Playwrights go from page to stage

Are you a playwright looking for encouragement, advice and an opportunity to have your short play performed?  Then look no further as a new Brighton-based theatre production company is looking for you.

Maggi Healey, Carmen and Kerry Haselup are so passionate about writers, writing and people that they have formed StrokeyBeard Productions with the aim of encouraging, developing and showcasing new talent.

The three co-founders come to their new project with backgrounds in the theatre, law, education and personal development.  Carmen explains that they all believe in supporting emerging talents and want to encourage playwrights not only to get their work onto the stage, but to be involved in the creative process of getting it there.  Bringing writers and performers together will facilitate feedback and development.

Their initial project is a series of showcase evenings for playwrights and the planned format is an evening (or more than one) of 15 minute rehearsed readings in local theatres and pubs in front of an audience.  Carmen says: “Scripts come alive when they are performed to an audience and we want to use that energy to get people talking.  Writers, performers and audience, drinks in hand, chatting about what worked, what didn’t work and where could it go from here?”   The favourite play from each session will go through to a performance night where the audience can vote for an overall winner which will be performed in a local theatre.

As an added bonus, the winning playwright from each evening will be interviewed by What the Dickens literary magazine and have the opportunity to have their play published in the magazine.

StrokeyBeard Productions are looking for submissions of short plays of 15 minutes duration to include in the initial showcase.  It’s hoped that these initial showcase evenings will take place in a theatre bar as the StrokeyBeard team feel that this ‘open mic’ style will be relaxed and more collaborative. The eventual performances will take place in one of the local theatres above a pub.

The planned timeframe is for submissions to close on Friday July 27th, after which all scripts will be reviewed and the writers contacted.  Work with the writers will start in August and the showcase evenings will take place early in September.

Carmen points out that submissions for plays will remain open until after the Brighton Festival and Fringe Festivals close.  They all hope that the Festivals will inspire people to get their pens out and get writing and they also want to allow for those who are involved in the Festivals to recover from a hectic few weeks.

The team at StrokeyBeard are especially keen to forge links with local schools and colleges too in their quest to find emerging talents.  They are working collaboratively with schools to produce student showcase evenings and writing competitions as well as giving students acing experience in the productions.

Samantha Macefield, Head of Drama at Seaford Head Community College is enthusiastic about the project:  “Strokeybeard Productions looks to be an exciting company to reinvigorate today’s playwrights and I can’t wait to get started”.

Submission guidelines and more information can be found at or the team can be contacted by email or through twitter: @Strokeybeard. They would love to hear from anyone who would like to be involved, even if their writing doesn’t fit the current submissions parameters.

Scripts can be emailed to; they should be up to 15 minutes long and suitable for performance in a pub.


Follow @Strokeybeard on twitter

Published in The Sussex Newspaper online on May 28th 2012

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