Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Do you write play scripts or make short films? INK Festival welcomes submissions for its 2017 festival!

With the support of patrons Helen Atkinson Wood and Esther Freud, INK is returning to its home at the Halesworth Cut, Suffolk, for the festival on April 21st, 22nd and 23rd 2017.

INK is a springboard festival, which champions new writing from East Anglia in an unmissable weekend of quality live back-to-back performances. INK provides a unique opportunity for writers in East Anglia to showcase their new work with a team of professional actors and directors. Have you ever dreamed of seeing your play performed live? Perhaps you have scripts you started but never finished, or a finished film but nowhere to screen it. INK breaks down the barriers of complicated entry procedures or “who you know, not what you know” policies, and offers writers the chance to showcase their new work in a safe and supportive environment, or start their career in the industry altogether.

Our writers from previous years, have gone on to have their plays performed at Latitude in Suffolk, Hotbed festival in Cambridge, The Pleasance theatre in London, and won awards such as the Velvet Trumpet Best New Comedy award. Following the huge success of INK 2016, selected plays from the festival will be a part of the INK SPILL, whereby the plays have been developed into full length performances and will be performed at the Pleasance Theatre in London this November.

With such a wide range of entry categories, INK has created opportunities for everyone to get involved, established writers and those who have never written before too. The entry categories are NEW PLAY, SHORT FILM, THEMED PLAY ‘By the sea’, RADIO PLAY, YOUNG WRITER (18’s and under), and FILM SCHOOL. Check out our website for more details, the deadline for short plays is the 21st October 2016, and please send in short films by 6th January 2017.  Get writing, dust off the scripts nobody has ever seen and send them to INK! Join us for the journey.

INK are also very excited to announce that we will be teaming up with the Young Filmmakers Club to encourage children to make their own films! The Young Filmmakers Club run fun, educational courses in primary schools and after-school clubs for children. The clubs are geared towards providing a high level of care whilst giving children a challenging and enjoyable filmmaking experience. Children work as both cast and crew to plan, shoot and produce their own films. The Young Filmmakers Club will be holding a FREE weekend film course at a primary school in Norfolk (location and date TBC), and the film made at this weekend will be screened at INK Festival 2017.
In addition to this, the Young Filmmakers Club will be running a FREE film school for children over the festival weekend, with the final film that the children make being screened on the last night of the festival.

With this FREE film school for children, creative writing workshops, short plays and films as well as live music in a dynamic venue, INK provides the perfect arena for creative expression, as well as huge variety for audience members.

If you would like to get involved in other ways with INK, such as publicity, fundraising, advertising, volunteering, set design, props, costume, technical or stage management, please contact emma@inkfestival.org

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Dancing Write

Bel Greenwood writes about a dancing and writing workshop which she taught in conjunction with Glasshouse Dance in Norwich this June:

Any opportunity to take words off the page and make them leap into physical space and I am your woman.  I have seen the process of marrying text and movement in collaborative theatre double the power of a piece so I was hugely excited to be asked by Glasshouse Dance to devise and deliver with them a workshop that combined dance and writing.
Glasshouse Dance are an exciting, contemporary dance company. They are visionary, challenging, passionate and poignant. A fusion between two dancer/choreographers, Sarah Lewis and Laura McGill.  They are interested in the human, in emotion and touch and their dance pieces have wide appeal. Their work as Glasshouse was at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival  in US, where two dancers edged their way in sharp and funny face offs to form their relationship and settle in the end for love.  It is hard to get humour into dance that isn’t clumsy but there is a wealth of humour in what they do. Individually they have performed nationally and Sarah Lewis toured in another love story, that of Walter and Agnes to the Edinburgh Festival in Neil Paris’ dance company, Smith.  The company is also interesting because it encourages older people to dance.  Laura McGill has a company called Mosaic for dancers over the age of 55.  
The idea of a workshop combining text, movement and location threw up lots of questions. How would dancers and writers approach the idea of embracing their contrasting art forms? Would writers be able to throw off their mantle of physical stasis?  How to put movement into the words – and movement into words. Could we create a narrative journey which would make sense as a series of actions? Would we be illustrative or interpretative? 
Glasshouse Dance were keen to experiment and explore freely and so was I.
The workshop took place at The Garage, on a light June afternoon in an upper studio which felt suspended in space and time.  All our participants were women, nearly all of them dancers.  It seemed it was hard to entice writers away from their desks.  Over the next five hours, women explored orally their personal histories, wrote, observed, responded and moved…a lot.

We started with an invitation to talk and to listen with a series of prompt questions drawn from theatre and used to open up memory and soul.  The invitation proved to be moving, the talker sat or lay in a comfortable position with their eyes closed while the listener sat and really listened.  It is rare to have the opportunity to talk freely without fear.  We moved onto a whole series of exercises both warming up in terms of movement and writing. One of my favourite activities was asking the women to dance the handwriting of others. Words were used in abstract forms, groups watched movement and described and then moved beyond description into more narrative forms or lifted their words into parallel dimensions. Ultimately the women went outside to gather impressions of Chapelfield Gardens in that gorgeous moment of sunshine – when they returned they wrote down things that struck them, people and then created a complex dance, a series of movements exploring and recreating that outside world.  Only a couple of the women used their voices but the text streaked across the back wall was a perpetual thread that ran through everything the women did with their hands, eyes, feet and legs. 
Combining writing and dance was a one-off, a first-off, it was an activity occupying the borderland between art forms and more the valuable and intriguing for that.

© Belona Greenwood

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Rural Writes: Belona Greenwood gives a project update

Foxhole Heath
Rural Writes, our Arts Council supported project, in partnership with the Norfolk Library Service, is in its fourth week now and we are beginning to produce writing that can be featured on the dedicated project blog  www.ruralwrites.blogspot.co.uk . I have to say, that all three groups of writers are very productive and there will be a swathe of writing appearing on the blog over the next few weeks. In some places, we have come to special arrangements, where a woman can’t make the meetings because of work commitments, then we are working via email with face-to-face pencilled in for the future.  It has been important that no one who wanted to participate should be excluded because of any access difficulties and most of the women who have signed up are genuinely new to writing or exposing their writing to the public gaze.
The Gorleston, Swaffham, and Watton groups have settled into being very friendly, trusting units, where women from different backgrounds, experiences and ages are working together, supporting each other, discovering and learning about the lives of others, laughing and sometimes crying together as they share stories from their lives. These are proving to be very powerful gatherings; there is such a vast reservoir of experience, knowledge, quietly lived and quietly thought wisdom.  I hope with all my heart that these groups will continue as places of friendship, support and creativity – in their regional locations but also uniting together as the project goes on.
It’s actually quite hard to write about the countryside; it is almost as if countryside invites a kind of generic response and, in the groups, we are concentrating on finding the particular and personal. There are themes that we explore in short texts and these are completely open to interpretation – the writing that is emerging is exciting, once we cross the border into writing directly from the heart.
These last two weeks, the women writers have been working with the poet Heidi Williamson and even those who thought poetry was not for them have changed their minds.  Watch our blog space for  some of the results.