Category Archives: play

The Admiral’s Tea Party

AdmiralsTeaLogo
The Admiral’s Tea Party

We are excited about Wordsmithery’s commission from Medway’s new Paint The Town Festival.

The Admiral’s Tea Party is a new site specific performance which will take its inspiration from aspects of Chatham’s heritage, commissioned for the Paint The Town Festival.

Did you know that the Admiral of the Fleet (head honcho of the British navy) used to have a residence in the Lower Lines Park in Gillingham, Kent? And that he used to organise fabulous tea parties on the lawn there?

Taking our inspiration from this fact, and from the nautical history of the area, we will be creating a new show to be performed at the Lower Lines Park on 24 June. We want stories and writing from local people to be part of the show! Playwright Sam Hall will be leading some creative writing workshops to help create the final piece.

WORKSHOPS:

The first workshop will be held on Saturday 22nd April 2017 from 1- 3pm at Nucleus Arts Centre. Book here.

There is also a second workshop on Wednesday 26 April, 2-5pm at the Brook Theatre. Book here.

ACTORS NEEDED!

Join our Community Cast for our outdoor theatre performance exploring the history of Gillingham’s Lower Lines Park. The site specific show will be performed on the afternoon of Saturday 24 June. We currently need actors to be part of this exciting new production. Workshops dates to be confirmed, but if you are interested, please email us for further info.

Books from Wordsmithery

Photo of anthologies and plays by Wordsmithery.
Anthologies and plays by Wordsmithery.

In the past few years, Wordsmithery has published a range of anthologies, plays and pamphlets. They are all available on our website, or by emailing us for more information on bulk and non-UK based orders.

Anthologies:
City without a head: our 4-star anthology offering an alternative take on life in cities.
An assemblance of judicious heretics: our gorgeous full colour anthology of art, poems and stories inspired by ‘The Road Not Taken’.

Photo of story and poetry pamphlets
Story and poetry pamphlets

Pamphlets:
The Unbearable Sheerness of Being: Barry Fentiman Hall’s personal Odyssey around the Isle of Sheppey.
Beautiful Monsters: Sam Hall’s collection of 6 short modern day fairytales.

Plays:
Zero Down: Sarah Hehir’s powerful story about staff on a zero hours contract.
Child Z: Sarah Hehir’s 5-star play about a girl caught up in a child sex exploitation ring.
My Mind is Free: Sam Hall’s play about 4 victims of human trafficking.

To purchase any of these books please head on over to Wordsmithery.

Thanks for a fantastic Rochester Literature Festival!

Photo of the Poetrymon card
Photo by coFWD

What a busy 10 days we had at the start of October, when ME4Writers were happy to be part of the first Rochester Literature Festival.

We started the week on 3 October (National Poetry Day) with Poetrymon – our poetry treasure hunt game. (Picture shows one poem, found in coFWD.) We hid unique, original poem cards around Medway and left cryptic clues online for readers to follow. What we love about Poetrymon is the fact that most of the time we don’t know who finds the cards, (and in fact, sometimes we hope they will be a bit baffled,) but our main hope is that they enjoy the poetry! You can see more about the poets on our Poetrymon page.

Photo of actors dressed as aliens
Aliens, a bull and a bear and a red herring sandwich…

On 5 October, Sam produced a theatre show as part of ‘A night at the theatre’. She Writes: What’s through the door? was a performance of 17Percent’s 4-star rated set of short plays based on a story by HG Wells. The plays, written by Whoop’n’wail, Sam Hall and Sarah Hehir, all have a sci-fi/surreal bent to them and invite the audience to explore other worlds – which fitted in fantastically with the festival’s theme.

“Three plays in one, each delightful and mysterious. The pieces are beautifully and intelligently connected by an overarching narrative.” **** Everything Theatre

“Both performances were astounding, so well written, produced & directed. It felt like a London quality night out in Rochester, I was totally in the world of all the stories.”

Photo of Barry Fentiman reading at the launch
Barry reading at the launch

Our next event was the launch of our book on 8 October – City Without a Head – an anthology of poetry, prose and found literature, initially published over two years as a free fanzine. The collection refined, added and developed the ideas in our initial City Project (aka Encyclopaedia Citaecephale), and is published in a limited edition of 200 with gorgeous illustrations by award-winning artist Victoria Wainwright,(available from www.wordsmithery.info).

We played readings bingo, randomly generated readings chosen by the audience, ate sweets and listened to music with a city theme by the brilliant 3D.

“an exceptionally refreshing and eloquent anthology… wonderfully enthralling and the passion that oozes from each page is unquestionable.” **** Femalearts.com

Our final event of the Festival was our walking/writing tour of Rochester on 10 October – Write Around Town. Through a series of locally themed writing exercises, we asked writers to do the thing that ME4Writers seem to be obsessed by: looking at our locality from a different angle.

