertisements

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!


Launching The Traverse Fifty

The Traverse Fifty Board

After an exciting and nerve-wracking wait, the Traverse Fifty officially launched on 14th January 2013! The launch day had the feel of a first day of school or uni, with all the participants – if they were anything like me – feeling like the new kid and tentatively approaching each other in the theatre bar. Fortunately, the excitement  quickly took over and all the writers were soon chatting and swapping stories and experiences like old friends.

We then took part in a day of discussions with and talks from well-established playwrights Zinnie Harris, Douglas Maxwell, Lynda Radley, and Kieran Hurley. Orla & Hamish gave us some insight into the year ahead, and also told us that the ‘Plays for Edinburgh’ evening on 26th Jan would now be two evenings, as due to popular demand they had added a show on the 25th!

The event was a bit of a whirlwind, and I found myself heading back to London the following morning just dying to pick up a pen and start writing. Before my play ‘The Boundary’ was even submitted to the Traverse Fifty I knew I wanted to develop it into a full length play, so between the launch and the play night I set about sketching the outline and researching some new aspects of the play. I received a call from Assistant Director Jo Rush during rehearsals for the play as some questions had been raised by the cast, and I was so delighted to be involved in the process and to offer my thoughts. At the same time, the actors’ questions gave me some things to think about, and pushed me in the direction of some new research which was incredibly helpful.

I landed back in Edinburgh on the 25th, and made a beeline for the Traverse where the first performance was underway. Running at a staggering 3 1/2 hours, the performance went really well and the audience all seemed to be in really good spirits. I had the chance to chat with a few people I knew in the audience as well as other Traverse Fifty writers who had been in, and when I went home that evening I just couldn’t wait to see everyone’s work the following night.

The Traverse Fifty Photo by Eoin Carey

The Traverse Fifty
Photo by Eoin Carey

On the 26th, as we all clustered together on the Traverse One stage for the photo call, there was a definite nervous energy in the room. Afterwards in the bar here were some new faces who hadn’t made the launch day, plus many of us had friends and family in tow, so there was a fantastic buzz and air of expectation.

Despite the name, there were actually fifty-three plays in the running order. Zinnie Harris and Kieran Hurley’s plays top and tailed the bill, and my little play, ‘The Boundary’, was close to the end of the first half. It is impossible to pick out favourites, but the other writers’ plays were a lovely mix: funny, touching and surprising pieces all performed by the fabulous cast and thoughtfully staged by Orla and Hamish. I was delighted with the performance of my play, and a few days later was overjoyed to get a mention in Joyce McMillan’s review of the evening:

“I loved Deborah Klayman’s Boundary, which brought images of cities divided by war home to the urban boundary between Edinburgh and Leith.”

All in all January’s events were fantastic, and made me all the more focused on developing ‘The Boundary’ and my other ideas while I have the Traverse’s support and other events to help me hone my work. 2013 is looking like a very creatively exciting year, and I can’t wait to see what happens next…


The Traverse Fifty

In celebration of their 50th anniversary in 2013, the Traverse Theatre launched a competition in September to find 50 writers from Scotland and beyond for a year-long attachment.  The Traverse Fifty application was a 500-word play submission with the theme “Plays for Edinburgh”, and being both a writer and an Edinburgh native I thought this was a brief I could get my teeth into.

I promptly set about writing The Boundary, my uber-short about the Edinburgh/Leith divide, and was delighted to be notified in December that I had been selected as one of the Traverse Fifty! This certainly meant my 2013 started with a bang, and the year ahead is looking very exciting indeed, albeit extremely busy…

Since I no longer live in Scotland the main issue is physically getting to the monthly events at the Traverse.  I have begun the intricate juggling act that is finding regular travel between London and Edinburgh that does not require a remortgage, and so far have managed to book up until April without too much difficulty. The theatre are kindly assisting with costs which is a huge help, particularly as this month we have two events that I certainly would not be willing to miss.

This Monday, 14th Jan, is the Traverse Fifty official launch day so I have already landed in Edinburgh and am eagerly awaiting my first opportunity to meet the Traverse team and the other fourty-nine and to hear about the plans for the year ahead.

1 city, 50 writers, 50 plays, 25,000 words

On the 26th Jan the Traverse is staging the plays of all those selected in an evening entitled “50 Plays for Edinburgh“. The showcase is directed by Orla O’Loughlin and Hamish Pirie, and tickets are a very reasonable £6 (£4 conc). I will be there with very excited bells on!