Writing a play is hard. And in my experience, finishing a play is even harder! But it’s a great feeling to reach the end of the script, especially if I’ve managed to figure out a really great ending. (This doesn’t happen that often so even a half-way decent ending leaves me delighted. Endings are hard!) It’s an accomplished, euphoric sort of feeling. But then it fades and I wonder – what now? What do you do when you finish a play?
Here are some ideas about where to do next and some more general resources for playwrights.
Hear it out-loud.
Print out a few scripts, and ask your friends nicely if they’ll take part in a reading. Promises of tea/cake/wine/future favours might be helpful here. Hearing your script out-loud is incredibly helpful. It can also be incredibly painful because you hear all the bits that don’t work, such as the clunky dialogue where your characters stop sounding like human beings. You have to sit through the boring bits and know that you are responsible for the tedium. You suddenly notice the scenes that end too quickly and the ones that drag on too long. It’s really hard but really helpful. And it’s not all bad – you get to hear the great bits too, the bits that sound so real you can’t believe they came out of your head. You’ll see connections that you didn’t realise were there, you’ll see new aspects to the characters you thought you knew inside out. It’s definitely worth the pain. Take lots of notes, and note the good stuff as well as the bad. You learn from both.
Top Tip: If the idea of showing your precious script to anyone or allowing it to be butchered in the mouths of your friends fills you with dread and horror maybe it’s not finished yet. Do another rewrite and then see how you feel.
Send it to production companies and theatres.
Depending on how the reading went, you will have a little or a lot more work to do on your script. If it was really bad you might want to tear it into little pieces. Resist that urge, hold on to the things that worked and fix the things that didn’t. Once that’s done, you can send it off to the professionals. Fishamble, the Abbey, Theatre Upstairs and The New Theatre all take unsolicited scripts. They’re much more likely to give feedback than offer to produce your play but it’s a good place to start. Make sure you read and adhere to the submission guidelines! Feedback can take months so make sure you start something new while you waiting.
Enter playwriting competitions not to win them, but to give: yourself deadlines and, literary managers a chance to learn your name. #2amt
— Stephen Gregg (@playwrightnow) January 13, 2015
Deadlines are good for at least two types of writers. Those who have trouble getting started, and those who have trouble letting go.
— Stephen Gregg (@playwrightnow) May 20, 2015
Follow Stephen Gregg on twitter – @playwrightnow. He’s tweets are bite-sized morsels of good advice.
Apply for the Abbey’s Playwrights Hub.
This September, as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe, the Abbey are running a series of curated workshops at the Irish Writer’s Centre. They are describing it as “a space for playwrights to question, craft and create.” Deadline for applications is this Friday – 21 August 2015.
DETAILS FOR THE PLAYWRIGHTS HUB 2015
Any interested writers will need to send an expression of interest and their writing experience to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the places for the Hub are strictly limited, the deadline for expression of interest will be August 21 and we will contact all applicants with the decisions by August 28.
There will be three groups of 10 playwrights and each group will have a 3 hour workshop with an established theatre maker.
Dates: 8 – 10 September, during Tiger Dublin Fringe
Time: 2 – 5pm
Location: Irish Writers’ Centre