“Stimulating exchange of ideas and writing exercises to take away and work on.”

“I now view Rochester through different eyes.”

Thanks to Rochester Literature Festival for a fantastic first festival.

ME4 go mad for literary fun this October with the Roch Lit Fest!

We are really happy to be involved with the inaugural Rochester Literature Festival (RLF), and Sam is producing several live lit events for it. The RLF is a great idea, there are a lot of festivals that go on in Medway, but none that really focus on literature. (Of course, you can say but what about the Dickens Festival?, but that doesn’t deal in living authors and new work, and also doesn’t have much of a participatory element, unless you like dressing up…)

For the RLF, ME4 are producing three literature events (and also a theatre show, as part of Sam’s other lit dev project, 17Percent). The events are varied, and range from a walking/writing tour of Rochester, to the launch of our very first proper full-length book, with a healthy dose of our yearly poetry treasure hunt Poetrymon, and a night of new plays by women thrown in for good measure.

We kick off with Poetrymon – our yearly poetry treasure hunt around Medway. This year, the poems will have a watery theme. The poems are unique, so follow the clues and find yourself an individual piece of poem-art. (3 October)

On 5 October, see some new writing by women, in ‘A night at the theatre’, where you will have a chance afterwards to ask some of the writers, cast and director about the process of making theatre.

We launch, hot off the press, our new book, City without a head. You might have been lucky enough to pick up one of the original zines the publication grew from (the Encyclopaedia Citaecephale), but it’s grown up a lot since then. (8 October)

After the fantastic response to The Word Shed earlier in the year, we thought it was really important to have some participatory writing fun, so have come up with ‘Write around town’ an opportunity to write about the myth and reality of Rochester and also to invent some myths of your own. (10 October)

You can find out more about our events on the ME4 at RLF2013 page.

Or by going to the Rochester Literature Festival website, where you can find out about all of the events scheduled for the 10-day festival, including ME4 regular Roy Smith’s ‘The Skywatcher investigation’, an interactive story game.

Sam’s sea monsters are live at Lounge on the Farm

Lounge on the Farm flier
6 July 2012

You can see ME4 founder Sam’s short play ‘See Monsters’ at Lounge on the Farm festival on 6 July. Sam also runs 17Percent – an organisation to support and promote female playwrights. At Lounge on the Farm, 17Percent will be presenting five short plays by Kent-based playwrights, including Sam’s play about story-telling and myth set in the days of the Icelandic sagas.

You can also check out the plays at She Writes – the 17Percent showcase event held in Whitstable at the Horsebridge Centre on 18 July.

The Horsebridge Cafe, Whitstable.
Tel: 01227 281174
7pm for 7.30pm
18 July 2012
£5 / £4 concs

 

SampleSunday 3

An extract from a play about a group of friends in the ten years leading up to the Millennium.

1) Blood and Tears
1989. One year before the accident: 3.26AM.

A bedroom in a house-share. Goth posters on the wall; a single bed. The sound of fairground music, almost too quiet to hear, introduces BEATIE.

Beatie: early 20s. Odd Scottish/Cockney accent. Long dreadlocks. Piercings. Many tattoos. Fleecy jogging pants, black lycra sleeveless top. Cross-legged on the bed, nursing a blanket. A small rotating table-top lamp, projecting a swirl of stars and planets on the wall.

*Beatie and Edie are not aware of each other to start with, but become more attuned to each other as the scene moves on.

BEATIE: (gulps from water, sprawls on bed.) I’m soooo thirsty. You drink like a fish… I drink like a fish whenever. Scottish… 😉 Funny expression. I wonder what the etymology of it is. Etymology is a go-ood word. It’s one of Kieran’s favourite words, he’s always using it. Kayla says it’s because he wants to impress me. Saucy, Kayla thinks, she doesn’t know the half of it. Serious. Urghh. Wants to settle down. Do the whole commitment thing. Shit, I’ll never make the same mistake my Ma did, finished at 17, kiddies hanging off her, whiles her good for nothin’ hubby was shaggin’ groupies behind her back…

Beatie… short for Beatrice. A tattoo artist. Can’t sleep… Coming down…
(Makes a noise like a firework. Swirling stars increase in strength.)

