Category Archives: Inspiration

LPW Online Book club – join us!

The LPW Online Book Club is our latest initiative, exclusive for our members.

Not a member yet? Well, if you want a jump start for your writing for the price of a cup of coffee, what are you waiting for? Sign up here today! (Want more reasons to join and a bit more info? Read this).

More about the Book Club…

For our first outing, we’ll be reading Hamlet. There’s a good chance you’ve encountered this play before – but analyzing it as a playwright is an entirely different experience. We’ll be approaching the text from a writer’s perspective to look at why it works and has continued to fascinate generations of theatremakers and audiences.

How does it work? 

All you need to do is read the play and come on over to our Members Facebook Group to join the discussion! Book club threads will be marked with the hashtag #bookclub, so it will be easy to find the discussion.

When does it start? 

We’re giving you two weeks to read the play, and then discussion will start at lunchtime on Friday 15 September 2017. Don’t worry if you haven’t finished the play by then, we’ll be starting at the beginning with our discussion, so there will still be a lot that you can get out of it.

However, we can’t be held liable for any spoilers, so if this is something that will bother you, probably best to finish the play before the book club starts.

We’ll be discussing the play in the Facebook Group throughout the rest of the month of September, so if there’s a question or a topic you want to explore with a group of writers, this is the perfect opportunity.

Find out more and sign up to become a member here!

 

Are women writers making themselves invisible?

For Women’s Equality Day, LPB is re-running this post from last year’s Dark Horse Festival, which was our most shared post of 2016.  

After the post went live, we saw a huge uptick in submissions from female writers. In fact, we ended the submission period with roughly equal submissions from male and female writers.

But this is still a problem. And it’s not just us who have encountered it. Even the Royal Court, which has achieved fantastic gender parity, is still receiving twice as many unsolicited scripts from men as it is from women

Today, no matter your background, we’d ask you to consider whether you’re being brave and bold about putting your work out there.

The world wants your stories. Make sure you’re giving us the chance to hear them.

Last week, London Playwrights Workshop put out a call for scripts for the Dark Horse Festival, a script showcase that will be taking place as part of London Writers Week 2016.

We were excited as the submissions started to roll in, but we quickly noticed something that seemed odd, and even downright disturbing.  While we were getting loads of emails from men, we were receiving hardly any from women.  In fact, a cursory count reveals that women currently make up approximately 25% of the submissions we’ve received.

We haven’t yet had an opportunity to do an analysis of our equal opportunities forms to see how we stack up on other counts (such as ethnic heritage and disability), and how these ratios compare to how these groups are represented in society.  But the gender issue is clear – if women are 50% of the population, we should be seeing scripts from them.  But it isn’t happening.

So, ladies, we have to ask – what is going on?

It’s well-documented that women playwrights are underrepresented in the industry.  As reported last year in The Guardian, in 2013 only 31% of new plays were by women.

As a female playwright myself, I’ve been frustrated and dissatisfied when I’ve seen organisations throw their hands up saying ‘women don’t submit as much’ as an excuse for not having an equal gender balance in their programming.  But now as a festival organiser, I’m experiencing firsthand how much more difficult it is to programme equally when women aren’t sending in their scripts.

There’s a brilliant community of women writers out there.

We know, because we’ve met them.

Since London Playwrights Workshop was set up, women have outnumbered men on nearly every course we have run.  (Including one unusual occasion where we had nine women in the room to only one man.)

And yet… 26% of Festival submissions?  No matter how you shake it, these numbers just don’t add up.

As a team, we’ve been asking ourselves, why this could be?  Is there something in the call that puts women off?  (Even though we made it a point to specifically encourage underrepresented voices.)  Perhaps female writers are planning to submit, but are just getting to it a bit later.

Is it possible that they are more discriminating than their male counterparts?  Or are they just more discouraged?

