Well, where do I start? I've had one of those gaps again where the amount of stuff I could now talk about makes blogging seems a bit daunting.
The good news is I've finished my first draft. It was a commission from Half Moon Theatre, a series of monologues for young people called We Are Shadows. You can read more about it here, and if you run a venue you can even book it. I think it's turned out rather well, though I always think that about first drafts and have sometimes been wrong. It's hard to see the wood for the trees after a while.
I'm now flat out on my next one, which is the new play for Mulberry School where I'm writer-in-residence, and which we are taking to the Edinburgh Fringe this year. It's called Mehndi Night and I've created a page about it on my main website here. It's a serious challenge to write authentically about a community so far removed from my own, but I'm really excited about it, and the girls themselves have just been a joy to work with. It's one of those projects where they could never do it without me and I could never do it without them. The result is going to be something totally unique and brilliant, the kind of play which could only ever be born out of working in this way - and which I'd never get the chance to tackle working in isolation. It's been such a privilege to be trusted enough to have been taken into their world with such openness and honesty. The revelations about the reality of trying to juggle all the facets of a third generation British Bengali identity have been by turns poignant, hilarious, tragic and compelling - effortlessly the stuff of drama. I'm seriously excited about the show.
I've also updated my main website to include some more general information about my residency at Mulberry. On that same page there are also links to some scripts by my Year 10 (that's Fourth Year for everyone over 25) students, all of whom completed my playwrighting course with flying colours. We had a reading in school with professional actors hired for the occasion, which went brilliantly. I've just started a similar course for staff in the school, the first time I've ever done a course like that, and we'll probably have a public showcase of their work towards the end of the summer term.
Oh yes, I'm this close to getting my first radio commission. I'm being supported by a lovely producer at BBC Manchester, but even so the process is rather involved. I won't say any more cos I don't like to jinx these things, but I should hear in a week or so.
Also had my first meeting this week with Matt Peover, Mark Bell and Chris Moran of Liquid Theatre about our modern Jacobean project. It's a real luxury to have the time and cash for some considered creative thought on a play of this size - it speeds the whole process up no end to have four minds working on it. All those conversations you would normally have in your own head about abstract concepts and themes and thrashing out possible storylines are suddenly brought out into the open and held up for such a thorough four-way scrutiny that it's immediately obvious if you're barking up the wrong tree or not. When you're used to working on your own it almost feels like cheating. So I'm having quite a collaborative year what with that and Mehndi Night, and I have to say I'm really loving it.
No news yet on How To Disappear having a London outing, but you'll be the first to know.
I've also been getting some responses to my letter writing campaign about the Olympic arts cuts, but I'll save that for another post soon...