(Fast) These are my drugs pyjamas. Kayla says it’s very important to have lovely fluffy things to touch when you are coming down. She’s my pal, doing teacher training. Kids, screaming little rug-rats, don’t know how she’ll stand it… 😛

…Watchin’ the cars going by out the window, the lights had this crazystreaky effect, like when you take a photo and the exposure’s too slow, and something’s moving. Yeah? It was like that. My brother Douggie got me into photography. A mate…

(Slower) …Tomsk, cool name, after a Womble… Tomsk, yeah? She’s a nurse, she’s started going out with a real artist, a painter. Her ‘legendary man’. I’d love to have a crystal ball, I’d love to see if I got me my legendary man… I only fall for arseholes… runs in the family. Tomsk’s bloke has designed her a tat and I’m going to do it next weekend. I’ve got these cool black plastic gloves that don’t show up any of the blood or the ink. Makes the customer feel a bit less nervous… 😉

I haven’t told my Ma I’ve dropped out yet… I can’t tell her that sort of thing, we’re not that sort of family.

(Beatie freezes. Lights dim in the bedroom.)

Lights up on a kitchen. Pine, warm.
1989: 5.59AM
Slight bird song.

EDIE: late 30s, vivacious, Scottish. She is wearing a baggy man’s jumper over a silk nightdress, her hands are floury.

EDIE: It’s so quiet. Now they’re both gone. No slamming doors or squabbling…

Making Ted some fresh bread, nothing better than waking up to fresh bread. It’s an effort but it’s worth it. My Auntie Rose used to bake, she would always say the magic ingredient is to make it with love. When you have kneaded the dough and let it rise twice, it feels soft and cool and has swollen up like a pregnant belly, and you kiss it…

After Beatie left I couldn’t stop crying for a week. My baby, my first-born – gone away. Douglas has moved out too, but he still makes his presence felt, whenever he wants his washing done…

Left me behind… My baby, my babies, are leaving…have left me. I’m alone. Ted not-withstanding. It’s all changing. The world’s changing, challenging, there’s something in the air, some sort of tension, some buzz. It’s like it was at the end of the ‘60s. There was this buzz then. It’s the same now. The Wall coming tumbling down. A sea change. A new Millennium on the way. Nothing to stop it. But some days I feel like… Time passes just like that and then you’re left with nothing if you’re not careful.

(Stops kneading, brushes hair behind ear. Freezes. Kitchen light down. Bedroom light up. Beatie unfreezes and sits back down.)

BEATIE: …There’s not that much blood, not from most people. As long as people are relaxed, it doesn’t hurt… much. Bonfire night. Bit of a mad day. You know, boozin’, smokin’, a little tab for laters, more boozin’, snoggin’, a cab home. The usual London weekend… I lo—ove London. Acid’s fuckin’ brilliant, innit? Drink like a fish, next
morning, no overhang. /We…

EDIE: /I turned on the radio…

(Edie interrupts. Beatie looks annoyed but allows Edie to speak, looks impatient.)

EDIE: …I turned on the radio this morning and they were still on about that terrible Alaskan oil spill. It will take years to clean it up properly they were saying. Seals bloated, downy bodies covered in oil… I saw seals when I was on my honeymoon… the first one, the kids’ father… we went to the Western Isles, I was expecting Beatie. Beautiful soppy things, big brown eyes like dogs, streamlined dogs, swimming in the sea next to our boat. Big brown eyes that looked like they were… crying… I was sick after the seals. I said it was the seasick, but I think even then, even then, so few days into it, I knew it was a huge mistake…

(Starts kneading again. In Beatie’s bedroom, colours begin to explode as Beatie remembers the fireworks display.)

BEATIE: …Went up to see the bonfireworks. Colours brighter; a layer of water between my eyes and the world. You need to be outside when you’re tripping. They were the brightest bonfireworks I’ve ever seen in my life.
Ever. Ever. Ever… Multi-colours burned. Like a dream… Tomsk and Davy, lips locked, that fat friend of somebody, me, Kayla and Jess, a couple of Kay’s dodgy connections and Kier. All pretty off our heads …

EDIE: …I worry about her, them, but her more so than him. You do with girls don’t you? When she came back that evening with her first tattoo, I nearly had kittens. Him, I would have expected it of, but not her. It looked so ugly. She had made her beautiful, soft skin ugly. She was only 15, she had lied to the man in the tattoo parlour… Little minx. Who’d have ever thought that beautiful little child with the blonde kiss curls would turn into the tattooed… tattooing lady? I’m thinking of getting her to do one on me. Maybe her name in a heart. Just (exaggerates French) ‘tres petite’, on my arm on the top. Nanna would be spinning in her grave.

(Knocks back bread, divides it into two bread tins. Covers them with a tea-towel.)

(Beat) I asked her not to call me Mum when we are out. People think she is my younger sister. Someone still as
young as me with a teenager in tow…

(c) Sam Hall, 2011, An extract from ‘Wet Dreams’, a play.