Yesterday, TalkFest 2016 at the Edinburgh Festival
launched as part of the Made in Scotland programme. In
preparation for the workshops in Edinburgh in the summer, I've been
looking back to last month's workshops at the
It's a strange way to start your weekend - twenty
playwrights sitting in the Tron Main House and everyone's looking
for one thing: inspiration.
Radley (DORM, Futureproof) starts by introducing
herself and immediately creates a warm, inclusive space. Lynda
makes clear from the beginning that this workshop is practical and
that participants will be required to write. Hopefully no one was
too shocked by this announcement.
And so the writing began. Small, achievable exercises quickly
escalated, with Lynda's guidance, into a fifteen-line scene. A few
playwrights volunteered to share their work and (as usual) I was
surprised by the variation in the playwrights' approaches. Given
the same exercise and similar stimuli, whole plots emerge from some
writers, whilst glimpses of place or character have been created by
others. A good start to any morning.
Show Me the Funny
Later, on that intense TalkFest Saturday, I'm back in a
workshop: this time with Johnny
McKnight to learn about writing comedy.
Johnny's workshop was notable for uniting its subject with its
content - the afternoon was continually punctuated with laughter.
Sometimes at a quip of Johnny's but also from the participating
playwrights as they made each other (and themselves) laugh.
Being funny is clearly embedded in Johnny's nature and his
knowledge of the formal structuring principles of comedy is
peppered with anecdotes about his life and work. I've laughed less
at a stand-up comedian than in that workshop.
Workshops - a thought
It's intriguing to gain an insight into a playwright's
approach to their writing: how they start, what they focus on, why
they write. The fifty-ish playwrights who attended Lynda's and
Johnny's workshops all seemed to find the experience motivating (I
hope). Looking back, I'm wondering about those fragments that were
created during Lynda and Johnny's workshops. Did they lead to a
play? A scene? An idea or a character? I'm not sure I'll ever find
out and I'm VERY curious. If you were there, feel free to let me
If you like the sound of these workshops, have a look at
TalkFest 2016's workshops at the Edinburgh
Festival. Bookings are now open.
Jackie Crichton is
Administration and Communications Coordinator at Playwrights'
Photo Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic