With the support of Arts Council England and the Feminist Review Trust I have recently conducted a period of research and development to complete a draft of my new play ‘Gaze’.
The play has taken on many iterations in its lifetime. Starting in January 2018 I put a call out for submissions from female/non-binary writers to create a short monologue about a notable woman from film history. From these submissions I shortlisted 12 monologues to take to the next stage, which was a week of R&D in the studio with a director, Karen Traynor, and two actors to work on and develop the monologues. The original aim was to weave these monologues together, connecting them through my own narrative.
Moving forwards, we decided that the monologues worked really well as a compilation of individual entities, and I have instead pursued writing my first full-length play, partly inspired by the monologues and my original interest in the wonderful Alice Guy Blache, the first female filmmaker. Throughout 2019 I have worked on developing my ideas and research for the play, such as themes of film history, feminism, gender politics and mental health, which are all subjects I feel incredibly passionate about. Tying them together, I have come to produce, ‘Gaze’.
Working in the studio with Karen leading the direction, and three wonderful actors, we workshopped ideas and scenarios, and developed character context and backgrounds. We also experimented with film and projection, sound design, and I received amazing support from a dramaturg. This all led to me being able to write a full first draft and I am now working with my producer to approach venues with the aim of touring the production in autumn 2020.
As a disabled artist I feel passionate about supporting accessibility to the arts and so I have utilised the funding offered from the Arts Council and the Feminist Review Trust, to not only develop my play but also to develop an access plan which is intrinsic to the production and tour. I want to integrate access as a priority and so I have spent time researching and receiving help and advice from experts and organisations who support people with disabilities to explore the barriers that people face when trying to attend the theatre, and finding ways to overcome this.
I am excited about what the future holds for my play and cannot wait for the next stage…watch this space!