Developing Your Creative Practice

Thanks to Arts Council England, I have spent the last ten months ‘developing as a freelance Creative Practitioner’. I have learnt loads of new skills, been to some brilliant towns and cities, formed some fantastic new partnerships, made some wonderful new friends and theatre-making contacts and turned the spare room into an office in the process. Now I’m writing my end of project Activity Report, I’m realising how many amazing arts projects I’ve been lucky enough to work on since February 1st….

An Honest Gentleman (Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company), The Mystery of the Raddlesham Mumps (Murray Lachlan Young and Matthew Linley Creative Projects), Edith – in the Beginning (Stuff of Dreams, National Trust, Bury Theatre Royal, The Garage Norwich, Colchester & Ipswich Museums), Footsteps (tusk. theatre company and Women’s Voices/Women’s Votes Festival), Satellites (Natalie Songer & Colchester Arts Centre), Our White Skoda Octavia (Shamser Sinha & Eastern Angles), English Civil Whore (Play Nicely) and The Numerous and Varied Assassinations of Oliver Cromwell (Mark Finbow/Keeper’s Daughter).

In that time I have also created a website for my work, annoyed the hell out of people with my increased Social Media activity, attended a series of ITC training courses and attended four conferences/symposiums: Family Arts (Liverpool), Theatre & Touring Symposium (London), National Rural Touring Forum (Bangor) & Audience Agency – Making & Measuring Social Impact (Leeds).

My ‘development’ ends on Saturday. Or does it? Every day’s a school day in this job. I’m looking forward to continuing to work, learn and have more developmental theatre-making fun throughout 2020!

Home office

Free Creative Writing Workshop at The Garage

Free Creative Writing Workshop

Weds 30th October 2019

2.15pm – 3.45pm

Studio One, The Garage, 14 Chapel Field North, Norwich, NR2 1NY

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Join playwright Karen Forbes from Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company for a FREE fun and informal introduction to writing for the stage. Karen studied scriptwriting at the University of East Anglia. Her plays include Rebellious Sisterhood, which focused on the lives of Suffragettes Emmeline Pankhurst and Grace Roe, and Edith in the Beginning, a new play about the discovery of the Sutton Hoo treasure. 

This 1 ½ hour workshop will include an introduction to all aspects of playwriting including theatre terminology and idea brainstorming. Using Karen’s latest play (Edith – in the beginning) as a starting point, we will focus on bringing real-life, local heritage characters to life. This session will also look at the art of ‘Wellbeing Journal Writing’, a fantastic skill that allows us to explore our own feelings and emotions through expressive writing.

No experience necessary. Bring a pen and notepad! Age 16 plus.

To allow this workshop to be fully accessible to d/Deaf or hard of hearing participants, the session will be supported by Tricia Spencer, a Communication Support Worker and native signer (Tricia has a Deaf brother and daughter).

This workshop is supported by Arts Council England.

To book a place contact: or ring Karen on 07789 933558

Creative Writing Workshops

As part of the Stuff of Dreams Edith Pretty project I’m currently working on, it’s been pleasure to be able to work in partnership with Colchester + Ipswich Museums, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, The Garage in Norwich and Lighthouse Women’s Aid in Ipswich setting-up a series of Creative Writing workshops run by playwright Karen Forbes. These Arts Council-funded sessions will not only introduce participants to the basics of scriptwriting, but they will also provide an introduction to Wellbeing Journal Writing, a simple expressive writing exercise that we can all do to explore our own emotions, experiences and help maintain good mental health. The workshop at The Garage will be accessible to d/Deaf and hard of hearing participants through the generosity of the venue’s Executive Director, Adam Taylor. More info here:

The Garage, Norwich

Edith in the Beginning

Some fantastic funding news….we’ve just heard that Arts Council England will be supporting performances of this new play by Karen Forbes, produced by Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company. This site-specific production, inspired by the life of Edith Pretty, will be staged at National Trust Sutton Hoo on August 24th, 25th & 26th. The investment from ACE will help us do some great community engagement work with Colchester + Ipswich Museums, Bury Theatre Royal and The Garage in Norwich as part of the project. Book here.

English Civil War Theatre Projects

I’m working with Keeper’s Daughter Theatre Company and Play Nicely Theatre Company on the Arts Council funded Research & Development of two new plays. Volunteers in the Huntingdon area are gathering information that will be used to inspire and create new scripts which will explore different aspects of The English Civil War.

Writer Mark Finbow said: “The research collated by the community research group will feed into the creation of two new scripts which will then be taken forward into rehearsed readings at The Key Theatre in Peterborough.”

The first play will explore the assassination attempts on Oliver Cromwell focusing on Edward Sexby and members of the Miles Sindercombe Group.

The second play will explore the fascinating lives of women who dressed as men in order to fight on the frontline during the English Civil War and highlight women’s roles in society during this time of conflict.
To find out more about the projects contact Mark Finbow at

The Man Play

Great to catch-up with playwright Aisha Zia last week at the National Theatre Studio. Aisha is working with Good Chance Theatre (The Jungle) on the development of a new script exploring what it’s like to be a British Muslim Man in today’s world. Really enjoyed watching the first sharing of this work and talking to the cast about their own experiences and seeing their stories and devised movement incorporated into the rehearsed reading.

Heritage Sites

Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich

Over the past few months I’ve been working with rural touring theatre company Stuff of Dreams on their Spring Tour, An Honest Gentleman. Having seen Christchurch Mansion used as a venue for talks and theatre productions I knew it would make the perfect setting for Stuff of Dreams tale of 18th Century highwaymen (and highwaywomen!) With help from the brilliant staff at Colchester & Ipswich Museums we’ve just staged two sell-out performances of the show in the atmospheric entrance hall of this beautiful building. With the help of funding from Arts Council England we were also able to employ BSL interpreter Caroline Smith to make the second performance accessible to all our audience members. It was great to see arts and heritage combining to create a really fun, immersive and site-specific evening’s entertainment!