Andrew Cumner-Price

New Heritage Scratch Nights

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Daniel Bailey is a theatre director, producer and playwright working out of Paddington Arts. He is currently the mastermind behind New Heritage Scratch Nights, a new platform for emerging playwrights to showcase their work. Despite dedicating his time to numerous other projects, Daniel managed to spare a few moments to tell us about New Heritage Scratch Nights and give advice to anyone interested in art of writing plays.

Daniel describes the Scratch Nights as a friendly competition for new playwrights, letting them display their ideas to a wider audience. The various nights consist of four different plays by four different writers. The plays are underdeveloped snippets in a ten minute format, with stipulations designed to challenge the writers abilities. Each night features a judging panel that selects a winning piece, along with an audience which also provides feedback.

“I came up with the idea when a friend of mine had a ten minute play he wished to put on, so we decided to get others involved. This was his first time writing a play and we thought there must be more aspiring playwrights who don’t have many avenues to present their plays.” It seems that London’s young writing community have really responded to the opportunity to show-off their writing ability as  the average applicant age was 18-26.

New Heritage’s most recent Scratch Night took place last October, and proved to be a success. “We were pleasantly surprised with the amount of submissions we received. We got around 12 submissions, picked 5 and staged 4, although we had to take one out. Our attendance was 110 which was the full capacity, but our true success came from the response of our audience and the playwright/actors/directors who were involved. They thoroughly enjoyed and the experience gained from the night was priceless.”

“The judges based their votes on: Originality, Style, content, practicality, execution amongst some other criteria.”

It seems that Daniel would love to make the Scratch Nights a regular event, but is aware of the complications involved with doing so, understanding that it takes a lot of time and effort to produce these types of shows.

Money is a factor, but he actually claims that time is much more important. Despite this, Daniel hopes to bring it back around February or March.

“If we invite the right people maybe we could attract potential funders…”

With his Scratch Nights providing a lot of opportunities to young play wrights, I asked Daniel if he also had any advice that he would be willing to give them.

“My advice is read a lot of plays, decide what type of playwrights you like and why you like them. Don’t try to emulate them, but use them as a motivation to be better, write as much as you can in different styles and quickly decide what style suits you… Practice makes perfect!”

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