Although my personal and anecdotal experience contradicts the statistics (fortunately for me), it’s unquestionable that there’s gender bias in the arts.  And if I’m honest, there have been times when I’ve questioned if being a woman has held me back in my career.  There are stories I want to see onstage that aren’t there yet.  And I’ve despaired when reading stories like this Jezebel post, where a female writer received eight and a half times more responses (17 out of 50 queries) when she sent out her query under a male pseudonym.

Other people – male and female – clearly feel the same way.  There’s been an explosion of groups that have picked up the baton from individual trailblazers to promote more equality in the arts – organisations like Tonic Theatre, 17 Percent, Waking The Feminists, and The Kilroys.

There’s been a lot of attention on what theatres and producers need to do.  This is important and correct.  But it’s a strange thing to open a door, and not see people stepping forward to walk through it.  Maybe there’s also something that needs to be done from the other direction, giving women the inspiration – or the wakeup call – that part of the power is in our hands to submit early, often, and enthusiastically.

If your experience as a playwright is anything like mine, you’ve undoubtedly been disappointed in past submissions.  And you will no doubt continue to be disappointed.  This may partly be because of lingering sexism.  This may partly be down to luck.  This may partly be because this industry requires thick skin to rival a rhino to stick with the repeated rejections that will come your way.  It sucks, and there’s no point pretending otherwise.

But that doesn’t mean you should stop or slow down.  Not for one minute.  I say this for all the writers, but it seems it’s the women who particularly need to hear it.  Don’t question yourself or your talent (or at least, only question yourself in a way that’s artistically fruitful).  Send your stuff in.  This is how you get seen, and this is how you get produced.

As we watched these submissions roll in, it felt irresponsible not to say something.  We understand that writing this post may affect the makeup of the scripts we receive.  (Thus, potentially robbing us of an opportunity to collect data on how people submit without intervention.)  But we’re not scientists.  We’re trying to run a festival giving unheard voices a chance, and we can’t do that without getting the scripts.

The title of this post is purposefully provocative, because we want people to read it and think about these issues.  But we think it’s wrongheaded and unfair to lay this problem solely at the feet of women.

There is something deeply wrong at an institutional or industry level if we’re seeing this discrepancy in behavior.

Here’s what we’re doing in response:

  • We’re actively approaching people who work with new writing. We’re asking them to send us nominations that will help us reach writers we might not otherwise have come into contact with.
  • We’re extending the submission deadline to give us a bit more time to reach more writers.
  • We’re publishing the blog post you’re reading now to call attention to the issue and encourage a more diverse range of submissions.
  • Following the delivery of the festival, we’re going to take steps to look at this issue in more detail. There have been studies done about why theatres aren’t programming women writers, but maybe we need to look at the problem from the other direction as well, to figure out why women aren’t submitting?  Do we need an initiative or programmes to encourage women to send scripts in?

To our readers (and all the playwrights out there), we’d like to say:

Men – Keep up the good work!  We’re thrilled to be hearing from you.  It’s exciting to see all the scripts coming in, and we can’t wait to read them.

Women – We’ve got years of history to catch up with.  Let’s make it happen.  You’ve still got time to send your play in.  Make sure you don’t count yourself out before you even start.

A.C. Smith is Director & Co-Founder of London Playwrights Workshop, and works as a scriptwriter and songwriter in London. 

Photo credit: Kathryn via CC License

Free writing workshop with Papatango winner Dawn King

Dawn King, winner of the 2011 Papatango New Writing Prize for Foxfinder, which was one of The Independent’s Top 5 Plays of the Year,  is to provide a free playwriting workshop at Ovalhouse.

It will cover topics including writing exercises, dramaturgy, exploratory writing, story structure, dialogue, and redrafting.

Dates: Saturday 13 May 2017 and 27 May. The second session is led by Papatango

Cost: free

How to apply: tickets are strictly limited. Get them here

Deadline: none specified

Source:  word of mouth

Free tickets to book launch/showcase of Student Guide to Writing competition winners

The Bush Theatre, MA Dramatic Writing at Drama Centre London at Central Saint Martins, Writers at Work Productions and Oberon Books have announced the book launch and showcase of the winning student and emerging writers’ work from “The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting” competition.

