This is the fourteenth 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

December's SAST Shows

Above are Trish Mullin, Kat Harrison & Adam Greene in Catriona Duggan's Secret Santa, and Trish Mullin & Mick Cullen in Karen Barclay's The Warlock of Hangman's Bridge, at Offshore.
Thanks to everyone who came along to see our shows at Offshore in Glasgow's Kelvinbridge and Camerons Bar in Ayr. Both shows sold out. Thanks to everyone involved - Derek Banner, Karen Barclay, Tom Brogan, Hazel Ann Crawford, Mick Cullen, Mairi Davidson, Catriona Duggan, Adam Greene, Kat Harrison and Trish Mullin. Thanks also to Elvira and the staff at Offshore and George and the staff at Camerons for making us feel welcome in their venues.

In the video below you can see Tom Brogan and Kat Harrison performing their play Gifts at Offshore. There's news of January's shows later in the newsletter.
Gifts written and performed by Tom Brogan and Kat Harrison.
10 Things Worth Sharing
Here are ten links we've seen that are worth sharing.

Writer Kristen Roupenian talks to the Boston Globe about the success her short story 'Cat Person' has brought her, and previews her new collection of short stories.

Tom Leonard passed away recently. This is his obituary in the Herald. His website hosts a number of his poems, journals and letters. Here's a video of him reading at the Third Eye Centre (now the CCA) in 1976.

With Oscars season approaching the studios are uploading screenplays for download. Go Into the Story is compiling all the scripts currently available to download.

Writer Doretta Lau has put together this brilliant PDF document on how to submit short stories to literary magazines. It's all based on her own experience, and while some of it is specific to North America there's a lot of valuable information in there.

Screenwriter Brian Koppleman wrote a Twitter thread on the value of reading as a writer. On New Year's Eve he wrote a thread about how he kept going when he started to think it was all over for him.

Chris Lang, writer of TV's Unforgotten, has put a number of scripts up on his website for download. What's perhaps more interesting is that he's also added a few pitches and storyline documents.

The Story Circle - a simple way of giving your script a classic structure without aching too much about inciting incidents and midpoint turns. 

All of Joseph Campbell's lectures about myths and storytelling free on Spotify! 

The New Yorker has complied their list of the 25 most read archive stories of 2018. It includes such topics as Hiroshima, the Westboro Baptist Church, teenage gangs and a violent conflict between Sherpas and climbers as well as pieces by Anthony Bourdain and Malcolm Gladwell.

If Christmas has left you with an itching desire to know more about panto then It's Behind You and The Panto Archive have rather messily gathered together a fascinating collection of pictures, posters, facts and features. 

What We've Been To See

We started December in the unloved backwater of London's West End to see the brilliant new cast of The Strange Incident of the Dog in The Nighttime, the strange incident being the dog got brutally murdered by a manipulative, psychotic male character who the script bizarrely builds sympathy for - who hasn't killed a defenceless animal when a woman stops dating them? But if you ignore the Dodgy Pov (plus the swearing - there was a lot of audience muttering about the swearing) then it's a feast of sound, movement and poignant emotion. 

Sally Wainwright was at BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay to talk about her career and we were in the audience. "I think ultimately women have to make a personal decision to put themselves out there. Keep knocking on doors. To be louder than men, and push more than men. I don't know if that's part of the issue that women seem less inclined to be seen to be pushing. You've got to be prepared to make an arse of yourself and be difficult. You have to refuse to be ignored. If you believe in your talent, if you believe you've got something important to say...just keep knocking on doors. Keep pushing scripts down people's throats. Keep standing there until they read them."

Our first panto of the season was the 'alternative' Mammy Goose at The Tron. We were a tiny bit meh about it, expecting a rambling plot, the same 6 actors, hit and miss satire, but we were wrong. It has brilliant patter, characters you care about, some fabulous little digs at showbiz and Glasgow, a huge heart, and most importantly it successfully creates a show that works on the two levels a family Christmas show needs to work on - both the tiny kids and the grown adults enjoyed it. 

There was unexpected drama at Bearsden Choir's 50th Birthday Bash at Glasgow City Halls, the soprano hit the deck towards the end of the first act of their beautiful rendition of Handel's Messiah. She recovered in time for a standing ovation at the curtain call, and what we lost in singing, we gained in gossip. 

