“I was inspired to write a play by the Creative Writing course run by the Adult and Higher Education Division (AHED) of Peter Symonds College, Winchester. I had always written poetry but wanted to develop and expand my writing,” said Christina.
Nicky Morris has run Creative Writing classes as part of the Leisure programme and Access to Higher Education course for 16 years. “Several classes, day and evening, run throughout the year,” explained Nicky. “At Easter we launched a new venture on Autobiography and Memoir, which is a different challenge we hope people will enjoy.”
Many of the participants come back every year; Christina has been attending for six. Other classes choose to stay together and meet in members’ homes or pubs. One, the Black Boy Group is still flourishing after many years and in 2009 published a book of their writings.
A wide variety of styles and genres are explored using different stimuli such as music, poems, numbers, a word or an object. “I like to think I have never repeated a session topic,” said Nicky. “I get such a buzz and enjoyment out of the writers’ responses, the way they gain confidence and support each other.” She brings competitions to their attention and several students have been winners in previous Chesil Theatre new writing events.
The theme for 2021's Take Ten competition is The Road not Taken.
“At first I thought of a physical road,” said Christina, “but then I realized it could apply to how circumstances and choices made change the path of life.” Her play features two women who receive different examination results then covers their diverse experiences over 20 years. She has used an unusual and effective technique in which the script starts as two parallel monologues and then overlaps.
“I lost count of the number of drafts I completed with the ten-minute limit being the most difficult restraint,” said Christina. “I can still see places where it could be improved but it is the hands of the director and cast now.”
Nicky will certainly be in the audience, along with others from her classes. “We love to see work inspired by the course published or performed. It encourages us all to keep writing.”
Chesil Theatre Chairman David Small said:
“We have been delighted that TakeTen has been well received with so many participants from all across the UK. Chesil Theatre is pleased to play its small part in giving writers the challenge of creating a unique work within a prescribed format and theme, with the opportunity to see their work premiered on stage.”
All the winning plays have now been cast with 10 directors and 24 actors. Christina’s play, along with the nine other winners, will be performed later in the year.
For further information please contact:
Lisbeth Rake/Flavia Bateson
Chesil Theatre Marketing Team
About Chesil Theatre
Chesil Theatre (Winchester Dramatic Society) is based in the heart of Winchester, presenting six main productions a year, ranging from comedy to classics. Chesil Theatre also runs drama workshops and readings, plus two lively youth theatre groups as well as offering stagecraft and technical training. The Company has been performing for over 150 years. Since 1966 Chesil Theatre has been the Society’s permanent home - a former 12th century church in Chesil Street, Winchester. This medieval building provides an intimate 75-seat studio-style theatre and versatile performance space.
About the judges for TakeTen
- Kate Spencer, stage and television actor, currently playing Grace Vickers in Coronation Street.
- George Richmond-Scott, West End director and voice coach, presently teaching at ALRA and RADA Business.
- Rosanne Collinson, Head of Drama, Peter Symonds College, Winchester
- Simon Plumridge, core member of Winchester’s professional touring company Platform 4
- Cecily O’Neill, author, Artistic Director of 2Time Theatre and a previous judge for Chesil Theatre writing festivals.