Hampstead Theatre Festival

Hampstead Theatre Festival

I attended the Hampstead Theatre Festival. It toook place on 18 – 20 March 2016 and featured over 30 unique events including workshops and panel discussions.

I spent most of the Saturday at the venue on a miserably wet and cold day. It is on the Finchley Road and had a main theatre upstairs and a smaller rehearsal room downstairs.

The first workshop was with Howard Brenton, the master of history plays. During the workshop we came up with a structure with a play focussed on Brexit. It generated a lot of interest and contribution from the attendees.  He had a wonderful manner and I learnt a few useful devices that I may employ in Midnight Sunrise such as the why is that period important? For me, I'm stuck with the year the main characters were born but I can bring in the changes that were ongoing at the point of their disappearance e.g. the end of the era for a certain private member club.

The next workshop was with James Fritz. He leant more I think on his days of study to come up with some great little prompts and a neat little writing excercis. He also shared his own working practices as well as those of others. I bought two of his plays afterwards and had a brief chat. I read Ross and Rachel this week. A great idea for a 'history play' about two fictional characters.

Here is one James writing excercise to try:

  1. Write a scene for 2 minutes about 2 characters. The theme is that one of them wants something from the other.
  2. Throw it away
  3. Write again. You have 2 minutes.
  4. Write it again but this time, it needs to be half the length but carry the key essence. You have 2 minutes.

It was great fun and a wonderful short example of the writing process that some writers use. I think this works best for short pieces although I have heard it being applied to writing novels too.

Finally, on Saturday I attended a Talent Showcase at the Bierkeller Theatre in Bristol. There were some great pieces show and several new connections made. I took some pictures.