Tag Archives: writing workshop

Voices from the Gallery, plus a workshop and launch of a writing competition

I’m delighted to be appearing with poet Chris Kinsey at Oriel Davies, Y Drenewydd / Newtown on Friday 26th June 2015 at 7.30pm: Voices from the Gallery. Chris has been enticing me back into performance and spoken word events, and I have had the joy of sharing a platform with her on previous occasions in Wales. Details follow, along with information about a workshop led by Chris on 13th June, to launch the Oriel Davies Writing Competition:


 Voices from the gallery: Poems and Monologues 26th June 7.30pm

Hosted by Chris Kinsey, with Kaite O’Reilly

KAITE O’REILLY writes for live performance, radio and prose. She received the Ted Hughes Award for New Works in Poetry for her version of Aeschylus’ Persians with National Theatre of Wales.

‘Poetry crosses time, the old play becomes the new poetry. Here’s the truth of language colliding with the clichés of politics and the advertisement of war. This verse play is entertainment, challenge and a lie detector.’

Jeanette Winterton and Gillian Clarke on “Persians

CHRIS KINSEY was Oriel Davies’ first Writer-in-Residence 2011 -13. She is the author of 3 poetry collections: Kung Fu Lullabies and Cure for a Crooked Smile published by Ragged Raven Press and Swarf by Smokestack Books. Chris was BBC Wildlife Poet of the year in 2008. She writes a regular Nature Diary for Cambria and won Natur Cymru’s last prose competition, ‘Inspired by Nature’ and she has also written short dramas.

Friday 26 June

7.30pm Admission: £7

Oriel Davies Gallery, The Park, Newtown, Powys SY16 2NZ

To book: desk@orieldavies.org  or 01686 625041


FLORA – a writing workshop on the theme of Flora to launch the Oriel Davies Writing Competition. 

Saturday 13th June 10am – 1pm. £10 

Come and experiment with words.

See which ideas germinate.

Open to writers of all levels of experience – the aim of the workshop is to inspire fresh ways of considering plants. Workshop led by Chris Kinsey.

To book: desk@orieldavies.org or 01686 625041.

For further information contact Sheela Hughes informallearning@orieldavies.org


Playing with form – Birmingham Literature Festival October 5th 2013


I’m delighted to be presenting a workshop at Birmingham Literature Festival this October, in association with the Capital Theatre Festival. I’m Birmingham-Irish, so it’s an added pleasure to be back in the old concrete city, working. Details of the workshop follow:

Workshop: Playing with Form with Kaite O’Reilly October 5th 2013 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm 

An exploration of some approaches and techniques that can be applied to creating plays and performance texts. From different starting points such as Classic Greek texts to Japanese aesthetics, from solo writing to co-creating – a lecture-demonstration with practical elements considering different forms, processes, and dramaturgies to create theatre. The workshop will draw on practical examples from Kaite O’Reilly’s version of Aeschylus’s ‘Persians’ and the collaborative ‘Told by the Wind’ (The Llanarth Group), amongst other productions.

Start: October 5, 2013 2:00 pm

End: October 5, 2013 4:30 pm

Venue: Room 103, Library of Birmingham

Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND United Kingdom


Full details of the festival, including readings by Carol Ann Duffy, go to: http://www.birminghamliteraturefestival.org/

In praise of mentoring and creating a community of fellow writers







Ty Newydd: The National Writers Centre of Wales and former home of Lloyd George.

I recently wrote about the joys and symbiosis of mentoring playwrights through my association with Ty Newydd, The National Writers Centre of Wales. In this capacity, I was the tutor, the dramaturg, the reader who wrote encouraging reports on works in progress with the occasional sting in order to jolt the writer (I hoped) out of inertia or unproductive habits and into focused activity. One of the strengths of working with writers you have known for many months, and in some cases several years, is the mutual trust this sharing of time and processes brings, and the knowledge of what works best for them in this most particular dynamic when deadlines are approaching and new drafts need to be delivered – the carrot or the stick.

The other tangible benefit from this kind of close engagement is the potential creation of community. Writing is a notoriously singular activity, requiring long stretches of solitude and solo focus. Unlike other forms, theatre has its moments of social activity, for it is a blueprint for the stage which needs the massed imaginations and skills of the collaborators (actors, director, scenographer, lighting designer, dancers, musicians, etc) to bring it to fruition. It is often a relief to move into this engagement after the solo slog – and enlivening (at the least!) to discover other interpretations and imaginations responding to a work which has perhaps until this date existed only in the voice in your own head.

But meanwhile before that – when perhaps a script is still emerging, or relationships have not yet been forged with a company to move the script into this next phase of development… what happens then?

You create the company for yourself, utilising whoever is at hand.

I am a great believer in people power. Perhaps it’s the old punk in me, but I’m an exponent of ‘doing it yourself’.

For years I have been gathering friends who, if not professional actors, are willing to be drawn into reading my script aloud. And often the carrot of wine or food once we have done this task isn’t always a required inducement. Of course such homemade workshops may not be as effective as working with an experienced cast and director or dramaturg, who have an inkling of what they’re doing… But when you are stuck in a strange sort of hiatus, hearing those words in the room rather than inside your head can often move the work forward.

Tom Wentworth, one of the participants on my recent Mentoring Scheme, has written about the joys of peer review and this kind of workshop exploration on the DAO website, link below. He outlines some of the processes we went through over the scheme, and the joys of sharing extracts of the scripts in progress in the beautiful, tiny theatre of The Lloyd George Museum in North Wales last month.

I hope that this group will continue nurturing and supporting each other. We have a well-established private google group where we urge each other on, or share opportunities in the flick of an email. We have created our own small community of fellow writers – and I hope we will continue to observe each other’s development and success of careers over the coming years.

For Tom Wentworth’s article, go to: http://www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/?location_id=1951

Creating Environment in your writing: Workshop at Everyword Festival 10/11/11





I’ve been invited to lead a workshop at Everyword writing Festival. Run by Liverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse theatres, the festival takes place between 7-19 November, and has workshops, readings, and other events.

My workshop is on Thursday 10th November, 12 – 3pm at the Playhouse Studio.

Creating Environment in your writing

How can your theatre work be inspired by your surroundings and conjur a strong and vivid sense of your environment?

How might you create new work in non-theatrical settings and use the landscape as your theatre?

For further information on the workshop, and this great festival’s other activities, please go to: