Tag Archives: practice

Gender and Playwriting Survey – invitation to participate

Tonic Theatre are currently working with eleven other companies across the UK, inviting playwrights to participate in a survey so they may find more about the connections between gender and playwriting.

Information gathered will contribute to research conducted as part of Advance, a programme exploring how the theatre industry can work more successfully with female artists.

I hope we are all aware of the inequality existing within the industry – a stubborn 2:1 male to female ratio. For a quick fix on stats and data gleaned  from research by The Guardian and Elizabeth Freestone, have a look at: http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/dec/10/women-in-theatre-research-full-results

Tonic are encouraging playwrights of any age, gender, or location in the UK to participate in the anonymous survey. It will take 10 minutes upwards to complete, depending on the level of your participation. “We know that it’s not often that playwrights are given the chance to comment on how the industry does or doesn’t work for them, and your response will be vital to the success of Advance and broadening our understanding more generally of the playwright’s experience.”

The Advance programme is exploring how the theatre industry can work more successfully with female artists. Tonic Theatre “..supports the theatre industry to achieve greater gender equality in its workforces and repertoires….Tonic’s approach involves getting to grips with the principles that lie beneath how our industry functions – our working methods, decision-making processes, and organisational structures – and identifying how, in their current form, these can create barriers. Once we have done that, we devise practical yet imaginative alternative approaches and work with our partners to trial and deliver them. Essentially, our goal is to equip our colleagues in UK theatre with the tools they need to ensure a greater level of female talent is able to rise to the top.’

A project worth participating in – and you can until Monday 24 March.


You can participate in the survey here:  http://fluidsurveys.com/s/AdvancePlaywrightSurvey/

Further information about Tonic, their projects and their work can be found at: http://www.tonictheatre.co.uk/


Drama is life with the dull bits left out: Things I wish I’d known when starting out (3)







Theatre is artifice. It is not ‘just like real life’ – even in the most precise productions using realism and naturalism it is artificial, crafted, completely manufactured. It requires thought and structure and dramatic theory put into practice.  Some years ago I got a group of young writers who were resisting this basic tenet to record and then transcribe one of their evenings when they felt their dialogue was most sparkling and rapier-swift, when they felt their concerns were most engaging and communicable to an appreciative audience, who would be eager to hear more. We began then to read this transcript in a class, until they pleaded to stop. They had learnt the hard way what Alfred Hitchcock espoused: Drama is life with the dull bits left out.

Editing and cutting is essential. Finding what to keep is the question…

Try to understand and identify the difference between what is dramatic material and what is anecdote.

Fluency and ease in writing comes from practice, not chance.

If you are serious about playwriting, reading scripts is as essential as seeing live work.

‘Writing is play in the same way that playing the piano is ‘play’, or putting on a theatrical ‘play’ is play. Just because something’s fun doesn’t mean it isn’t serious.’ Margaret Atwood.