New Writing Masterclass 2013

Ekta Baja, Participant

I enrolled to the workshop quite unsure of what to expect out of the week. I knew that I had a story in my mind and this workshop was to test if I had the potential to turn that story in a play. It almost seems like a universal conspiracy to get us all together in that room. Each one of the writer had an amazing experience to share and every exercise made us explore the domains within us to a much greater extend. I, personally was a bit nervous to start with the first exercise but the amount of encouragement, stimulation, ideas and sharing made the whole week just a great learning experience.
The workshops were well crafted and beautifully presented. The tutors put their heart into making every day, in fact every minute such a unique experience. I think enrolling in the course was one of the best decisions I have taken as a writer.

Fariyal Wallez, Participant

When I enrolled on this week-long exploration of playwriting, I felt a bit of a fraud. I was in the process of editing my first novel and had never attempted to write a play. Yet, from the word go, we delved into writing exercises that were somehow easy, fun, inspiring, deep and personal, all at the same time. In my reflections from the first day, I recognised how difficult I make the writing process for myself; I have some weird, ingrained notion that true creativity can only be the result of hardcore hours spent in suffering and desperation. By the end of the week, I had seen again and again, that this belief was just not true!

The sheer simplicity of the techniques that Philip and Sudha got us to engage with; the breadth and depth of how to develop an initial idea for a character; and then to let my imagination run free with the drama of a narrative…It was one of the most inspiring courses I have participated in.

The crucial insight for me from the week was the realisation that who I think I am and what I think of as my identity (cultural ethnicity, educational background, gender biases, etc) is a delusion. When I allow ‘my self’ to be free and look outward to my environment and pay attention, I am able to inhabit and create a narrative for any character; be they an actress, a victim of violence, a high society woman, or a rapist. The ‘I am’ is not of importance; the creative endeavour lies in my relationship to and with others.

Lucy Basaba, Participant

I’d consider myself new to the playwriting world, having only written a few short plays in the past. Prior to the workshop, there were potential themes and ideas I wanted to explore, however I didn’t quite know how to go about articulating them. I definitely feel that the workshop has provided me with a fresh approach when it comes to exploring ideas, allowing for me to go with the moment and to improvise with text rather than to just stick to one formula. It was great to be taught by tutors who provided a creative and encouraging environment and was lovely to be surrounded by a supportive network of like-minded people. It was also a useful platform to hear out loud what I had written, and to receive feedback, which was very valuable as it was an opportunity to hear what resonated with people. I found the verbatim exercises particularly helpful, as this was an approach I hadn’t used in the past. The scenes created using the Verbatim obtained made for compelling theatre, and a useful way to begin developing multi-dimensional characters. In a week, I felt that had learnt a lot, and would most definitely recommend it to aspiring playwrights.

Sally Woodcock, Participant

Just finished a week’s play writing course with Tamasha. Found myself scribbling away on different writing exercises every day and enjoying every minute.

Exercises included: recording verbatim dialogue, responding dramatically to verbatim, particular words as stimulus for dialogue, news events as catalyst for story, using existing classic texts as blueprints for re-telling.

The group’s diverse cultural and social positions were handled with great sensitivity and also proved stimulating to creativity. I ended the week tired but greatly enriched and having forged some interesting new friendships. I highly recommend this course to any writer looking for fresh approaches, inspiration and illuminating company.

Jade Greyul, Participant

Before I started the course I was very apprehensive as to whether I could bring any new and exciting ideas to the table, or that I even considered myself enough of a ‘writer’ to take part. I worried about being put on the spot and freezing up or that I wouldn’t produce anything I deemed ‘good enough’ to share with the group. Within minutes of meeting the tutors and my fellow participants I realised I needn’t have been so nervous! The wonderfully relaxed atmosphere meant I felt safe, with everyone’s support, to share and explore new ideas. The pressure I had feared when doing spontaneous writing exercises was purely a psychological barrier, and the fast turnover of written exercises was actually a very freeing experience! Every day I learnt a new skill or technique that I could put into practice immediately – going from being anxious to even put pen to paper, to having the confidence to let my mind and imagination flow, constantly creating and shaping characters from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds – surpassing my previously thought capabilities.

I decided to apply for the course because I felt the outlines spoke directly to me as a young multi-cultured writer, eager to refine my voice. They say you should always write about what you know; my previous work had always been very personal and relating to the same, small ethnic group, but this course taught me how to channel those thoughts and emotions and transpose them onto a multitude of different settings. It has shown me that what I know, and who I am are separate entities, and can influence my work in their own ways. The course affirms that what we observe and experience as people can inform our work, creating worlds far beyond our own whilst still remaining true to who we are as writers, and our own unique voices.

I’ve made some great new friendships and have a refreshed outlook on the next stage of my writing career. I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in theatremaking – I’m certainly very thankful for the opportunity to go through such an organic learning experience.

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