BBC Radio Drama North, with the new social creativity platform Stringsta have just launched a really exciting web project which gives budding writers a platform to showcase their work, as well as allowing them the opportunity to add to and interact with other writer's stories and ideas.
It's a project which has been almost a year in development, mainly because a collaboration with an outside web platform is pretty rare in the BBC and also because Stringsta is a completely unique site - the BBC (and to be honest me at first), didn't quite know what to make of it.
I'm not a techie and websites usually send me running. I can just about work Facebook, but anything beyond typing in a status update leaves me baffled. I therefore didn't think I would be able to get to grips with Stringsta's innovative way of sharing content, but their layout is so simple that I picked up how to post content really easily and in no time at all, I managed to add some starting points to the site for a creative journey which hopefully people will want to add to and continue.
We've called the project the World of Mancunia, as it has been inspired by the Radio 4 play Crimes of Mancunia by Michael Symmons Roberts. It is a noir inspired drama, set in Manchester's dark underworld of criminals and police investigations. On the Stringsta site I've posted some photos which inspired the drama, some audio and script extracts, as well as some photos and questions about the main characters in the narrative. My content is there purely as a starting point for your imagination. You can build upon what I have posted, create entirely new 'strings' of your own, or add to other user's creations. The idea is that we begin to build a collaborative on-line world, limited only be people's imaginations.
As this type of project has never been done before, I have no idea of where it will lead to creatively, although another exciting element of the project is that the posted content will be monitored by BBC Radio Drama Producers (including me!) and we are very interested in finding users who create stand-out content and we may contact those users about further development opportunities. So your posts could lead to that first step in your work getting noticed by the BBC!
The site will run until Friday 29th July. To register on the site log on to: www.stringsta.com/bbcmancunia
Crimes of Mancunia will be broadcast today on Radio 4 on Thursday 23rd June 14.15-15.00 and will also be available as a free download until Friday 1st July from the BBC Podcasts Play of the Week series.
If you want to read the full Crimes of Mancunia script, then this can be downloaded here in the Writersroom script archive.