The book launch and showcase of winning work will take place at the Bush Theatre on 9 May 2017 at 2pm.

Free tickets can be booked here

The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting competition ran last year in a partnership between the afore-mentioned organisations to provide access to the leading playwriting training coming out the industry for the first time.

Lesson plans were written by those leading the way in playwriting industry training including lesson plans on Getting Started by Rob Drummer, at the time dramaturg at the Bush Theatre and now artistic director of Boundless Theatre, Ideas by Ola Animashawun, founder of the Royal Court Theatre’s young writers programme, Structure by John Yorke, founder of the BBC Writers Academy, Dialogue by Fin Kennedy, founder of Schoolwrights and Artistic Director of Tamasha theatre company, Staging Your Work by writer actress and producer Caroline Horton, and Final Advice on the business side of being a writer by Lucy Kerbel, founder of Tonic Theatre.

Student and emerging writer winners were also selected as a result of the competition to have their work showcased as some of the best student and emerging writers in the UK.

The event will also include an In Conversation discussion on why the competition was run and advice for student and emerging writers from Stewart Pringle, associate dramaturg at the Bush Theatre, George Spender, senior editor at Oberon Books, and Jennifer Tuckett, course leader of MA Dramatic Writing at Drama Centre London at Central Saint Martins and director of Writers at Work Productions.
Source: Direct contact

 

UK-wide workshops and talks to get you ready for Verity Bargate Award (Free-£30)

The Verity Bargate Award, one of the biggest UK playwriting competitions, is holding a series of workshops around the country with leading playwrights to share their top tips as you get your play ready to enter the contest.

Workshops in London: £30 workshops at the Soho Theatre run from 15 April 15-15 June 2017. To book for the workshops with James Graham, Charlotte Josephine, Inua Ellams, Phoebe Eclair-Powell & Theresa Ikoko or Vinay Patel Click here

Do you live outside London? The VBA is offering  free 30 minute talks with Q&A sessions at workshops around the country at the following venues:

West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
Wed 12 Apr, 6pm

Liverpool Playhouse and Everyman
Tue 18 Apr, 5pm

The Royal Exchange, Manchester
Wed 19 Apr, 6pm

The Abbey, Dublin
Sat 29 Apr, 2pm

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Sat 29 Apr, 3pm

Live Theatre, Newcastle Sat 6 May, 1pm

Theatre Royal, Plymouth
Sat 13 May,11am

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff 2pm, Saturday 13 May

For details about these workshops click here.

About the Verity Bargate Award: The Verity Bargate Award winner receives £7000 in respect of an exclusive option for Soho Theatre to produce the play.

The award was established in 1982 to honour Soho Theatre’s co-founder and is presented biennially to an artist resident in the UK or Ireland with fewer than three professional productions.

The prestigious biennial Award seeks stand out inspiring new writing talent with past winners including Vicky Jones and Matt Charman.

Writers may submit one unproduced, unpublished full-length play (not shorter than 70 minutes). There is no restriction to subject matter. Musicals and other forms of theatre are welcome but will only be judged on the text submitted.

This year the award is sponsored by production company Character 7 and one writer will be offered the opportunity to develop their storytelling skills for TV drama. The Character 7 prize will be a separate agreement between Character 7 and the chosen writer.

The following are not eligible: playwrights with three or more professional productions to their credit (defined as those produced under ITC/TMA/WGGB contracts), plays commissioned by Soho Theatre, previous Verity Bargate Award winners and plays that have already been considered by Soho Theatre’s literary department. Submitted plays must be unencumbered and available.

What to submit: The play must have a title page with the author’s name, address, email address and telephone number. In addition, writers must include a CV including listing of all works written/produced, when and where. Plays will only be accepted by email, in a PDF format, other formats cannot be accepted. Soho is not able to consider any other supporting material including music, video, or images.

