First Draft Radio Plays 2015
Lambeth’s New Playwriting Competition
FIRST DRAFT RADIO PLAYS 2015
Sixteenfeet is committed to offering Lambeth writers continuous support, and as part of our new writing competition, First Draft, we have adapted and recorded two of the winning plays for radio.
First Draft 2015
Poppy Corbett is a Brixton-based playwright and theatre director. She has previously had short plays produced across London, most recently Cyber-Babies (Park Theatre, Little Pieces of Gold), Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (Arcola Theatre, Miniaturists), I’m Terrified/Don’t Cry (Southwark Playhouse, The Story Project 4). In 2013 Poppy won the Masterclass ‘Pitch Your Play’ competition with her play Hatchling, receiving a reading at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Her 2013 pantomime Robin Hood written for BigFoot Arts toured around Lambeth primary schools.
A Note from Poppy:
The voices of the two characters I wrote are very distinctive and really, if I’m honest, I wrote them to be heard and hadn’t really considered the staging when I sent the script into the ‘First Draft’ competition. Therefore, I was delighted to be asked to adapt It’s My Party into a radio piece because I knew that the dialect-driven piece I’d written (two intercutting monologues – one RP accent and one London accent) would suit audio particularly well. I’d never written for radio before so considering how to adapt my script provided an exciting challenge. The main challenge that arose was that in the original script for the stage Selina’s monologue was written as though she was speaking to her friends also on the bus with her. This was easily achieved on stage as the actor (Racheal Ofori) used the audience as her ‘friends’. On radio the director (Jen Davis) and I realised this would be harder for listeners to understand and it may not have been clear who Selina was speaking to. Our solution was to adapt all Selina’s monologues into phone conversations. It would then be clearer for the listener to follow the narrative (we hoped) because the two characters’ voices would be from two distinct places: Selina talking to her friends on the phone and Carol’s inner voice inside her head. I’m really proud of the final product and thank Sixteenfeet for their brilliant work in producing it.
Riona Millar is fifteen, and still fairly hesitant to call herself a writer, though she has been crafting novels from the tender age of 5, complete with illustrations. However, after she realised she couldn’t draw, she decided she’d try her hand in other fields. She has been writing poetry for a few years, but this is her first play. She also enjoys music – particularly, at present, 1940s big band jazz – live theatre, and boxsets of 20th century comedy shows. She considers herself to be a classicist and a logophile: sometimes, just for some real excitement, she reads the dictionary.
A Note from Riona:
From the start of the rehearsals, just taking my play, The Lilies, from page to stage, I really enjoyed working out which parts of my writing would work well onstage – with the director, the actors, and at one point, my best friend – but turning it into a piece of radio was wonderful. We recorded the whole play in an afternoon, and then it went through post-production to come out as a full audio version of play! I think I took the greatest joy from recording the intros and outros for the piece – I suddenly realised quite how proud I was of everyone involved, including myself.
It’s My Party by Poppy Corbett
‘It’s always a thinking week when it’s the week of Ben’s birthday.’ A bus. Brixton to Regent Street. Carol and Selina are both thinking about birthdays. Two very different birthdays that collide on the upstairs deck of the 3. Carol just wants her son Ben to be happy. Selina just wants to make herself happy. An unlikely encounter on public transport challenges two women to change their prejudices and transform their perspective. A story of London, friendship and birthdays.
The Lilies by Riona Millar
The Lilies, by then-15 year old Riona Millar, is a gentle, lilting piece about a woman at the end of her life coming to terms with terminal cancer, and her young granddaughter’s attempts to get her head around it all. The grandmother, Violette, is perpetually optimistic, with a wonderful sense of gallows humour, whereas her granddaughter Marie, for whom Violette is hugely important, has great difficulty accepting the natural course of living. The play follows Violette’s, and eventually, Marie’s, acceptance that all things must come to an end.
Theatre Credits include: Weird Weather (Vault Festival), The Forum (Underbelly), Quality Street (Finborough Theatre), A Man For all Seasons (York Theatre Royal), The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre), 1936 (Arcola Theatre), Chekov at the Chapel (Union Chapel Theatre).
