'There's Nothing There' - Review

I'm not visiting the Black Forest now!

A review

I blame “There's Nothing There,“ a play by Black Dog Productions in collaboration with Apricity Theatre. Although there is some humour, it is scary, the plot angry, the finish extreme, shocking and  unexpected. I am left scared of the beast in the woods and the unknown, dismayed by insincerity and the disastrous consequences of a liberal amount of alcohol on the stew of mistrust, jealousy and vivid imaginations. The company use improvisation on the road to their final script. Perhaps it is this which makes the performance fresher and quite different from others I have seen or maybe it  is the emotional investment. Russell Eccleston (Jessie) , Emily Malloy (Alina) and Charlotte Turner-McMullan (Grace) wrote it and Russell Eccleston and Tiffany Rhodes (Cassie) are also among the co-founders of Black Dog.  The cast do not restrict themselves to acting, they are  writers, dancers, singers, directors. Between them there was a lot of energy and it was very enjoyable.  If I had to criticize anything it would be the excess of swearing which did not always add to the performance for me but maybe that  was just my age. It did however inspire an hilarious commentary from the elderly couple seated behind us which contributed nicely to the evening.

“There's Nothing There “

a Black Dog  Apricity Theatre  Production

at The Cotswold Playhouse

For other performances and venues check out the company website at:

blackdogproductions.uk


Annual Glosink event

GLOSINK AT PEPPERS
invites you to our annual reading of prose and poetry at Peppers Cafe in Gloucester
on Friday, December 13, 2019 from 18.30 to 20.30 with a half-hour interval.
Entry is free. Food and drink are available to purchase from the cafe during the event.
We look forward to seeing you there to share the art and craft of writing in a relaxed setting.

Maria Stadnicka - 'Somnia' Book launch

My next poetry collection, SOMNIA is published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, editor Alec Newman, with cover artwork by painter Mark Mawer.

 The launch will be at The Museum in the ParkStroud, Thursday 5th December 2019, at 7.30pm and it will feature guests Uta Baldauf, performer, and poets David Clarke, Adam Horovitz and Philip Rush.

 About SOMNIA: 

Writer Ian Seed (author of New York Hotel, a TSL Book of the Year) wrote: ‘one of the best books of poetry I've read this year is Maria Stadnicka's extraordinarily vivid collection, Somnia.' 
 
'Stadnicka’s poetics is one of craftmanship, wherein she carefully walks the tightrope of surreal poetic metaphor and the gritty realism of investigative journalism and broadcasting.’ (Briony Hughes, writer and critic, Stride Magazine, October 2019)
 
‘Somnia is consistently alluring and enigmatic in its poetic voice. What compels it’s Stadnicka’s calm creativity in conveying the horrors and/or abstractions of these – her poetic voice completely comfortable in its suggestiveness: inventive, provoking, highly visual.' (Mike Ferguson, writer and critic, International Times, September 2019)
'Create dangerously.'
 
Maria Stadnicka

Welcome to our new Co-Chair

With the departure of Kathryn for a well earned GWN sabatical, we are delighted to welcome Rod Griffiths (CBE) to the GWN team.  Rod brings a wealth of experience to the team, joining Penny and Chris as Co-Chair.

Here is a potted bio of Rod  - Welcome on board ;)

***

I was professor of public health at the university of Birmingham and regional director of public health from 1992 until 2004. After that I was elected president of the national professional body for public health— the Faculty of Public Health, part of the Royal College of Physicians.  I got a CBE in 2000 for services to public health.

In those roles I did a lot of media work, both writing in academic and popular journals as well as radio and TV interviews.

I've always been interested in writing and communication. Despite dyslexia running quite strongly in our family I was good at English, particularly the creative writing side— rather less good at spelling.

Before I retired I went on a couple of creative writing courses as part of my annual holidays and started writing fiction seriously during the last few years before I retired. I had an agent for a short while but it seemed clear to me that I was unlikely to get much priority from her because she had more famous clients who were younger. The crude fact is that an agent needs clients who will make money for at least a few years if they are to regain their initial investment in the client. I was past 60, so in some ways lot a long term prospect. We parted company in a few months and I went down the self publishing route.

I have published three novels and two collections of short stories.