How To Apply: Please email your submission to vba@sohotheatre.com

Deadline: 5 July 2017 at 12pm

Source: The Soho Theatre Website

Get inspired with Royal Court’s playwrights podcast

Gets inspired by the Royal Court’s Playwrights’ Podcasts which come to an end in February 2017.

Playwright Simon Stevens has been talking to 12  of our most important playwrights about their careers, lives and ambitions since December. He said:  “I have had conversations with some of the most exciting playwrights in the country. It has been a real honour. Our conversations have been rangy and lengthy and detailed and fun. I’ve asked them about their careers and their lives, their ambitions and their work. I think, collectively, they offer an extraordinary insight into how playwrights work in the UK today. I am thrilled that these conversations will be aired over the next few months.”

Podcast release schedule:

Anya Reiss – Friday 10 February

Robert Holman – Friday 17 February

Tanika Gupta – Friday 24 February

Source: Playwriting UK/Twitter RT Simon Stephens

Taking matters into her own hands: Tamara von Werthern on putting women’s voices onstage 

After noticing that her plays were getting programed by female producers, playwright Tamara von Werthern wondered if she could help make opportunities for other underrepresented playwrights. In this guest post, she shares her journey into founding Fizzy Sherbet and creating new opportunities for women writers.

2016 was a bit of a shit year in many respects, but for me, it was surprisingly productive. After concentrating on developing my full-length play almost exclusively for several years, I decided to write and send out some new short plays parallel to my efforts. My youngest child had started nursery in January which gave me three hours each week to write. And somehow, by sending things to every opportunity going, I managed to have five different new short plays performed or staged as readings throughout the year. It was such a joy to turn up at a venue, sit in the audience, and watch my play unfold without having lifted a finger to put it there (apart from clicking ‘send’ of course).

A funny thing I had noticed was that all the producers, programmers and directors, who had picked my plays and decided to include them, were women. I wondered if it had something to do with my subject matters, with the predominantly female casts, or maybe the fact that the female experience, whatever that may be, is quite central to my work. It might have been a coincidence, but I was intrigued.

Being exposed through my work at Nick Hern Books to Tonic Theatre (we publish Lucy Kerbel as well as her excellent Platform series of plays with large female casts), I was also keenly aware of the imbalance of female vs male playwrights in the UK. Just under a third of writers of original work for the stage produced are female (according to the latest British Theatre Repertoire Report), and the gender disparity gets worse the higher up you go, so that in the West End there is the lowest percentage of female writers represented on stage.

But then it dawned on me that while I have been lamenting the fact that I have it harder to get my plays on than my male colleagues (statistically speaking), I was also in a really good position to be part of changing this trend. It’s easier than you might think to take matters into your own hands.

Fizzy Sherbet, a new writing initiative exclusively for women writers was born when I mentioned the idea to the mother of one of my children’s friends, Olivia Trench, over a coffee/playdate. Olivia happens to also be Drama Development Executive at Eleven Film, and her enthusiastic encouragement (as well as her offer to share the reading!) brought the idea a step closer to reality.

Both Olivia and I read a lot of plays in our respective jobs and we felt confident that we would be able to pull it off together. When Lily McLeish, who is a wonderful theatre director and a passionate advocate of gender equality in the theatre came on board, we started to get even more excited. Lily has experience of directing as Katie Mitchell’s associate in large venues (she most recently worked with her on Cleansed at the National Theatre), and as an accomplished director in her own right. Lily and I have been working together for a while now, and I know that she is excellent on text work, so I thought – this is shaping up pretty good! This also gave us a great grounding to begin approaching potential venues.

When we were then offered the Hackney Attic, a lovely cabaret-style venue above the Hackney Picturehouse, where one of my shorts was shown in 2015, as a venue, there was no holding back. We launched Fizzy Sherbet with a Facebook page, and were amazed by the response. Not only did the plays pour in and we received over 200 submissions, but they were also accompanied by messages of gratitude, expressions of delight at the existence of a new initiative supporting this cause and offers of friendship all around.

