Writing and Producing a Play #1

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So I’ve been encouraged to write about the production of my play so I’m intending on doing this every few weeks and seeing what comes of it. Alongside writing these blogs for Sense Social I’m also trying to be recognised as a play writer and so this September I’ll be putting on a play I’ve been working on for the last 2 years called ‘Ghosts Aren’t Real’. It’s a horror play about grief which is an examination of belief at its call. It’s also funny, I think. 

I’m a reasonably experienced writer for my age. I’ve been breaking down stories and understanding why I enjoyed them and why I didn’t for as long as I can remember. Trips to the cinema for me are more akin to a biology class dissection than to light entertainment. I enjoy pulling stories apart and putting them back together better. I’m a bit like a mechanic but for stories and despite having written films in the past I thought I’d take on a medium I’ve always loved, the theatre. 

Where I’m much less experienced is with the producing element. I’ve done very little producing and none in theatre so this is a big adventure for me. I’m jumping off a cliff and assembling the plane on the way down so to speak. I suppose it’s this attempt that makes my personal story relevant to our platform. It’s an example of the sort of things that Sense Social support and wants to encourage on a community level. I hope that whoever reads these can find something inspiring in these blogs. ‘If he can do it, why can’t I?’ Sort of thing.

These last weeks have been a lot of new things. I’ve got to sign a contract with the theatre and pay them for the week’s rental as well as a lighting technician. I’ve been working with the director to cast the play which is difficult if you are, as I am, unable to pay the actors. We’ve been in conversation with a number of actors who are interested and yesterday confirmed someone to play one of the four roles. I’m hoping to have two people by the end of tomorrow. 

Yesterday I got lucky whilst looking for rehearsal spaces for the show. Rehearsal spaces tend to take up a lot of your budget as they generally charge by the hour and it adds up. Can cost you around £50 per rehearsal. Yesterday, I emailed the pastor of a Baptist church which I have been to and knew had a wonderful space downstairs to host rehearsals. They got back to me and said that rehearsing in that space for free would be totally fine and that they’d love to help out. This is fantastic news as it means that we’ll be able to cover a large number of our rehearsals and put the budget more into lighting, set and costumes. 

Most people who have read the play have been extremely positive about it. Right from day one, I was taken aback by how people responded to the first draft. I’ve worked as an actor since I was a child so I know the difference between people pretending to like your work and people actually liking it. This was very much the latter. I’ve been really encouraged by my friends who are also writers to keep going with this drafting process to get it to the point it’s at now. I’m extremely proud of the script and am hoping that this will be a great show.   

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