Two friends of mine in the Worcester Writer's Circle and myself got fed up with advising members on how to self publish and after some careful research we set up a small publishing Company— Black Pear Press (www.blackpear.net).  So far we have published over fifty books, by about twenty different authors; mostly collections of poetry and short stories with some novels, both for YA and all ages as well as a few children's books. We are still in business. Although it might be fair to say it is more of a self funding hobby ;)

My own writing is somewhat eclectic in style and genre— it is unlikely that I will ever sell a book that brings in as much as my pension, so I really don't worry too much about trying to sell lots of books or to build a following by sticking to a small pallette of characters in one genre.

Who knows how much longer I'll be doing this, but for now I still appear to be healthy and having fun with most aspects of writing.  That's probably enough about me for you to be able to answer anyone who says 'Who is this person?'

I look forward to joining the GWN team and helping to shape and develop this further.

 


Playwriting Workshops for Schools

Papatango Theatre Company are offering free playwriting workshops to schools in the south west, with slots slots available for Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020.

Papatango are a multi-award winning new writing company. Our GoWrite programme provides a playwriting project, culminating in a performance by professional actors and publication of a play written by students, in state schools across London, the North West and the South West. It is completely free to schools.

Papatango’s team of experienced workshop leaders/professional theatre-makers come in and run two workshops with a group of up to 30 students from Key Stages 3 or 4. In the first, students work together in small theatre companies to write/improvise a one-act play. In the second, professional actors come in to rehearse and stage the plays. Even more excitingly, the plays will be published in book format, with a free copy for each student and free copies for the school library. 

The workshops aim to give students a taste of both playwriting and professional theatre making. They not only complement the curriculum – English and Drama – but also encourage team-working and help students to develop confidence in writing, creative thinking and expressing their ideas. To help prepare the workshops, teachers will receive a comprehensive toolkit. 

“The Papatango workshop has provided an invaluable experience for our students and raised their confidence, not only of how to approach writing a play, but also how to analyse the way in which plays are structured and characters are developed. The quality of the work developed by the students was of a very high standard. It was interesting for them to see a ‘rehearsed reading’, as many of them had only seen professional actors perform in polished performances. Many have developed an interest in watching ‘scratch’ nights. Gaining access to arts in the curriculum is absolutely invaluable to a child’s development. Having a workshop of this standard in our school has been fantastic. The preparation pack was excellent.”

We have a limited number of spaces still available for workshops in Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020. They will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you are interested in your school taking part, or would like to find out more, please email Sarah Parkes, Assistant Producer, at sarah@papatango.co.uk


Be the next Poet Laureate...

The Hunt is on! Searching for Gloucestershire’s Next Poet Laureate.

Nominations are open from now until the closing date on Friday 27th September 2019 at 5pm

The Gloucestershire Poet Laureate

The Gloucestershire Poet laureate will be a poet, resident of the county. A page poet, performance poet, or spoken word artist that will have been nominated by people living in Gloucestershire.

The Role of the Gloucestershire Poet Laureate

The role of the Poet Laureate will be to champion poetry across the county in a range of settings providing an opportunity for the people of Gloucestershire to experience poetry in its many forms. They will support events and enable and encourage participation for all, including the most marginalised and socially excluded across the county.

Nominations and closing date

Nominations are open from now till 27th September 2019 where nominees will get a chance to share their poetry at an event on 12th October at The Olympus Theatre!

Judging who will be The Next Gloucestershire Poet Laureate

Judges from Gloucestershire’s poetry community will select the winner and nominees will be invited back to the Olympus Theatre where the current Poet Laureate, Brenda Read-Brown, will share her work and announce the new Poet Laureate.

How can I nominate a Gloucestershire poet?

