August 23, 2018
Moving Forward by Writing and Staging Short Plays
Big n’ little
As Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre, I’m often asked by early career/emerging playwrights what is the best path to a full production in a London theatre. There’re lots of opinions on this matter, but getting your work on at the various scratch and shorts nights in your local area is commonly thought to be a good way to start, for the following reasons:
A) A short allows you to see how a concept/technique/form works with an audience, before you commit it to full length form.
B) Your work may be seen by industry figures such as theatre scouts, agents and producers.
C) Writing shorts will further hone and polish your craft.
D) You’ll build up your portfolio of writing credits.
E) Writing credits give you an edge when applying for bursaries, residencies, funding etc..
F) Having a short on the go, as you write your main project, provides a healthy displacement activity.
G) It facilitates networking opportunities and allows you to build relationships with theatres/directors/performers and theatre people in your area.
H) Having a short accepted for such an event, encourages and motivates.
From Ireland, Sue Healy is Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre, London, a full-time Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln. Her book on theatre literary management is published by Routledge, December 2022.
Sue is an award-winning writer for stage, TV, and prose writer.
Her current project, a 6x60minute TV series, is under option. She is under commission with Lone Wolf Media, producers behind PBS’ “Mercy Street”, to co-write the pilot and treatment for a six-part TV series.
Her most recent stage-play, Imaginationship (2018), enjoyed a sold out, extended run at the Finborough and later showed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. Her previous stage productions include Cow (Etcetera Theatre, 2017) and Brazen (King’s Head Theatre, 2016), funded by Arts Council England. Sue’s short plays have been performed at the Criterion (Criterion New Writing Showcase), Arcola (The Miniaturists) and Hackney Attic (Fizzy Sherbet Shorts).
Her radio work includes nine plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm.
Sue has won The Molly Keane Award, HISSAC Prize, Escalator Award, Meridian Prize and has been published in nine literary journals and anthologies including: The Moth, Flight, Tainted Innocence, New Writer, Duality, HISSAC, New European Writers. She has been writer-in-residence on Inis Oírr, Aran Islands, and at the Heinrich Boll Cottage on Achill Island. She has also benefitted from annual artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, and at Ginestrelle, Assisi in Italy.
An academic with a PhD in modern theatre history, specifically the Royal Court Theatre, Sue has presented her research internationally. She spent eleven years in Budapest, editing Hungary A.M. She has a PhD in modern theatre history (Royal Court Theatre) and is a UEA Creative Writing MA alumnus.
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