It was all rather heart-warming and encouraging. And what a treasure trove we had opened!

We read plays on space travel, on scientific discoveries, on the Iranian revolution; plays set in supermarkets, in the sky, under the surface of a lake. We read plays that were heartbreakingly sad and ones that made us laugh out loud. Plays about porn and about dying parents. Political plays, personal plays and plays that were both. The characters included every age, gender definition and even characters from the animal kingdom. It was an enriching and eye-opening experience. Every time we had put the kids to bed, brewed some coffee and opened our laptops, there was a tingle of excitement at what we would discover this time.

When we had first discussed how we wanted to run Fizzy Sherbet, our concern went beyond female playwrights, to the related issue of gender inequality on stage. We wanted to encourage the creation of more interesting, varied and gratifying parts for women to play. When we counted up the characters of the plays we read we found that across the board two thirds of characters were women and one third men.

We were very excited and and hugely encouraged to discover that in this case an exclusively female group of playwrights without any steering in regards of subject matter, delivered a great variety of writing but with a clear natural predominance of female characters. This made us wonder: could the predominance of male characters on our stages might simply be led back to the fact that currently there are more male playwrights being performed in the UK than female?

In our case, simply supporting female writers was indeed part of the solution.

Fizzy Sherbet took place at Hackney Attic on 24th January at 7.30. see: https://www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Hackney_Picturehouse/film/fizzy-sherbet-plays

 

Get inspired by the Royal Court’s podcasts with top playwrights

Gets inspired by the Royal Court’s Playwrights’ Podcasts over Christmas and into the new year.

You can hear Dennis Kelly and Joe Penhall on Friday 23 December,  Polly Stenham on Friday 30 December and  David Hare on Friday 6 January 2017.

Playwright Simon Stevens talks to 12  of them  about their careers, lives and ambitions:

“I have had conversations with some of the most exciting playwrights in the country. It has been a real honour. Our conversations have been rangy and lengthy and detailed and fun. I’ve asked them about their careers and their lives, their ambitions and their work. I think, collectively, they offer an extraordinary insight into how playwrights work in the UK today. I am thrilled that these conversations will be aired over the next few months.”

Podcast release schedule:

Enda Walsh – Friday 9 December 2016

April De Angelis – Friday 16 December 2016

Dennis Kelly & Joe Penhall – Friday 23 December 2016

Polly Stenham – Friday 30 December 2016

David Hare – Friday 6 January 2017

Rachel De-lahay – Friday 13 January 2017

Alistair McDowall – Friday 20 January 2017

Lucy Prebble – Friday 27 January 2017

Anthony Neilson – Friday 3 February

Anya Reiss – Friday 10 February

Robert Holman – Friday 17 February

Tanika Gupta – Friday 24 February

 

Source: Playwriting UK/Twitter RT Simon Stephens

Read original drafts of trailblazing playwrights published free online by British Library

The British Library’s Discovering Literature website will launch in March 2017, providing a chance to read the original drafts of trailblazing playwrights for free online – and perhaps get inspired.

Manuscripts from JB Priestley, Joan Littlewood and Shelagh Delaney will be published free of charge on the British Library website Discovering Literature site from March 2017 – alongside more than 100 other items from its 20th century drama collections, including Terence Rattigan scripts.

Other items include original drafts of plays, reports and correspondence from the Lord Chamberlain’s office, costume and set designs, and letters and photographs. There will also be newly commissioned articles written by theatre figures, including Michael Billington.

The library said: “This array of rich content will offer new insights into the creative lives of these trailblazing playwrights for a new generation.”

They will be made available as high-resolution images.

Discovering Literature is a free-to-use website that gives A-level students and teachers, as well as literature fans, access to content, including collections relating to Shakespeare.

Source: Playwriting UK retweeted The Stage’s article regarding the British Library’s exhibition.

Pursued By A Bear: “I finished my play. What do I do now?”

