Tuesday, 5 March 2013


All decent writers will say that to write, you need to read.  Lots.  A decent playwright, therefore, ought to go and see lots of plays.  

And if one is yet emerging as a writer, attending any performances, readings, workshops, discussions and read-throughs is equally vital. To a fledgling, aspiring writer, the main drawback in this is money. 

During August in Edinburgh we are swamped with so many opportunities to see theatre, comedy, cabaret, spoken-word, dance and drama, it is overwhelming.  If you are a struggling artist, Festivals can fleece you.  

But ignore them at your peril!

When I first moved to Edinburgh, the Festival Season gave me the buzz I needed to get me through the remaining eleven months.  How mistaken I was!  Edinburgh is The Festival City for eleven months of the year (I can’t include January: most of us harbour a cold and stubborn hangover for that grim month) In February, however, it all kicks in again.

In the past few weeks, I have been to plenty of plays, at all sorts of times of day.  The lunchtime Play, Pie & Pint season is in full swing at the Traverse (I went to 3 Seconds by Lesley Hart.) I saw a matinee performance of a new play, Too Long The Heart by David Hutchison, produced by Siege Perilous, which had a similar bungled-abduction plot to Gregory Burke’s Gagarin Way, staged recently by Black Dingo.

Both of these were in Leith: a place where community theatre and grass-roots collaborations seem to be constantly bubbling up.  The Village Pub Theatre is another emerging Institution which allows new writers the chance to have material presented in the now well-established format of ‘rehearsed readings.’ The atmosphere, in a back room of a back-street pub, is one of immense support and enthusiasm.

I could add to this the eclectic world of spoken-word, cabaret-style and storytelling mix that is the Speakeasy, or Rally & Broad, Illicit Ink, Inky Fingers, 10Red, Blind Poetics, Shore Poets, Caesura and many others that I’ve yet to discover.  The point about all these is that they support each other, and value one another for their contribution to The Arts.

My part in this, as a writer, performer, and above all, partaker, is to offer whatever I can. So I have got a handful of writers from the Traverse Fifty to come together next Monday and share some of their recent writing – work in progress – and let actors read the words, allow folk to give feedback, and encourage people to mix, make new contacts, have a blether. 

If you have read this, and like what I say, invite people.  

Invite them to visit this blog; invite them to tweet, share, like and attend; invite them to get involved; invite them to engage in the magical, transformative, and life-changing phenomenon that is Theatre.

And invite them to this: 

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