New Playwrights Programme 2011 Blog

New Playwrights Programme 2011 Blog

Get an insight into our New Playwrights Programme with our blogs by our writers. Keep an eye out here and on Facebook for updates on the programme.

Bryan Delaney, NPP Manager on working with the 2011 Playwrights

I’ve been with some of these plays from their inception. I’ve seen them move from draft to draft. Each writer is different and I have a different relationship with each piece. As we work on the plays now in the room, I watch the writers and admire their attitude – listening, sifting, cutting, asking questions, probing the work for its strengths and flaws. Read more

Neil Bristow on the first reading of his play at a development workshop

The workshop of the second draft of my play was an undoubted highlight of the New Playwrights Programme, but one that had to be earned. There was quite a tight deadline between the first and second drafts, and the goal was to bring the play into a condition that merited the people lined up to honour it with their talents – in my case Annabelle Comyn as director, plus a wonderful set of actors in Cathy Belton, Barry McGovern, Andrew Bennett and Ian Lloyd Anderson. Read more

Tara McKevitt on the first reading of her play at a development workshop

‘Make sure you wear warm clothes,’ is the advice I am given on the eve before the reading of my play. I am at the opening night of fellow NPP participant Amy Conroy’s unique and brilliant I Heart Alice Heart I at the Peacock. Readings of the plays that we have been working on as part of the New Playwrights Programme have been going on all week, and the general consensus seems to be that the space is cold. Read more

Neil Bristow on handing in the first draft

For many writers the most exciting part of creating, or at least the most intoxicating part, is the rush of a first draft that you feel is working well. The story flows, the imagination throws up new and unexpected twists, characters develop and the whole thing seems to hurtle towards a fine conclusion. Read more

Tara McKevitt on workshops with Paul Mercier, Mark O Rowe, Billy Roche

Be true to yourself. It’s that simple. Writing is personal. It has to be in order for it to connect with the writer and propel them onwards towards a completion. ‘Why else would you be doing this?’ asks Paul Mercier at his workshop.
Read more

Tara McKevitt on Workshop 7

After more years than I care to reveal living on this planet, I have only come to realise that what people say, and what they do, are often two entirely different things. Who knows what anyone is really thinking. Do people even know themselves? I express my latest new found observation to the rest of the group at the Language and Dialogue workshop lead by Bryan Delaney. Read more

Neil Bristow on Workshop 7

In late July we had a workshop on the issue of language and dialogue. Though quite a specific theme, I found it also tied in to several workshops we’d had previously, not because material was repeated, but because of the growing awareness of the inseparability of the various elements that make up a successful play (or indeed any work of art). Read more

Neil Bristow on Workshop 4

In the fourth workshop of the New Playwrights Programme the writer Stacey Gregg came in to talk with us. The previous night had seen the premiere of her play, Perve, on the Peacock Stage.Fresh from the success of the evening, if a little tired from the post-show celebrations, Stacey was in good form and kindly shared a couple of hours to talk about her writing experience and field any questions we had. …
Read more

Lydia Prior on Workshop 3

If making theatre is collaborative, writing is usually solitary, so it was a huge treat to spend the rest of the workshop in a detailed discussion of a play we’d all read: Hedda Gabler. Specifically, we were examining how Ibsen builds the character of Hedda, and Bryan had carefully identified each moment in the play which contributes to the development of this extraordinary portrait of a woman careening towards crisis. We all had different perspectives… Read more

Read about what our 2010 NPP Participants experienced in their workshops

Workshops 1 and 2

The NPP Manager, Bryan Delaney, gave a workshop on the theme of ‘the first draft’. The workshop explored the different approaches taken by playwrights to writing the first draft of a new play… read more on Workshop 1 and 2

Workshop 3

Brian Singleton (Research Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin and Associate Professor of Drama at Trinity College Dublin) and Bryan Delaney (New Playwrights Programme Manager, Abbey Theatre) led participants through a workshop which focused on ‘non-traditional’ dramatic structure and form. What was fascinating about the workshop was the degree to which ritual forms a central pillar of so much drama, both historical and contemporary. It became clear to all in the room the extent to which playwrights the world over have placed ritual at the very heart of their dramaturgy…read more on Workshop 3

Workshop 4

The participants each spoke about their own work and it was fascinating to hear the different approach each writer took to creating their characters. Some planned meticulously, writing lengthy notes about character before tackling the first draft; others didn’t plan at all but started with a ‘hunch’ or an image and simply followed clues in the language as they wrote the first draft… read more on Workshop 4

Workshop 5

Paul Mercier first spoke about the importance of asking ‘why’ at every stage of the writing process. Why do I write? And more specifically, why do I write plays? Why am I sitting down at this desk at this point in my life to write this play? Why does it have to be a play and not a film or a short story or some other form? Why does this particular story need to be told? And why now? … read more on Workshop 5

Workshop 6

Bryan Delaney used George Orwell’s essay ‘Politics and the English Language’ this as a starting point to explore some key aspects of language that all writers should bear in mind. In particular the difference between abstract/generalised language and language that is specific and image-driven…. read more on Workshop 6

Workshop 7

Lynne Parker and John Comiskey spoke about their work as director and designer respectively and discussed how they collaborate on projects.This session was designed to give the NPP participants an insight into the director’s work process, the designer’s work process, how the two work together on productions… read more on Workshop 7

Your Comments & Reviews

1 Comment

Great reading these thoughts on the writing process. The authors convey not just their experiences at the Abbey workshops, but also how it affected them as writers, which of course, gives us the real insight.

Looking forward to more this year.
With thanks,

Have Your Say