CULTURE: Ten budding dramatists, all thanks to u3a online playwriting course

By Lucy Ashton

TEN new plays are deep in the throes of being rehearsed, each play crafted by a debutant dramatist who signed up for a ten-week, ‘Write that play!’, course – set up by u3a.

All but one of this Online Across Scotland (OAS) u3a group had never written a play before. But, on Wednesday 26 May, they, plus their families and friends, will be able to watch professional actors perform live extracts from these novel works, on Zoom.

The budding talents of each new dramatist have been fostered by Richard Peoples, pictured right, assisted by Laure Paterson, of Citadel Arts.

As the author of 30 staged plays, alongside his acting and directing skills, Richard has relished leading this new venture.

He commented: “The pandemic presented u3a with a huge logistical challenge. Our members could not travel or meet face to face for months. So, Online Across Scotland u3a was initiated as an additional learning and social tool.

“Members of my group are from various parts of Scotland.

“Going online let us interact, despite lockdowns. We could arrange performances of the plays, which are at an early stage of development, thanks to a joint venture between OAS u3a and Citadel Arts.

“This Edinburgh-based theatre group has provided funding for pre-publicity and to pay the actors. It’s been an interesting and successful experiment in running a playwriting course aimed mainly at novice playwrights. We plan to run it again from September.”

The ‘Write that play!’ group members live in Edinburgh, Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Fife, Argyll, Perthshire and the Borders.

The themes of the ten new plays  range from family relationships and social care to crime and pornography

Picture: Poets and playwrights at an Arts FEstival in Clifden, Connemara.

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