The Playwriters Organisation
Meet Plymouth’s inclusive playwriting and performance group. Mike Ford takes us through their busy activities and performances.
“We take your idea from the page, to the stage” is the motto of The Playwriters Organisation. Formed in 2012, it has two sections, called “The Playwriters” and “The Playwriters Production Company”
Who are you and what do you do? Our Secretary is Peter Cummings. He comments; “We are the only local group to start a play on a blank page and then, within 3 months, produce it on-stage at a Plymouth location; plus we involve all the members of the group in writing, acting, backstage, marketing, front-of-house, in fact every aspect of theatre.”
OK, so how much does it cost? Is it a lot? Free membership has been the keystone of The Playwriters Organisation since its inception. Founder member, Mike Ford explains, “To do a playwriting course can cost upwards of £60 locally, then courses, in acting, marketing, social skills and so on, all have fees attached – however modest. Even amateur theatre groups charge membership and performance fees, so to be able to offer everyone the chance to learn new skills, or offer the expertise they already possess to others (on a free-to-all basis) has to be a good thing!”
When & where do you meet? Who can come? “The Playwriters” meet every Friday morning at the Varsity restaurant on Derry’s Cross in the City Centre (10.30am start). Anyone can turn up. If you like watching plays, being in a play, or wondered how to write one, or just want to be with like-minded others, then go along. “The Playwriters Production Company” meets every Wednesday night from 6-9pm at The Noah’s Ark pub, Courtney St, off Royal Parade (behind WHSmith). The company produces what the Playwriters create. Led by Vince Sutton, Rebecca Ford, Heather Grange, John McGee, Judy Hardie and others, everyone is welcome regardless of ability.
Previous play “The Game of Murder” from 2015
In rehearsal at The Noah’s Ark pub-theatre
Marilyn Cowan auto-harpist who will entertain “The Amazon” audience
So who comes to your meetings? People from all walks of life and with varying abilities. Chairman, Alex Wood, points out; “We have people who are dyslexic who write and act. We actively encourage those who have disabilities to join us. Some members have mental health problems or find social skills difficult, but to us they are another active member. We are lucky in that our tutors and consultants donate their time and expertise freely.”
So how are you funded? The only income that the organisation gets is from ticket sales from our productions. This makes it difficult at times. “We do apply for Arts Council grants and so forth, but without success so far”, says Treasurer Mike Ford. “Our 12 previous productions over the past 4 years, together with our 8 courses, 7 instant playwriting days, and 4 social nights, have all been funded by scrounging whatever was needed through tickets sales, raffles, and programme advertising”.
What’s your latest play about? The current production, written by Pete Cummings, has both professional and amateur cast members. It is a maritime mystery about two ships, two centuries apart, both found adrift in the same spot of the Azores and both called the same name. Just what is the connection? You can find out if you come to “The Amazon”.
Ok, where and when? “The Amazon” premieres on Saturday 9 July (3pm and 7.15pm) at Wembury War Memorial Hall with tickets priced at only £8 on the day (£5 if booked in advance). The Noah’s Ark pub theatre performances are from Tuesday 12 July to Friday 15 July (7.30pm), Saturday 16 July (2.30pm). Tickets are priced from £8 if pre-booked. The Box Office number is 01752 786777. Groups of 6 pay for only 5 seats. Please support this show and visit our website (www.playwriters.org), follow us on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.