ADP at the Lowry

Manchester ADP normally stage their ‘Scripts Aloud’ evenings at the Kings Arms.  Once a month the format is to put on four, fifteen minute script-in-hand plays, and then to allow the audience to feed back directly to the writer, director and cast in an open forum.  I had a piece on in June (I talked about it here) and it’s a fantastic experience as a writer; feedback is constructive but the environment is safe.  Some of these extracts are then developed as longer pieces, and this November performance featured two thirty minute pieces.  For the first time, it all took place at the Lowry Studio.  It’s a format that works well in the studio space, still intimate but with more scope on staging, and big enough to accommodate the audience.

‘Bespoke Suit’ by David Dower looked at a Jewish family in the 60s, and the consequences of the mother’s desire to see her son marry someone of status, and her son’s desire to marry outside the community.  Featuring strong characters well portrayed by the actors, the two scenes developed the family’s life up to the point where an important event would change the dynamic.  Interesting discussions ensued as to where the writer should take the story.

‘Spring Forward, Fall Back’ by Joe Osborne was a very different play, dealing with sickness, secrets and Siouxsie and the Banshees.  A woman and a man meet on the motorway; they have met before.  In a later scene the woman sits in bed with her husband; she resists the loss of an hour because she knows she needs all the time she can keep.  This latter scene in particular seemed to keep the audience absolutely still, and was a lovely piece of writing.  Joe has written about how he felt before the performance here.

It is fascinating to see where the audience think these plays should go, and it will be equally fascinating to see where the writers actually take them.  New writing is so important to the future of theatre, and ADP has an important role in bringing new writing and new writers to the stage.  For the writer, to see your script come to life with a professional director and actors is a valuable experience that fills the gap between persuading a theatre to put your play on and producing it yourself.  For the audience, it’s a chance to see a piece in development, feedback on it’s shape and direction, and see high quality acting.  In every way, a good night.

photo Mark Russell

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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