Jane Fallowfield, director of DRIP, a Script Club production in partnership with Boundless Theatre, talks about the evolution of Script Club, and the ideas which fueled its development.
In 2013, Tom Wells and I came up with an idea that we called Script Club. I think it started with us recognizing the indisputable power of two things: 1) the power of the place where a writer grew up for that writer’s work (the landscape, the skyline, the river, the weather, the city) and 2) the power of introducing young people to their local playwright (“s/he lives just over there and s/he writers plays for a living”). So our mission was twofold: to tell a story that expressed a place and to demystify new writing and make it relevant for local young people. We made a play called ‘Cosmic’ about three characters, each obsessed with the night sky (if you know Hull you will know it has a big and beautiful sky) and we toured it to youth and community centres and the odd theatre space in Hull and the East Riding, running writing workshops alongside performances. We learnt a lot. We stood in the rain on the Bransholme Estate handing out flyers. We found ourselves with an audience of children way too young for the show and had to make up an impromtu storytelling workshop for them. The audience in Skefling Town Hall baked us cakes.
The next Script Club took place in Medway with a wonderful playwright and core writer on EastEnders Natalie Mitchell. We started the workshops earlier, got to know community groups during our research & development phase and enlisted their help in making the show , Germ Free Adolescent, an OCD rom com about a girl who obsessively collects leaflets on sexual health.
It’s 2017 and we’re back in Hull. We’ve been working with some fantastic groups including the Warren Project’s Shout Group made up of LGBTQ+ teenagers and St Stephens’ Neighbourhood Centre. We’ve got a story about a queer synchronized swimming troupe. We’re working with Hull UK City of Culture’s fantastic Back to Ours programme, which takes new shows into unexpected places in the heart of local communities across Hull. And we’re thinking harder about place. What does it mean to pop up and do a play? Once we’ve broken the dividing line between actor and spectators – what then? How will they find a place in our performance? Can we leave a memory for the audience that will always be imprinted on that space where we perform, that will haunt them every time they walk past? What’s the cheekiest way we can disrupt a space in a school that will make the students smile? And (saving the best bit til last!) it’s a musical! I’m hopeful that our co-creator, musician Matthew Robins, will break your heart and write a bit where you an sing along.
Finally, why is it important to make work for/with young people? It’s everything! They show us what the future will look like. They’re our guides and our hope.