Archives For Ideas

Ideas and inspiration – maybe ….

UntitldOur lovely new site THE SCRIPT STORE – has lots of new scripts on it. Who would have thought…
We would LOVE to hear from any writers out there who write plays for schools and youth groups and would like to share them with others in return for money. It’s an old system, but it works (mostly).
New playwrights include Alison Chaplin (Arts on the Move), Phil Tong (award-winning playwright), Georgina Gibbard (Peninsula Academy for Film & Theatre Arts), and, of course, the playwrighting Offbeat brother & sister Rob Hockley (also award-winning) and Barbara Hockley (quirky).
Take a look! You know you want to…

More pics from Bugsy you don’t usually get to see! A lovely ‘waitress moment’ as Bugsy and Blousey make plans.
This from the Conquest Youth Theatre’s (Bromyard) production in 2009. Wonderful daydreaming expression – one I employ myself from time to time…

Bugsy Malone Conquest Youth Theatre

Groovy Stills from the Trailer

Barbara —  November 10, 2014 — 2 Comments

Creepy ghost hunting going on

Creepy ghost hunting going on

Just a quick post to share a few of the stills I’ve extracted from the trailer footage. With Jim’s camera work and the atmospheric lighting we created, plus ideas from everyone, I think we’ll have a creepy trailer coming up soon. Continue Reading…

Go the extra mile - whatever it takes!

Go the extra mile – make your ideas BIG and BOLD (orange is optional)

Never be complacent with your achievements. One of the many beautiful things about theatre is that we always have the next show to work on – we’re never stuck in one place. We live in a sea of constantly changing requirements, ideas and possibilities. And the next show will be so different to the last …. To each new project you take the experience and the lessons from the last. If you’re on the case you will always improve and the process of creating theatre will be a wonderful experience each time. Continue Reading…

Treading your Own Pathway

Barbara —  April 18, 2014 — 3 Comments

A Mad Tea Party by John Tenniel.  Try and find your way to at least one ..

A Mad Tea Party by John Tenniel. Try and find your way to at least one of these each week

Lately I’ve been reviewing (in my head) the nature of creativity and imagination and the ways in which our society supports and/or controls it. In our world of tick boxes, targets and constant exams to measure your worth against rigid criteria, it is no surprise that true creativity is not always encouraged and it is certainly not widely understood. To make life easier for those who shepherd us through the educational system we have to conform to a range that, I’m guessing, is deemed to be ‘normal’. I have many friends who are teachers and they are just as disillusioned with a system that does not allow too much quality interaction and creative activities are often put on the backburner while ‘improving results’ becomes the focus of their valuable time with their students. I know this is a HUGE generalisation and not everyone fits into the box (thank goodness!). There are many sides and stories to this debate, but I’ll just share a few thoughts with you if I may .. Continue Reading…

The Wheelie Set

Barbara —  March 28, 2014 — Leave a comment
The whole set - everything else is on wheels!

The whole set – everything else is on wheels!

So you have a big cast and a play with LOADS of different locations – any one of which would be a challenge to stage. I directed Terry Pratchett’s ‘Wyrd Sisters’ a few years back and had just that scenario. I’ve said it before .. I will do anything to avoid a scene change. That moment when people dressed in black come on and remove things and/or add things just kills it for me. So we have ‘the blasted heath’, a road somewhere, a theatre, Nanny Ogg’s kitchen, a dungeon with instruments of torure, the throne room, a garden/wood and many other locations that are only required for an odd minute here and there. Of course you’re not going to build up each location and remove it afterwards – it would take all night. But how can you do it quickly, convincingly and creatively? Continue Reading…

The set (and costumes/lights) for 'After Juliet'. by Sharman Macdonald. Rich colours and fabrics, moody lights. Beautiful.

The set (and costumes/lights) for ‘After Juliet’. by Sharman Macdonald. Rich colours and fabrics, moody lights. Beautiful.

This was a fantastic set to work on. After Juliet is a moody, brooding beast of a one act play set just after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. It deals with the anger, pain and frustration of Romeo and Juliet’s family and friends as they wallow in the aftermath of the tragedy. It’s dark, hot, stuffy, moody and dramatic. The set, costumes and lighting had to reflect that. It is also set within the homes of various families and friends and also, crucially, in a central meeting place – a place for romance, friendship and fighting. We wanted a multipurpose set where homes were overlooking the meeting place – the plaza. We wanted different levels, colours, hiding places, narrow alleyways. We absolutely did not want a single set change to interrupt the action (actually, I never do). Enter scaffolding towers. Continue Reading…

Everything on the set has purpose ..

Everything on the set has purpose ..

There’s a ‘dramatic principle’ that Chekhov famously illustrated about what you should and should not have on set (or in your play if you’re writing). He said something along the lines of ‘don’t put a loaded gun on stage unless you intend it to go off’ or ‘don’t mention there’s a gun hanging on the wall in Act I unless you intend it to go off in Act III’ (you’ll find many variations if you search for ‘Chekhov’s gun’). His point being that you should not raise the expectations of the audience by drawing attention to an item that actually has no purpose or relevance to the plot. Interesting. I have read about this a few times and the interpretation of his words always comes out slightly differently. So, what should you put on your set and what should you leave out? Continue Reading…

Ghosts on Stage

Barbara —  February 28, 2014 — Leave a comment
One of my favourite ghosts from 'Gorgeous Gerald and the Ghost'. You can probably tell which one is the ghost (if you can't my costume design has failed)

One of my favourite ghosts from ‘Gorgeous Gerald and the Ghost’. You can probably tell which one is the ghost (if you can’t my costume design has failed)

What is it about ghosts? Why are they so fascinating on stage? Personally, I just love the murky, shady world of the unknowable land of the dead. Putting them on stage is a challenge I relish. They crop up rather a lot in my plays as well, so that’s just as well really. Ghosts, it could be said, are neither in the land of the living nor the dead. The apparition/ghost/shade hovers between two worlds. When conditions are right we can see from one place to another – a glimpse into the land of the dead from the land of the living. It’s what All Hallow’s Eve is all about – the veil is thin .. the dead can arise and be seen. In could also be said that that’s a load of twaddle, but each to their own fantasy I say. I have no idea what ghosts are, if indeed they are anything at all. But I love to play with the idea of a ghost, the idea of a place that does not comply with the rules of our living reality. What makes ghosts and the ghostly realms they inhabit so fascinating is the fact that once upon a time these ghosts were living people. So, unlike the land of faery (another favourite) we have a strong connection to ghosts – they used to be one of us. Continue Reading…


It’s nice in here. All warm and cosy while the windy, wet stuff is going on. Pondering lots of things and writing (yes, really). Coming back out to play soon …..