Friday 30 March 2007, 17:23
This week I'm working at the National Student Drama Festival, running workshops on writing, acting and directing. It's a fantastic week-long event, consisting of discussions, workshops, masterclasses â and ten student shows seen by a panel of selectors through the year, from all over the country.
So far this year, we've seen a revival of Robin Soans' Talking To Terrorists, and a newly devised cabaret show with puppets about child abuse, The Ordinaries. The latter had some strong line writing in it, although the strongest moments were those where they resisted their tendency to over-write and allowed simple visual moments to speak.
Later this week, as well as revivals of The Night Heron, Iron and Stone Cold Dead Serious, we're going to be seeing new plays by Charlie Brafman, Lee Barnes, and Al Smith â who's currently part of the BBC's writing academy. There's also more puppetry in Haozkla, a devised show from Edinburgh University.
Some of the best theatre work I've ever seen has been at the NSDF. There's a willingness to experiment, and for the audience to accept experiment, that is rarely seen elsewhere: not least because there's no financial pressure at all. There's also a high level of debate and discussion that promotes and encourages excellence.
I'll be blogging about the new shows, I hope, later in the week.