Pursued By A Bear is our weekly advice column with playwright Adam Taylor.  He’ll tackle your playwriting questions – from practical issues to existential dilemmas – relying on nothing but his bare wits, brute strength, and questionable personal experiences.

“I feel like a marathon runner who has just ran a 10000 MILES and in search for water, but has just been informed water no longer exists; I thirst for hope. So please, HELP ME! Forgive me if that did not make any sense.

I have just finished my first full-length play, I have spent months on end editing and proof-reading the damn thing. I truly believe it is ready to be read and performed. I have submitted the play to some Theatre Companies; however as expected I have either not received a reply or have been told my beloved play is sh*t (in the most formal and polite way). So the question that is continuously running around my mind like Usain Bolt on steroids is, WHAT DO I DO NOW THAT I HAVE FINISHED MY PLAY? 

There are only so many theatres I can submit my play to, as submission windows are only open once in a purple-moon. So do I just wait until a theatre company wants to produce my play?

 I live in the most deadest, culture-less (if that’s a word) place ever that has only ONE theatre, and which chooses to only play pantomimes. Okay, I might be exaggerating, but you get my point? There’s no writing opportunities here in Milton Keynes.

Do I produce the play myself? Which I have thought about doing, however I am apprehensive to because I don’t know ANY like minded artists who work in the realm of Theatre. (Yeah that’s right I’m Billy-no-Mates). Also, If I’m going to produce my play for the first time, I want it to be amazing and not mediocre, and I feel like in order to succeed in doing so I need the right backing, if that makes sense?

You know, I read about so many playwrights who have worked with successful Theatres who have become residential playwrights, and have won numerous awards etc. But one thing they never do is detail (in depth) how these playwrights succeed in doing those things. 

If you would be so kind to advise me on what to do next Guru.”

This is the multi-million pound question – what to do when you’ve put your heart and soul into a play and slaved over it for months/years/decades on end, only to find no one wants to put it on?

It’s a horrible place to find yourself, and it’s probably small consolation, but I’m sure most playwrights have been where you are at some point.

It’s like walking through the Channel Tunnel.

You’ve been stumbling through total darkness for what seems like forever, constantly tripping and falling on your face as the lack of light tricks you into thinking you can see a Starbucks up ahead, and you finally reach the end of that horrific journey, emerging into glorious sunshine, drinking in fresh oxygen like a drunk hobo with a stolen pack of alcohol hand rub from A&E, only to realise you’re in France.

You can’t speak the language and no one likes you.

You just want to give up. I don’t blame you. Writing can be a lonely and thankless vocation. It can seem like you’ve done everything all the successful people did yet you’ve still got nothing to show for it.

Why them and not you?

I don’t really know. There could be a million reasons why a theatre turns down a play – it’s not long enough, it’s not short enough, it’s too controversial, it’s not controversial enough, they did a similar play last month, they don’t do this sort of play, there are too many characters, there are too many sets, you used the C word, you didn’t use the C word, it’s too political, it’s not political, it’s not funny, it’s too funny… I could go on forever.

Every theatre has its own preferences when it comes to the plays they put on. And these aren’t even fixed; they change from month to month or even week to week, depending on any number of factors. It’s impossible to predict if someone will love or hate your work. It’s impossible to predict whether it’s exactly what an artistic director is looking for or it’s everything he despises.

And even if you absolutely nail it – you write a play of the perfect length about the perfect topic with the perfect amount of bad language and the perfect number of perfectly flawed characters – someone else may still have done it slightly more perfectly that month and just beaten you to it.

So the bad news is there’s no way of knowing what you could have done better.

Let me tell you the good news:

Actually, there isn’t any really.

It sucks. That’s all I’ve got.

You want to be a writer, this is what you have to deal with. It’s not unusual for writers to go through years of rejection before they finally get a break and one of their plays is successful.

You mentioned in your question that other writers never give up the details on how they made it to the top – from what I’ve heard, there’s no big secret.

They persevered.

