Do you like plays? Do you watch them? Make them? Eat, sleep and obsessively follow Twitter about them? Then welcome, you are a Play Nerd. This website is a home for all those making, watching, listening, studying and generally hanging out talking about plays. Here you will find topics on all aspects of performance and play making. Plus a few fun nerdish facts along the way.
My name is Alex Chisholm and I am a Play Nerd. Also sometimes known as a dramaturg. That means I help people make plays. Sometimes I’m working with a writer or writers, working on a text. Other times it might be working with a company developing a production. Sometimes I direct plays, sometimes I produce them. I love working on all kinds of plays, in all kinds of ways. Please check out other pages here for ways I may be able to work with you. I am particularly passionate about working with the new, the young, as wide and diverse range of people as possible. It makes life, and art, that much more interesting.
By plays, I mean every form of performance you can think of and maybe a few we can’t think of yet. Everything from one on one performances in a cupboard to large community events, as small as a tweet, as wide as your imagination, written, devised, with words or without: they are all plays.
So drop in: comment, suggest, question and contribute. I look forward to play nerding together.
I’m not sure if I qualify as a play nerd but I’m a writer who loves theatre and is excited by the idea that we can sit in a darkened room and something magical, emotional, even spiritual can happen … it may not always, but part of the ritual is the hope and expectation that it just might. That sentence is by way of a lead in to what I really wanted to say. I was at the Octagon last Friday and have been thinking about the discussion that took place about supporting and developing writers, (I hope it’s okay my using your blog as a forum but I didn’t know any other way to get in touch). One thing I realised is that writing in isolation is not very productive for me and perhaps others like me. Though I have written stuff in a room, on my own, I’d rather work collaboratively and share in the energy and vitality that comes from a common purpose. That’s probably part of why I love theatre, the fact that it’s a team effort in which everyone takes part in the creation of something new. When I’ve had the opportunity to do something collaboratively I’ve really enjoyed the process, in fact I think I need it to get that jumble of words and ideas out of my head and onto a page. The problem is that a writer is, invariably, not seen as part of the production team but rather the person who delivers the blueprint then goes back into their little box. (I’m sure this was alluded to last week). But how can a writer (who does not have a significant theatrical CV), break down that barrier to the extent that a theatre company (whether large or small) will take them in and make them part of their creative process? It could be like someone turning up with a scribbled sketch and a few notes and saying ‘I’ve got this idea’ and then, for the next few hours/days/weeks, working with a group of people to make it a reality, perhaps a reality significantly different to the original vision, but nonetheless something tangible. In this context the writer is more akin to a songwriter who strums a few chords and a couple of lines for a new song but needs the rest of the band to give it shape and rhythm and realise it’s potential.
So, a question. Is that something that you, in your role, see as something possible and plausible or will the division between writer and performer continue as ever?
Hi Mark, please by all means use my blog as a forum. It is what it is here for! There are many, many writers at all levels of experience who work better collaboratively rather than away from the production process. Being new is no barrier to working in this way; the challenge is to find the collaborators who are right for you. Finding the right theatre partners is not unlike finding life partners. First it is best to start by looking for people at about the same stage as you – new or newish. Then you have to hang out in all the places you meet similar creative types – go to workshops, readings, performances. Get talking to people and see what they are working on and how they like to work. See you you feel a connection with and what ideas get you excited. Once the ideas and the will to collaborate are there then opportunities can be found. If you can get over to Bradford I am holding a series of meetings exactly for this purpose – to get different creative people meeting, talking and working together. More details appearing on here soon and also http://www.brad.ac.uk/theatre/whats-on/play-nerd/