This is the seventh edition of the monthly newsletter from Short Attention Span Theatre. It features news about our shows, opportunities for writers and creatives that we've seen, plus plugs for other shows and anything else of interest. If you have anything appropriate you'd like us to include for future drop us a line at
Simon Devon, Scott Canevy and Derek Banner

June's SAST Shows

We had a great turn out for our shows at the Gilded Balloon Basement Theatre at the start of the month. If you came along thanks for being there. The show featured Derek Banner, Scott Canevy, Mairi Davidson, Simon Devon, Fiona McLaren, Gillian Massey and Sarah Meikle, and our directors were Matt Addicott and Max Chase. There's news about our next shows later in the newsletter.
One of the writers for our June show was Julie Rea. The photo above is from her play 'The Big Day'. Julie has had fiction published in several literary journals, including ‘New Writing Scotland’, ‘Chicago Literati’ and ‘Razur Cuts’. She won the Scottish Book Trust Next Chapter Award 2017 and was shortlisted for Moniack Mhor’s Emerging Writer Award 2018, but she had never written a play before. Julie wrote a little bit for the newsletter about how she found the experience of working with Short Attention Span Theatre.

I was hesitant when SAST initially approached me to write a short play for them but, excited by the prospect, I happily agreed. I was very much out of my comfort zone, having never written a play before and, rather naively, thought it wouldn't  take that much time to complete (my many discarded drafts proved me wrong!) I'm so glad I did though, as it was a fantastic experience. It was slightly surreal seeing actors say my words aloud, but it was wonderful seeing their progression - from rehearsal to first performance - as they became more comfortable with the script and the characters. Max, the director, added a depth and emotional impact that I think would have otherwise been lacking. I was blown away by the professionalism, dedication and time invested in my play. It was a pleasure for me to see such talented actors, and director, take my script and mould it into something so well formed and with so much depth. It's an experience I will never forget, and I am truly grateful to all involved for the opportunity.
10 Things Worth Sharing

Here are ten links we've seen that are worth sharing.

Chocolat author Joanne Harris wrote a thread on Twitter tagged Ten Things About the Book Market. "1. Every time I teach a writing course, there's always one person who claims to have "studied the market", thereby ensuring their book's success. Although some of my pupils have later been published, NONE of these market-studiers has been among them."

Comic writer Dave Cook recorded this video on dealing with the mental cost of being creative.

Katy and Karen Koren at the Gilded Balloon have started a podcast called Boss Wummin. The latest episode is an interview with comedian Jayde Adams.

There's two good writing documentaries currently on the BBC iPlayerVirago: Changing the World One Page at a Time documents Virago Press and the women who formed the imprint determined to make change. The Many Primes of Muriel Spark was originally shown on BBC 2 in January, but you can see it again on the iPlayer until 20th July.

The New York Times ran a feature at the start of June called The 25 Best American Plays Since Angels in America (1993). The article also features some extracts and some videos. There's a subsequent article on how the list was put together, which offers examples of plays that didn't make the cut. Three weeks later there was a follow up article allowing readers to site their omissions. Presumably inspired by this list, in The Guardian Michael Billington listed The 25  Best British Plays Since Jerusalem (2009).

In The Stage, Lyn Gardner makes the case for funding regional theatre. 'I understand why the government created a new fund to emulate the success and halo effect of Hull City of Culture on smaller towns and cities across the country. But you need the infrastructure in place to deliver those initiatives. I wonder whether you might achieve the same, or more, by putting the money directly into the buildings that serve those local communities'.

In The Guardian Charlie Brooker gives us his writing advice - stop thinking! 'To function efficiently as a writer, 95% of your brain has to teleport off into nowhere, taking its neuroses with it, leaving the confident, playful 5% alone to operate the controls. To put it another way: words are like cockroaches; only once the lights are off do they feel free to scuttle around on the kitchen floor. I'm sure I could think of a more terrible analogy than that given another 100,000 years'.

The BBC has collected together some of Russell T. Davies's best quotes, and if his trajectory from Chucklevision to a rebooted Doctor Who doesn't inspire you, nothing will. 'Do you know, it was possibly the hardest work of anything I’ve ever done. I had to write three episodes. When you write one, it’s great - you pack it full of all the gags you’ve ever thought of. When you write two, you’re running out of gags. After the first script I was bleeding from the eyes'.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is almost upon us and The Guardian has compiled a handy list of 50 shows to see to help you either plan your visit or keep an eye on what's current. 'Penelope Skinner is bringing two new plays to Edinburgh this summer. Meek, which explores state control, is at the Traverse in a Headlong production, while Angry Alan is a response to both the men’s rights movement and the rise of Donald Trump. The story follows Roger, whose personal and professional life is imploding when he thinks he finds a saviour in an online activist'.

