Theatre in the Rough is a festival of new playwriting by 13-18 year-olds from across the Greater Merseyside region. Originating as a one-off production of twelve 10-minute plays in 2006, the festival is now one of the largest playwriting projects for this age group in the whole of the North West of England.
Since February, the festival has been working with 30 young writers from our partner-schools in both Sefton and Halton in a weekly programme of workshops designed to develop 15-minute plays for performance. From our workshop base in Formby, our writers have had the opportunity to meet industry professionals such as playwright Michael McLean and film-maker Paul Dawson, who have provided stimulating workshops and Q&A sessions; they have studied modern, aggressive works by writers such as Caryl Churchill and Duncan MacMillan; attended contemporary theatre productions in Liverpool for inspiration; and have worked weekly with the playwright Chris Fittock and actress Keri White on developing and honing their ideas into a finished script.
The sensitivity of the writing and the breadth and depth of subjects covered belies the age of the writers: from the idea of the redemption of ambition on a Merseyrail train halted by a suicide to a comedic tour of Sefton written entirely in Shakespearean rhyming couplets, the work has proven to be diverse, surprising and challenging. For young people of whom most have never before written for the theatre, neither age nor inexperience has been used as an excuse for playing it safe: these plays aim to provoke in their language, their theme and their form.
Theatre in the Rough ’09 takes place at the Southport Arts Centre on 19 & 20 May at 7.30pm, £5/£4, Box Office: 01704 540 011, and at The Brindley, Runcorn, on 26 May at 7pm, £5/£4, Box Office: 0151 907 8360.
Much more information, including galleries and videos for all the plays, can be found at www.theatreintherough.com
The Theatre in the Rough Festival is funded by Express Sefton and Awards for All.