It's a joy to witness the birth of new plays. Enter Stage Write, a showcase of short theatre works, brought five to the Birmingham Hippodrome. Natalie Edward Adele Yesufu created the platform for new writing in 2017; this year her competition once more brought finalist scripts to performance before a sell-out, appreciative audience and an industry panel of judges.
The event was preceded and followed by periods of 'networking', where folk mixed, shared experiences, and fostered new theatre working relationships. A red carpet photograph area was made use of by many in attendance. An atmosphere of bonhomie prevailed.
The evening's pieces, though short in duration, proved their worth. Stephen Davis brought Drop The Gun, a two-hander which see-sawed the position of power between the actors. Guardian, by Thomas Anthony Ellis, revealed with a supernatural twist the catastrophic climax of a fated couple. Louise Osbourne presented Just One Mistake, a fraught conversation in the aftermath of an unconventional death. Jonathan Skinner's dark comedy piece Indignitas placed a euthanasia-with-benefits dystopia under the spotlight. Britain for Breakfast revealed David Bottomley's very human view of the asylum-seeker assessment room. Cast with fine Midlands talent, these works rose off the page wonderfully.
Sophie Aná opened the proceedings in fine song. After the plays, Make It Happen Dance Company took the floor, with the energised, synchronised movements of a fine Swiss watch. In ticker-tape parade spectacle, both audience and panel winner awards were presented for the best writing piece at the evening's close. Writing, the bedrock of quality theatre, needs such explicit appreciation, and it's heartening to see it happen in the nation's second city.
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