Scriptworks is an actor driven writers group. We use professional actors to give readings to the scripts that are sent to us and to drive feedback sessions that include peer and audience review and input from local dramaturgs, writers, directors and other people in the creative field.
We believe that a script is primarily a means of communication. A device that a writer uses to communicate ideas to the actors, directors and creative teams that will make the script into a piece of theatre.
Our sessions are therefore dedicated to improving that communication as well as developing the writing and story elements of the script. As well as looking at the ideas that the writer is trying to express, we look at the things that make the script work.
Our sessions start with a table read of the script. This can be the most valuable part of the session. The writer gets to hear what works and what needs working on, what bits sound like they imagined them and which bits lead the actors in another direction.
Investigating the Text
After that, we move on to text based enquiry of the script. We talk openly about the characters and story based on the evidence of the script as written. This part of the session involves a little detective work on the part of the group members, as they will be asked to back up any theories they may have with the material the writer has given them.
Questions for Development
The actors, writers and group members are encouraged to ask questions of each other. The purpose of this is to open out the possibilities of the script, and to follow up on the text based enquiry.
People round the table can ask the writer questions about the play and its future development. Writers get the opportunity to request specific feedback through the questions they ask.
To close the session, the chair and dramaturg talk through a quick summary of what has happened in the session, and work with the writer to set ideas or targets for development.