Films include: You’re the Stranger Here (Film 4) Songs for my Mother (Film 4), Tender (Pedro Rilho), The Ripperologist (Meniscus Sunrise). Kate is currently preparing her solo show Invisible Woman which she will perform at this years Edinburgh Festival.
Racheal Ofori graduated from Italia Conti Academy in 2013 and has since worked in both theatre and television.
She played Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Tooting Arts Club Theatre Company and later Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeares Globe Theatre. Her work on television includes BBC’s Wizards v Aliens. She is currently working on her first solo show; Portrait, which will play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August.
West End acting credits include “Half A Sixpence”, “Our Man Crichton” and “Hamlet”. Television : “Dr Who”,”General Hospital”, “The Strauss Family”, “No Hiding Place”Dates” and “Doctors”. Film : “Your Highness”, “Dig” She has played leading roles in reps throughout the UK and for three years was Associate Director at the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. For a decade or so she premiered one-woman plays in Canada, Antwerp, Brussels, the Middle East and India. Audio/visual work includes numerous voice-overs, radio drama and dubbing. For seven years she read the letters on “Points Of View” with Barry Took. Her one-woman play about Mrs Shakespeare, “Mistress Mine”, won Best Actress in Canada and received two Sony nominations after being broadcast on Radio Four and the World Service.
Peter Bourke was in the NYT before training at RADA rep at Leeds RSC and NT Chichester and Scarborough.
West End: Endgame, Exclusive When We are Married and Dial M for Murder most recently seen in Clarion at the Arcola. On television: Nicholas Nickleby, David Copperfield, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Hazel, East Enders, Corination Street, Doctor Who, The Bill Bugs, Birds of a Feather. Films: The Stud Stand up, Virgin Soldiers, The Mission, The Jazz Detective.
Sophia graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2013. Since then, she has played a guest lead part in ‘Shetland’ (BBC One) and guest parts in ‘Doctors’ (BBC One), ‘Mr Selfridge’ (ITV) and ‘The Inbetweeners Movie 2’. She has recently finished filming ‘World’s End’ as Lexy Winters for CBBC for a thirty-six episodes run. She took part in the Playwriting festival last year for Sixteenfeet Productions and is delighted to have been asked back.
Jen graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2013, studying Drama and Theatre Arts. She has directed plays many new writing festivals including: How It Turned Out (RealDeal Theatre), Cheers (Attic Theatre), Self Reflection (Theatre Exchange) The Pudding Club, Looking Down (Lost Theatre) Community Not For Sale, Mouse and Lion (Sixteenfeet Productions). For the last year she has been on the Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s artist development programme: Foundry. Currently, she is a Trainee Resident Director at the King’s Head Theatre. Jen co-founded and produced ‘Shoot Festival’- a new platform for emerging artists making work in Coventry and she is also Sixteenfeet’s Assistant Producer.
A Note from Jen:
Adapting ‘It’s My Party’ for radio was such a rewarding experience; I was so excited to work with Poppy and our talented team of actors again. It felt like the success of First Draft was being continued as our collaborations began to grow. Directing the play for a different medium proved an interesting challenge but I found myself supported by an excellent team at Sixteenfeet. ‘It’s My Party’ is a vibrant, entertaining and thought provoking play. Poppy has skillfully taken a snapshot of the local area and crafted two characters you could well meet on the Number 3 to Regent Street.
Nicholas has been with Sixteenfeet since 2008 and is Associate Director of the company. Previously he has worked internationally as an Events Director, teaches English, Theatre and Classical Civilisation and as a qualified teacher leads Sixteenfeet’s education programme.
A Note from Nicholas:
Both myself and the actors took great pride in exploring this play with the writer who showed enormous skill and talent in crafting the relationships between the characters. Riona, only fifteen years of age, managed to communicate so many subtleties through her text in characters way beyond her realm of experience. As with so many texts, there was so much great work that, unfortunately, we had to loose along the way due to production constraints. The applause must go to such a promising talented writer to watch in the future and some skilful performances by the actors I take, great pride in working with.
Radio production by Guy Holden at The Sound Space
Music composition for The Lilies by Guy Holden
It’s My Party: Recorded at Gravity Shack Studios London • Engineer: Jessica Corcoran
The Lilies: Recorded at Academy of Live and Recorded Arts • Engineer: Luke Francis