American Theatre Wing has made a great video about clowns and clowning for those of us who want to explore this ancient physical form of comedy in a way that cuts past any horrifying images we 'might' have of sad clowns, killer clowns, airy French clowns or Patch Adams. 'The clown is a metaphysical being that contains within itself the whole idea of theatre'. 
Love From a Stranger

What We've Been To See

We were along to the MLitt Playwriting and Dramaturgy Annual Play Reading Event at Gilmorehill. The eleven extracts were all engaging and entertaining with Hen by Tina West and 787 Blinks by Gabriella Sloss being two particular highlights. The cast including Sally Reid, Gabriel Quigley and Lesley Hart were all terrific as well.

At the start of June we went to Pitlochry Festival Theatre to see The Rise and Fall of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright. It's the poetic, tragic, funny tale of a shy singer, her vulgar mother and the sleazy agent who could change both their lives. The scene changes dragged a little, but the performances were great and the genteel audience was delightfully appalled by all the swearing and squalor. 

We also went to see Shattered by Lisa Nicoll at The Drygate, another poetic, tragic, funny play that follows the parents of a lost child as they try to process their grief. The set was beautifully minimal and the ending was quietly powerful. 

Then we were off to see Matthew Bourne's Cinderella. Set during The Blitz, this Cinders is lucky not to lose more than her shoe. There's a brilliantly evil stepmother, a scene stealing male 'angel' in place of the Fairy Godmother, a bunch of interchangeable blokes, a comedy turn pervert, a questionable use of a real life bombing, and all the detailed camp glitz you'd expect from a New Adventures production. Emotional and magical. 

Lastly we went to Love From A Stranger adapted from an Agatha Christie short story. The actors manfully battled a script that will happily spend 20 minutes talking about cutting flowers without anyone getting a pair of secateurs stabbed in their neck, but as with all Agatha's the chit-chat and minor conflicts quitely accumulate into a grippingly real finale. 

Things to Read

The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry

Is a proper nuts and bolts, everything you could possible need to know about metre, rhyme, form and the business of writing poetry, brilliantly written, accessible book. It has history, exercises and advice on what works, and what sometimes doesn't work. It's useful whether you want to be a poet, or if you just want to inject more poetic images into your prose or dialogue; this gives you the kind of grounding that stops you from thinking that poetry is always whimsical or fancy. Even if you don't want to do anything remotely poetic, you should end up with a better understanding of structure, the way words affect readers and listeners and a strong sense that writing is a craft that you can be professional, serious and detached about. 

Things Coming Up We Recommend

Pride and Prejudice Sort Of  is an all-female update of Pride and Prejudice that focuses on the marginal girls who don't get to star in their own rom-com. It will have disco balls. 

A Play A Pie And A Pint at Oran Mor will be showing their Summer Panto Pure Freezing in July, it always sells out fast, so I'd grab a ticket while you can. Alan Muir's play The Greatest returns there on 23rd July. This was a big hit earlier this year and is also a surefire sell out.

It might be AGES away but it's exciting enough to flag up that tickets are on sale now for Local Hero a new musical based on the Bill Forsyth film at The Lyceum in Edinburgh. This adaptation will have more of the hotel love triangle and hopefully will either let the brutally murdered innocent rabbit live, or will give him a song denouncing mankind. 


The following are creative opportunities we've noticed over the last few weeks.

Little Pieces of Gold are looking for ten minutes plays for their show in September. The deadline is 10th August. All the details are on their website.

Capall Dorcha Theatre Company are currently recruiting for a Script Writer to work with young people in Ardrossan. The information is on their website. The closing date is 24th August.

Our Next SAST Show

The dates for our next shows are Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th September at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow, and Wednesday 26th September at the Gilded Balloon Basement Theatre in Edinburgh. Details of the writers, their plays and how to get tickets will appear in the next newsletter.

What Our Previous Writers Are Doing Now

Here you'll find what some of the writers of our previous shows have been doing and what they have coming up in the next month or so.

Julie McDowall - Julie is running a Twitter watch of When The Wind Blows. Press play on Monday 2nd July at 8pm and follow #WTWB to join in. Julie will then follow up with an episode of her Atomic Hobo podcast about the film.

Fraser Campbell - Fraser's new comic 'The Edge Off' launched this weekend at Glasgow Comic-Con. You can catch up with his previous comics by getting print or digital copies of issues 1 & 2 of Alex Automatic here. Fraser’s Glasgow set crime comic SLEEPING DOGS is currently free at this link

Chris McQueer - Chris's new novella 'Leathered' sold out its print run, but you can snap it up on Kindle for £4.00. Chris's debut short story collection 'Hings' is available from all good bookshops and online from publishers 404 Ink. There's also a Hings audiobook

Elaine Malcolmson - Elaine is on Breaking the News on Radio Scotland this Friday 6th July. She's doing this benefit for Maggie's Glasgow at The Stand on 25th July. You'll also find Elaine on the weekend of 26th-28th July at the Crieff Comedy Festival.
Thanks for reading. If you believe this newsletter might interest others, we'd love for you to tell your friends or share it with them. Our next newsletter will hit your inbox on 1st of August filled with a load of our Edinburgh Fringe picks.
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Short Attention Span Theatre · 2 Berl Avenue · Houston · Johnstone, Renfrewshire PA67JJ · United Kingdom

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