If you can’t make it up to Edinburgh this year, View From Here festival is set to bring a carefully curated selection of new Scottish writing to London. Philippa Mannion explains where the idea came from – and why it’s important to tell stories from all over the UK.
British theatre is thriving with new writing. But often, playwrights who are creating work in one part of the country aren’t getting exposure in another. View From Here Festival is looking to change that.
Earlier this year my co-producer Katherine Nesbitt (who had recently moved to London) and I were excited about being able to produce theatre together, having worked together professionally in Scotland for five years. We had a small theatre company called Makeshift Broadcast based in Glasgow where we made shows and podcasts, supporting new writing and artists.
Relocating to a new city can be a bit of shock, especially in theatre, as you have to work extra hard to build those creative connections and find opportunities to network! We thought about how we could stay connected with Scotland and utilise our colleagues north of the border; but also make new connections in London between writers and producers, actors and directors.
Through our work in Scotland, we had previously worked with Julie Tsang and Morna Young and seen scratches and work-in-progress of their writing. There were also established writers, like Rob Drummond, Oliver Emanuel and Johnny McKnight with shows this year at venues across Scotland whose work we admired. The festival is a coming together of all these awesome writers – giving them a chance to work on something new or show existing scripts to a London audience.
After a great conversation with Theatre503 and many phone calls and emails later, we have programmed nine playwrights, with six fantastic directors and twenty-three wonderful actors to bring these beautiful stories to life. It’s been a real team effort promoting and rehearsing the plays, getting them ready to be showcased in London. Each night will be a mixture of script-in-hand works-in-progress and staged readings from the more established playwrights.
We’re also really pleased that we can bring together Louise Stephens from the Royal Court, Jennifer Tuckett from London Writers’ Week and Lisa Spirling from Theatre503 to host a post-show discussion on Monday August 15, where we’ll be gathering together the shows to talk about new writing and regional work. We hope that one of the strengths of the project will be stimulating discussion about new work from across the UK.
We are excited to create what we hope is the first in a series of View From Here festivals focusing on playwriting from all across the UK. Any Welsh writers or Northern Irish writers out there, drop us a line, we would love to talk to you! We think it’s important to tell stories about where you’re from, and to have those stories heard. We think it’s important to share those stories across the regions of the UK and exchange ideas.
If you can’t be there, because you’re enjoying the Scottish weather and the magnificent Edinburgh Festival Fringe, don’t fret, you can follow us on Twitter @viewfromhere and Instagram view.from.here for a piece of the action.
But if you’re not able to make it to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, there’s a little pocket of London where you can come to and experience some of the best Scottish new writing on offer. We really hope you can join us!
View From Here: A Festival of Scottish New Writing is at Theatre503, The Latchmere Pub, Battersea Park Road, SW11 3BW on Sunday 14th August, 7.45pm, Monday 15th August, 7.45pm (with post-show discussion), Sunday 21st August, 7.45pm and Monday 22nd August, 7.45pm