Chesil Theatre’s new TakeTen playwriting festival builds on the previous six biennial competitions run by the theatre that have invited new writers to submit a 10-minute play based on a set theme. The theme of the new TakeTen festival is The Road Not Taken.
TakeTen was launched in May 2020 and by the closing date in July over 400 entries had been received from across the country. It was then the turn of the judging panel, all from the professional world of theatre and drama, to complete the difficult task of choosing the best ten plays to be premiered.
After many delays caused by the pandemic, 24 actors and 10 directors from Chesil Theatre are now performance-ready, with writers able to see their work for the first time whilst meeting the judges and cast.
Chesil Theatre Chairman, David Small said;
“We’ve had to wait a long time to bring this national event to our stage but it’s been worth it. We now have an exciting, varied and challenging programme of plays, across many theatrical genres. All thought-provoking, all intriguing, all entertaining.”
Jo Matthews, Chairman of the umbrella organisation LTG, which represents over 100 amateur theatres in the UK, will be in the audience. As a previous winner, Jo appreciates the difficulty of "writing within a tight time and theme envelope”.
“TakeTen is a brilliant idea. Writing a play lasting exactly ten minutes is a hard discipline but wonderfully invigorating. It concentrates the mind down to the core of plot and character, with the sparest dialogue and exposition. For the writer watching your own work performed is fun, but scary. Such is the exciting collaborative nature of making theatre!”
Two theatrical knights have also enthused about the festival. Sir Ian McKellen commented that it is “… an example of what a theatre company like the Chesil can do better than a professional one.” Whilst Sir Kenneth Branagh said: “Three cheers for Winchester’s Chesil Theatre! At a time of challenge for all, they have bravely looked to creativity and imagination.”
All performances will be subject to and compliant with Government Covid-19 restrictions which are available on this website.
About the winners:
A Desert Place by Rosemary Evans, London
A Grande Day Out by Ian Fraser, Winchester
All Our Lives by Christina Pye, Winchester
Along Any Minute by William Patterson, London
Careful by Karla Ptacek, London
Pufferfish Over the Carpathians by Neil Walden, Gloucester
The Belgians by Ross Bateson, London
Tremble by Rob Johnston, Manchester
Tunnel by Cate Sweeney, Cardiff
Waiting For a Fare by John-Paul Jones, Poole
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.