Rejection isn’t a one-time thing, it’s a continuous process that constantly eats away at your soul.

If you love writing enough to keep writing and keep submitting plays to theatres with only negative responses (or no response at all) you should keep doing it.

Let this rejected play serve as motivational fuel for your stubborn creative fire. Tell yourself; “Maybe they didn’t like this one, maybe they won’t like the next one or the one after that, but one of these days they’ll like one of them and then this will have all been worth it.”

If you really want to be successful the first thing you need to do is develop a thick skin. Let the rejection wash over you and forge forever onwards.

I appreciate the fact it totally sucks, it would be a lot nicer and we’d all be a lot happier if there was a place for every play we wrote. But there isn’t. There are a limited number of seats at the table, and half the people who get a place still only get a mouthful before they’re kicked off by the next ravenous writer.

Every playwright I know has come up against the same brick wall and asked the same question; “Why her and not me?”

If I had the answer I’d have a play on at the National and you’d have all heard of me (outside of this blog).

Of course, I’m aware this hasn’t been a very positive or encouraging answer so far. You were probably hoping for something more helpful.

My main piece of advice is to keep going. When your work is rejected it’s easy to take it personally and let it affect your work. The best thing to do is put all the feedback to one side for a few months.

I know it feels like you’ve been mauled by a particularly angry bear, but when the wounds are healed and you’re able to once again drag yourself along the ground on your belly, you can escape your icy exile like Leonardo DiCaprio and continue your arduous journey through the snowy wilderness to avenge your pain upon your tormentors.

Put this play completely out of your mind and start writing something new in the meantime. In a few months this rejection will feel like an old scar that’s long since stopped hurting and you’ll be able to objectively evaluate the feedback and maybe make some revisions to the script.

Don’t give up on the play. Most successful plays go through a ton of rewrites and edits. This is no different. When you come back to it you may see a way to improve it that just isn’t visible to you right now, and that could be the one tweak that makes it a masterpiece.

For now, forget the entire thing and write a new play. Always be writing. That’s how you improve.

And even if the same theatres reject your next play and the play after that, each time there’s more chance they’ll remember you and start to pay attention.

It’s important to also explore other avenues; full-length plays aren’t the only way to skin a cat. Enter competitions, write short plays, attend writers’ nights, work as a reader, get an internship, make a sex tape, fake your own death. Do anything and everything you can to get noticed.

I agree there probably aren’t a lot of writing opportunities in Milton Keynes – unless you’re writing a coffee table book about roundabouts. I did learn to ski in the Snozone there though, so that’s pretty cool.

On the other hand, London Midland trains go direct from Euston to Milton Keynes. I happen to know this because I’ve picked my drunk-ass brother up from Milton Keynes more than a few times after he’s fallen asleep on said train and sailed right past Watford. But that’s another particularly bitter story for another day.

My point is that London isn’t a million miles away. This goes for all aspiring playwrights out there – don’t feel restricted to your hometown. I don’t think people should feel forced to move to London in order to succeed, but there’s a reason so many artists do it; the capital is the capital. There are more theatres and more opportunities here.

You don’t have to move here but if you can visit every so often and attend a writers’ night or go to a workshop you’ll meet some people. Then all you need to do is exchange emails and keep in touch.

And that’s the final point I’ll make; network, network, network. The more people you know, the more people you can share your work with and the more likely something will come of it.

Don’t get demoralised or assume it’s not meant to be. Thousands of others have made that mistake before you, and they aren’t successful writers.

The successful writers are the ones who kept slogging away at it. If you want to be one of them, that’s what you need to do.

Have a question or problem you’d like to send in?  Email advice@londonplaywrightsblog.com and keep your eyes peeled to see if the answer turns up on our site!

(DISCLAIMER: If you send us a question, you’re giving us permission to publish it!  Be sure to indicate what name you’d like us to use as a sign-off when we publish your column, and a just a heads up that we reserve the right to edit submissions for length if needed.)

Photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via CC license