16 July 2011: The Pleasance Theatre Big Day Out | 17 July 2011: The Platform Festival
Beginnings showcased five amazing new plays for and about young people written especially for the Platform festival by some of the UK’s best new playwrights.
What happens to the girl who wants to be invisible, the family who are constantly moving house, the group coming to terms with a terrible train accident?
Beginnings started in January 2011. Over a series of workshops, 30 young people worked with five exciting playwrights - Phil Porter, Paula B Stanic, Ben Musgrave, Michael Bhim and Sheila White - to develop potential ideas for six brand new 15 minute plays.
The writers took their ideas away and came back with drafts which were then read and discussed by the young people, who gave the writers advice on their work. Each play is inspired by the idea of 'beginnings' and - conveniently - will also represent the potential beginning of a much bigger play.
The final scripts were delivered in May 2011 and performed at the opening of the Platform Festival in July 2011, directed by five emerging directors:
Kwaku has been specially commissioned to direct three short plays for a project at the Africa Centre; Screening Africa, in Collaboration with South London Galleries. He will direct a play each Month, in June, July, and August 2011.
Kwaku was Assistant Director on Frank and Ferdinand, at the Soho Theatre and Highbury Studios. This was the first project he did with Islington Community Theatre. In January 2011, Kwaku was Assistant Director in a Project called A Drop to Drink in collaboration with The National Theatre Studio. It was a collective of six new short plays which were performed at The Soho Theatre.
In 2009, Kwaku Founded The K. Boateng Academy of Performing Arts, in Accra Ghana.
Alex has directed new short plays at the Arcola, Theatre 503, The Old Vic and Waterloo East. Previous directing includes 13 Objects by Howard Barker, 5 Visions of the Faithful by Torben Betts, adaptations of material by Brecht and Christopher Marlowe and new devised plays. As assistant director he has worked at the Old Vic (24 Hour Plays: Celebrity Gala) Riverside Studios (Gotcha by Barrie Keeffe) and the Old Vic Tunnels (Platform). He runs schools workshops on directing for the Old Vic and is a script reader for the Royal Court.
Ola Ince is currently Senior Reader at the Finborough Theatre. Previous direction includes: Far Away (The Studio, Rose Bruford), The Inconvenient Store (Tooting Hub), The Frame (Unicorn Theatre), The Island (Unicorn Theatre), Prettier Than Money (Sydenham Arts Festival), POP (Warehouse Theatre). She has worked as an Assistant Director for the Octagon Bolton, the Young Vic, Tristen Bates, The Kings Head Theatre and the RSC Fringe Festival. Ola graduated from Rose Bruford College with a first class honours BA in theatre Directing and is the current recipient of the Rose Bruford Directing Bursary.
Emily is a director whose main interest is in working with young people and people with disabilities. She is currently directing the New Writing Showcase for Kids Company at the National Theatre Studio, and has previously directed at venues including: the Southwark Playhouse (as winner of Better Bankside Shakespeare Award 2010), Oxford Playhouse, Polka Theatre and Etcetera Theatre. She is a regular facilitator for the Southwark Playhouse Young Company, Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, Peckham Shed and Scene & Heard. She has recently joined the creative team of Chicken Shed Kensington and Chelsea, a new inclusive theatre company which she will help to establish in Autumn 2011.
Tuan Ly trained in Drama and Physical Theatre at St. Mary's University College, Twickenham. He is a performer, director, workshop facilitator and movement practitioner, who has collaborated with a variety of practitioners and theatre companies. Tuan has performed within the UK, including at the Edinburgh Fringe, and in Europe. He is part of Lost Banditos Theatre Company, who returned from Portugal with their show As Loud as Silence earlier this year. His recent credits as Director, Assistant Director and Movement Director include work at The Point, Eastleigh, University of Surrey, Half Moon Young People's Theatre and the Oval House Theatre.
Paula B Stanic's play What’s Lost won the 2008 Alfred Fagon Award (rehearsed reading, Royal Court Theatre). Her work includes 6 Minutes, part of the season ‘Everything Must Go’ (Soho Theatre) Pancras Boys Club co-written with Ben Musgrave and David Watson (Only Connect Theatre) and Monday The Emerge New Works Festival, (Red Ladder Theatre Company) Paula is currently one of the writers on A Drop to Drink (six pieces concerning water) Tangle International in collaboration with The National Theatre Studio, and is the 2010 Adrienne Benham Award Writer-on-Attachment at Theatre Centre.
Ben Musgrave’s play Pretend You Have Big Buildings won first prize in the inaugural Bruntwood Prize, and was performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, in July 2007. He has since written plays for the National Theatre, Y Touring, Only Connect, and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and has written extensively both for young people and young performers. He also teaches creative writing at Westminster University.
Phil Porter's original plays include The Cracks In My Skin (winner of a Bruntwood prize), Stealing Sweets And Punching People, Skitterbang Island, The Flying Machine and Smashed Eggs (winner of The Children’s Award). He has adapted several classic stories including Beauty And The Beast, Cinderella and Pinocchio. His work has been produced by The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Opera House, Manchester Royal Exchange, Northampton Theatre Royal, The Unicorn Theatre and in theatres in Australia, Europe and the United States.
Sheila White won the Alfred Fagan award for her first play Maid and went on to be commissioned by the Tricycle theatre. Throughout her ten year writing career Sheila has worked extensively with young people. Running workshops within theatres, youth projects and schools. Commissioned to write a play for the Stone Bridge Area Youth Project, worked with the Almeida Theatre , writing a play for one of their local schools and running playwriting workshops at the Royal Court Theatre. Sheila has just finished writing her first draft for Theatre Centre.
Michael Bhim is a playwright who has worked with the Royal Court Theatre, the Soho Theatre, The Tricycle, and Paines Plough. Recent collaborations include The Golden Hour with Tiata Fahodzi at the The Almedia, and the Royal Court as part of their Rough Cuts season. He is currently under commission to write new plays for the Royal Court and CUT. His radio play, Look Closer, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in February 2010.