Contributed photo London, England-based theatre-maker Hester Welch will lead the Silver Scripts workshop for Peninsula Productions.

White Rock play-writing workshop aimed at mature beginners

Two-day event presented by Peninsula Productions

Are you a mature would-be writer (50 or over) with a yen to try your hand at the role of playwright?

No experience is required for participants in Peninsula Productions’ upcoming weekend workshop Silver Scripts, April 28-29 at the theatre company’s Centennial Park headquarters (14600 North Bluff Rd.).

Led by visiting London, England theatre-maker Hester Welch, the two-day event will place an emphasis on a relaxed social environment, Peninsula Productions’ artistic director, Wendy Bollard, said.

It’s not about turning out the next Shakespeare, but rather about Welch’s passion for involving people in the arts – and particularly theatre – as a means of building and activating communities.

The Saturday morning session will start with a group reading of several short play texts, with discussion of the themes and techniques employed. Out of this discussion, participants will start to write their own short script in the afternoon – finishing it on Sunday, with time allowed to present a reading of the finished work for an invited audience of friends and family.

It might sound a little intimidating, but it isn’t, Bollard said, adding she is hoping to sit in on the workshop herself.

“It’s one thing in the arts I’ve never done – I’ve never written – so I’m interested in taking it,” she said.

She’d encourage people in the same boat to try a toe in the water with Silver Scripts, she said.

“This is exactly the right workshop for them. It’s not a professional-level thing; it’s for community members who want to have a go at it – someone who might wonder how people write plays, or someone who thinks ‘I’ve always wanted to write this story about my life,’ or someone who simply wants to meet other like-minded people in the community.”

Bollard said the idea of presenting the workshop came up when she was offered an opportunity to work on a play-building project, The Brides, in Siena, Italy in January with London-based international theatre artist David Glass and his ensemble.

“One of his associates is Hester, who is a young theatre-maker – she’s a lovely person and a fabulous artist who loves working with community members who are interested in learning more about the arts,” Bollard said.

“She told me about Silver Scripts and how interesting and fun it was. It sounded like something that was perfect for the folks in our community.”

Welch’s experience includes making ensemble spectacles for festivals (Bee Conscious, LeeFest, The Stretch) to applied theatre in care homes, schools and homeless charities. This year she will begin a residency at Poplar Union, London to develop a new devised performance, The Food Play.

“Her mother is Canadian and it turned out that she was planning a trip to Toronto and was also coming out to Calgary to see relatives, so I said ‘why don’t you come out and do a workshop with us?’”

Bollard said she hopes the venture will be just the beginning of a series of international exchanges sponsored by Peninsula, adding that there is a strong possibility that Glass himself will be travelling here in September to conduct a week-long workshop in devised theatre.

The workshop is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 28 and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 29.

Cost for both days is $60 for Peninsula Productions members and $80 for non-members.

For registration, or more information, visit www.peninsulaproductions.org

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