A. M. Qattan Foundation concludes the second phase of the Writing for Theatre workshop
Beit Jala – (A. M. Qattan Foundation – 24 February 2019)
In collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre (London) and the British Council (Ramallah), the Culture and Arts Programme (CAP) at the A.M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) has concluded the second phase of the Writing for Theatre workshop. Held for eight days, the training took place at Beit Ibrahim Guesthouse in Beit Jala.
The workshop complements the two-phase training programme. The first phase of the training was conducted in July 2018, where participants worked on concepts for scripts to develop. They were given a period of six months between the two phases to develop their scripts under the supervision of trainer Dalia Taha. Following the second phase of the training programme, every participant will submit a new and developed script within the coming three months.
The second training phase was supervised by playwrights Emma Crowe and Dalia Taha, as well as director Lucy Morrison.
About the training workshop, Morrison said: “This phase was characterised by bringing together six passionate playwrights. Accordingly, we all thought together and attempted to explore the potential to work on writing plays in a technical manner. All the tools, which were used in this space, were put in place. This was based on morning training sessions, which involved writing and discussions, and individual work in evening sessions.”
On impact of group writing on the playwrights, Morrison explained that group work enabled the playwrights to discover questions that slipped their mind in the first phase. They understood that there was a gap between the script on paper in the first draft and what they tried to introduce and embody in their scripts.”
Commenting on the workshop, Mahmoud Abu Hashhash, CAP Director, said: “This workshop builds on the interventions the CAP implemented earlier. These aim at supporting the cultural scene in Palestine with local and contemporary techniques of writing for theatre. Interventions have gone through many phases of development. An award for writing for theatre was created in the first editions of the Young Writer of the Year Award competition. In addition to building a partnership between CAP and the Royal Flemish Theatre (Brussels), an edition of the Performing Arts Summer School (PASS) was dedicated for writing for theatre. CAP has also participated in organising this training workshop. We follow up on the significant outcomes of all these interventions.”
Ghassan Naddaf, a participant from Ramallah, said: “In this workshop, participants’ role was as important as the trainers’. Trainers are your small audience, whose readings and questions provide added value to the script. This was particularly prominent in the second workshop. Writing is a long process of creation. In this workshop, we have learned that writing probably requires more effort, resilience, and audacity so that the scripts are more lively.”
Stage performer and film actor Saleh Bakri, from the Upper Galilee, stated: “The second workshop builds on what we wrote in the first phase. It has been informed by the trainers’ talent and experience in the theatre and drama. They have first-hand experience with the theatre, both locally and internationally. In addition to participants’ questions and comments, the group encounter was inspiring and encouraging. Everyone thought with you seriously to get you to a better place in writing. Though discussions, our attention was drawn to different perspectives about the scripts. These enriched and inspire us. To learn, you need to listen.”
“We are still at the writing stage. This is a long, but not simple, complex process, particularly when it comes to dialogue writing. Although eight days of training were not long enough, I can say that we have grasped adequate information and techniques of writing for theatre. We can, therefore, start the second draft.” Bakri added.
Su’ad Shawahneh, a short story writer and literary critic from Jenin, said: “My interest in the script has encouraged me to participate in the workshop. I did not have any idea about the structure of the play script, so I was curious to learn about this field. Thanks to its impact on the mode of expression, the training managed to contribute to developing my own ego.”
“The play is different from the story. On stage, there is an audience who watches. Attention should be paid to the audience and to the message you are trying to say. Interaction with the script takes place immediately on the stage.” Shawahneh went on.
The Writing for Theatre workshop was organised in collaboration between the AMQF, the British Council, and the Royal Court Theatre. It aimed at providing participants with needed knowledge and tools for contemporary writing for the stage by working in group and individual sessions, handling criticism, and using personification. The training programme was designed to fit with the needs of every playwright and help to explore their individual interests.