About The Big Read
Directed by Rebecca Manson Jones
Monday 8 & Tuesday 9 June 2009
Want to know what the future programme at the Exeter Northcott might look like? Join us for two nights of semi-staged rehearsed readings to get a flavour of the range of passion and writing talent available to us in the South West.
The Big Read began in March with an open call for new plays from writers across the South West region. An amazing contribution of 75 plays were read over the first bank holiday weekend in May by a team of script readers, co-ordinated by Exeter University’s Visiting Dramaturg David Lane, and comprising artistic staff and board members from Exeter Northcott, as well as external industry professionals.
Selections from a final 9 plays have been chosen for these readings, which represent a spread of themes taking in the personal, political, cultural and local issues inspiring our writers today.
THE WITCHES OF BIDEFORD by Heidi Stephenson
FUSELAGE by Robert Garnham
FIRST FLUSH by Hannah Mulder
WASH MY SIN AWAY by Kim Komljanec
THE WIRE by Jim Sadler
CLEARANCE by Shiona Morton
BLESSED by Natalie McGrath
SEEING YOU by Jon Nash
TEATIME IN TORQUAY by Sheila Hannon
If you have any questions about the plays or writers please contact David Lane
This is your chance to connect with writers influenced by and living in this beautiful part of the country. Join us at the Exeter Northcott and find out how writers based in our region can thrill and excite you…
Shakespeare, Ayckbourn, Stoppard…who’s next?
Start Time 7.30pm
There will be Post Show Talks after both readings.
The Big Read – How Did it Work?
Every play was read and reported on by one of the readers, discussed with the rest of the team, and at least half of these were then taken forward to be read a second or third time during the weekend.
At least two-thirds of the submissions we received were from writers with whom we had no previous relationship, introducing us to new stories, new voices and contributing to a diverse range of work of a very high standard.
The Big Read culminated after three days’ reading with an invigorating discussion about the plays and writers that had excited us, for all sorts of reasons including their style, content, voice, raw ambition and theatrical ingenuity.
The Reading Team – Visiting Readers
David studied Drama at Exeter University, Writing for Performance at Goldsmiths College and Writing and Directing at Ecole Philippe Gaulier. He was Head Reader for the Gate Theatre in 2002 before working as the Literary Assistant at Soho Theatre and Writers’ Centre until 2004. He is currently working with the Northcott Theatre in Exeter and with writers from Theatre Royal Bath where he facilitates the Ustinov Writers’ Forum, and Bristol Old Vic. He also teaches playwriting and dramaturgy on BA and MA courses at Goldsmiths, City University and Exeter where he is Visiting Dramaturg. He has had work for young people commissioned and produced by Immediate Theatre (Bloodlines, 2007) and Half Moon Young People’s Theatre (Begin / End, forthcoming 2010), and recently adapted The Odyssey in a youth theatre co-production for Salisbury Playhouse, Cheltenham Everyman and Sixth Sense in Swindon. In 2008 he was awarded the Michael Meyer Award by the Society of Authors for support in academic writing and has a book on Contemporary British Drama due for publication by Edinburgh University Press in 2010. His play The Eighth Day was shortlisted for the Old Vic / Theatre 503 New Voices Award 2009 and he is developing a new full-length play Lament on the Hall for Cornwall’s playwrights’ support programme.
Jessica Beck has been an associate of Theatre503 in London since 2004, currently serving as Education and Projects Director and is also Artistic Director of Bad Penny Theatre (both organizations are dedicated to new writing). Directing credits include: Up the Gary by Andrew Barron and Jessica Beck (NYC / UK tour / Theatre503); Zoo by Dawn King (Union Theatre); All Alone by Gene David Kirk (NYC / Dublin / Edinburgh / London); Dogfight by Sarah Sigal (Arcola Theatre / Edinburgh); The Whale and the Bird by Greta Clough (Edinburgh); and Terrorist! The Musical (Edinburgh). Jessica received the New York International Fringe Festival Excellence Award for Outstanding Direction in 2007.
Madeleine Vose graduated from Rose Bruford College in 2000 where she trained as a director. Whilst based in London, Madeleine directed projects as part of the Young Vic Young Directors Scheme, Old Vic New Voices and Oxford Playhouse Script Lab. In 2004 Madeleine moved to Devon, founding Theatre Upstairs at the Globe – Devon’s only pub theatre – in 2005 to showcase the work of south west based new writers and performance artists. Madeleine produced and directed over 25 events during her four years as Artistic Director of Theatre Upstairs and developed her interest in audience development and its role in rural locations. Since moving to Devon, Madeleine has directed new writing programmes at Theatre Royal Plymouth, The Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton and Theatre Royal Bath and is currently establishing a company designed to revive new plays that have yet to see their second production. As a facilitator, Madeleine creates and delivers theatre based learning for The Met Office, Peninsula Medical School and Theatre Royal Plymouth. She is also a board member of the Northcott Theatre.
Martin Harvey trained at RADA, graduating in 1976. After working for a number of years as an actor at Theatr Clwyd he began directing, first at Clwyd and then freelance. He was Associate Director of the Northcott Theatre between 1986 and 1991, where he directed some 27 productions including King Lear, Alice in Wonderland, and Noises Off. During his time at the Northcott, Martin ran the studio seasons, which were centred around new writing; there he commissioned a new play by Michael Picardie, a new opera by David Haines, directed numerous rehearsed readings and productions of a one act play competition which he instigated. Since leaving the Northcott, Martin has directed in London, Frankfurt, Coventry, Stoke, Truro and Buxton. He studied for an MA in theatre practice at Exeter where he is now a Teaching Fellow, currently teaching acting and directing. He helped set up the Reading the Future initiative within the Drama Dept, for which he directs rehearsed readings.
Jens Demant Cole is a designer. He trained at Wimbledon School of Art and was a finalist in the Linbury Bi-ennial prize for design and was an Arts Council Design Bursary Award winner, resident at Northern Stage. He is a regular collaborator with leading touring theatre company Oily Cart and has designed for Longborough Festival Opera and in venues ranging from Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Almeida Theatre, to the Young Vic and new-writing studios including Theatre 503 and site-specific productions in gardens, garages and churches in the UK and beyond. Jens has collaborated on a number of new writing commissions and led open access workshops for Soho Theatre, introducing first-time writers to the role of design in theatre.
Deirdre is a member of the Northcott Theatre’s board. She originally trained as an actress where she worked for almost twenty years in West End, National and International productions, voiceovers and TV. Following on from this she became Managing Director of a prestigious corporate event company working with clients such The London Business School, Procter & Gamble, British Airways and Thames Water. During this time she was interfacing directly with senior management and decision makers and introducing the concept of coaching into teambuilding events. A qualified coach, she now lives in Devon, where she offers Corporate Coaching and Personal Coaching, in addition to Creative Retreats. These small retreats, featuring subjects such as Creative Writing, Art & Crafts and Personal Development all offer an element of coaching and are based in beautiful venues in the East Devon countryside. She is also a director of the Buturi Makongoro Project Ltd, a small charity whose aims are improves the live of the people of Buturi Village in rural Tanzania.
The Reading Team – Exeter Northcott
Rebecca Manson Jones Creative Director
Kate Tyrrell Chief Executive
Polly Agg-Manning Creative Learning Manager
Beth De-Tisi Wardrobe Supervisor