Helen East’s blog | Write to Play year 2

By Helen East | Write to Play year 2, January, 6 2016

365 days and nights

When I first heard about Graeae’s Write to Play, I immediately got on my soapbox.  I’ve always had an aversion to writing projects and competitions that are aimed at specific people. As far as I was concerned, they should be open to everyone regardless of gender, sexuality, age etc. I definitely was not going to apply.

Fortunately, Suzanne Bell explained how beneficial it would be. I could continue writing plays, sending them out, being rejected, writing plays, sending them out, same old same old. Alternatively, I could apply for the project and who knows it just might help improve my writing, so I did.

Faced with Elizabeth Newman, Hayley Greggs and Alex Summers from the best theatres in the U.K and Chloe and Amit from Graeae, suddenly I did a complete turnaround. I wanted to work with these people. They had years and a wealth of experience between them and were offering it to me. Well, they would if they accepted me. I’ve never wanted to pass an interview more. I was more nervous than going on a blind date.

They accepted me and so the year began. One of the first things they did was team me with top playwright Tim Price as my mentor who encouraged, supported and challenged me when necessary. If they ever open a dating site, they’d be very successful as each of us in the group was happy with their choices. Other things Graeae organised were workshops with some of the best theatre people. I learned about the world of theatre, developed my skills in telling a story, creating characters and even when I had a wobble – and I had a lot, about my writing – they encouraged me to hang on in there and keep going.

In addition, I’ve been to a few workshops in my time and have never been physically taken care of as well as Graeae did. They even provided a rest room in case anyone in the group needed to lie down.

Overall, my writing has developed as has my confidence in it. I am so glad I got off my soapbox and applied for the scheme. 365 days and nights is a long time. I don’t want that year back again. If it was possible, I would like another year please.