If you live in Gloucestershire and would like to nominate a Gloucestershire poet: Send in an A4 attachment ( Word or PDF ) of no less than 400 words, detailing why your nominated poet should become the next Gloucestershire Poet Laureate. By email to:

nominations@gloucestershirepoetlaureate.co.uk

I’m a Gloucestershire poet and want to nominate myself

If you are a poet living in Gloucestershire and would like to nominate yourself: Send in an A4 attachment ( Word or PDF ) of no less than 400 words, detailing why you would like to be the next Gloucestershire Poet Laureate. By email to:

nominations@gloucestershirepoetlaureate.co.uk

 


Beyond the Book: Calling Digital Writers

The creative writing incubator Paper Nations has launched a new digital writing commission to support writers in the South West (Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire). Please find some brief information below and more detailed info attached.
Beyond the Book: Calling Digital Writers
Beyond the Book is a new scheme to develop innovative models for writing and publication, promoting dialogue between writers, technologists and publishers. We will support three writers with a connection to Somerset, Gloucestershire, or Wiltshire over six months to experiment with the possibilities of telling stories using a smartphone.
We’ll offer £5000 and support to develop text-based digital projects and the opportunity to reach local, national, and international audiences.
Beyond the Book is led by writer, Professor Kate Pullinger, and delivered by Paper Nations. Based at Bath Spa University, the Paper Nations team has partnered with a panel of experts who want to see work that is innovative, experimental, and shows a curiosity about the potential of smartphones.
The deadline for applications is 1st September 2019.

When Jane Austen came to town...

Jane Austen and the Cheltonians

Presented by Natura Contemporary Theatre

What really happened when Jane Austen visited Cheltenham in May 1816?

In this sparklingly witty and intelligent new comedy the truth is revealed. Emboldened by the success of her latest novel Jane conjures-up her literary muse Emma Woodhouse to help her write her next novel The Cheltonians - in which surely nothing can go wrong? However when Emma's friend Eloisa Fairweather arrives the temptation to start matchmaking again proves irresistible. Delicious complications follow, as love letters go astray, French émigrés arrive and Emma finds herself the attention of a young army officer. A timeless comment on marriage, morals and love.

Dates for you to save in your diaries are 6th, 7th & 8th February 2020, as Jane Austen & The Cheltonians comes to the Everyman Theatre Cheltenham's Irving Studio as part of its 2020 tour. Here is the link and please do watch the trailer:
Then of course book at your leisure, as Jane Austen herself would have recommended.
*     *     *

Book Launch - Abdul-Ahad Patel

I am holding a book launch at The Wilson in Cheltenham on 31/08/2019 at 2PM.
The event is invite only for 50 limited edition copies of my short-story ‘The Ghost of Shaolin’. All books have been handmade by myself and graphic design artist Adam Taie.
The event will consist of an opening with Qu’ran recitation and translation from my cousin and singer Ishaq Patel. A talk from my father and artist Abdul-Rasheed Patel regarding his illustration contribution to the book. Poetry and awareness of oppression currently happening in China by Flo Poet Annotate (Liam Spencer). To close the event I will be talking about the book and the making of. With the last section a chance for attendees to purchase a copy.
If you would like to attend - please contact Abdul-Ahad through his web site.
Abdul-Ahad Patel.

Call for writers / Corinium Radio Writers' Room

Dates available for recording in the Writers’ Room in August, September, October 2019.

Please let me know if and when you would like to come in.

Dates fill up very quickly so the sooner you can let me know your preference the better.

August 1st. 8th, 22nd, 29th.

September 12th, 19th, 26th.

October 3rd, 10th, 31st.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Rona Laycock

Writers Room

General Information

The studio has moved; please do not enter via Bingham House anymore.

We meet in the foyer of Cirencester Library, The Waterloo, Cirencester GL7 2PZ  at 11am on the day of recording.

The library is situated at the back of Bingham House and can be reached via the little alleyway that runs down the side of TSB in the market place. Once the alleyway opens out into a road you will find the library on the right.

Work that is to be read on the radio has to be acceptable to a wide range of listeners so we ask that there is no explicit violence or sex and not too much swearing - certainly not the stronger swear words.

I will chat to you about what inspires you or what sort of writing you like to do etc.  If you have a website or have published a book you can publicise that as well. The programme is approximately 26 minutes long so we have plenty of time for readings as well as the interview.

The sessions are recorded so that any mistakes we make can be edited out.  If you make a mistake just stop and go back a couple of sentences and the programme producer will sort it all out during the editing.

The programme is now available to be sent out as an audio file via email so you don’t have to wait until it is broadcast to hear your performance!

It also features on the ‘Listen Again’ page of Corinium Radio’s website.