We were enthused by Mammy Goose, so we thought we'd head off to the famous Glasgow King's panto to see Elaine C. Smith and someone from Gary Tank Commander in Aladdin. We were in the Gallery, a hellscape left over from the 1970s, that creates the perfect atmosphere for a show that starts with a song about Old Peking, moves through puns, tongue twisters, slapstick, The Floss, a send-up of Riverdance, Pink-lit Romance and Green-lit Villainy, and ends with a Beyonce impression, a big fight and a wedding. We loved it! Oh, no you didn't... oh, yes,we... (help us). 
With 'Hiya pals' still ringing in our ears we went to see Govanhill Theatre's last show at Govanhill Baths (for 2 years while they refurbish), Baba Yaga. It was a sell-out fairytale with a stylish, immersive, set. It had a slightly confusing habit of waiting until a scene was over before giving the audience the information they needed to understand the action, but its wit, drive and witchyness more than made up for it.

For the past two years The Theatre Royal has had a Big Musical That Appeals To Hen Nights on instead of something more Christmassy like a ballet. This year it was The Bodyguard, the tale of a Sexy Assassin stalking a Huge Pop Star while an Older Sexy Man tries to stop him. The plot's ok, the dialogue is dire, the actor's are good, the tunes are great when the person next to you isn't singing them, the direction works a lot harder than the show deserves and there are some lovely moments, but when the drunk woman in the Gallery yelled 'shoot me' at the Sexy Assassin, we half wished he'd get to us first.   

After the pyrotechnics of The Bodyguard it was lovely to go the quiet, charm of Waiting For Gabriel, a new play by Running Late Theatre Company at East Kilbride Arts Centre. Four angels up for a new job in heaven swap stories that examine their celestial role in our mortal lives, with jokes, songs, and the joyful-sorrowful compassion that strikes right at the heart of Christmastime. 

Our last two shows, Wendy and Peter Pan at Edinburgh's Lyceum and A Christmas Carol by The Citizen's Theatre at The Tramway (they're refurbishing too) in Glasgow, were similar in a lot of ways. They were both Real Plays With Subtext and Character Development that grafted on a few bits of panto business to pass themselves off as Something Little Kids Might Like Because Money. The little kids might have been reduced to asking their mothers what a 'radge' was but the rest of us had a lot to enjoy - glitter, moonlight, songs, jokes, pirates, ghosts. Wendy fatally wounded its magic by Spelling Out Its Theme of Grief and Aging as if the script was scared to abandon itself to whatever Freudian Horrors might be lurking at the core of Neverland, but A Christmas Carol had no such worries, it threw itself headlong into a swirl of winter, Christmas, and redemption, leaving us with the image of an old man marvelling at the miracle that's overwhelmed his crabbit soul. 

Things to Read

It's Behind You: The Story of Panto
by Peter Lathan
Hiya Pals, to continue our panto odyssey we recommend this history of the art form. It has everything from its early roots in the commedia dell'arte to its modern Qdos dominated incarnation. You can learn about the scripts, the roles, the comedy routines, the songs, the sets and the costumes. There's a wealth of pictures, an analysis of the genre's appeal and a heap of tips and advice for making your own show. 

For those who want more of a 'how to' guide to create a panto we'd also recommend The Pantomime Book by Paul Harris, that collects together all of the most sure-fire panto comedy routines for you to copy and develop.

And the slightly duller, but packed with information, Pantomime: A Practical Guide by Tina Bicat and Ruth Staines, and Creating Pantomime by Joyce Branagh and Keith Orton.  


Things Coming Up We Recommend

After the Christmas onslaught January doesn't see a huge amount of theatre activity (it takes a long time to sweep up that much glitter) - but we're looking forward to: 

Moon Fly Rehearsed Readings at the Traverse.

Scottish Opera's new work Anthropocene about something nasty in the Arctic tundra. 

Rebus: Long Shadows touring the UK, in a rare stage outing for the popular Edinburgh detective. 

And returning favourites in the form of War Horse at the SEC Armadillo and Glasgow Girls at The King's, Glasgow. 


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

The BBC Writersroom's Drama window is still open until 7th January.

The Traverse Theatre are advertising for a Literary Associate. The deadline is 21st January.

The Citizens are looking for a Digital Officer. Applications close on 21st January.

The CCA are calling for submission to the Intermedia Gallery until 28th January.

The IASH/Traverse Creative Fellowship is open for applicants until 31st January.

The Nickledeon Writing Program opens on 2nd January, closing on 31st January.

The Bush Theatre's submission window is open until 1st February.
Third-party opportunities disclaimer

Please note that third-party listings and links to third-party websites listed on this website are provided solely for your convenience and not as an endorsement by Short Attention Span Theatre. We are not responsible for the content of linked third-party sites and make no representations regarding the content or accuracy of materials on such third-party websites. Additionally, Short Attention Span Theatre does not provide or make any representation as to the quality or nature of any of the third-party opportunities or services published on this website, or any other representation, warranty or guaranty. Any such undertaking, representation, warranty or guaranty would be furnished solely by the provider of such third-party opportunity or services, under the terms agreed to by such provider.

January's SAST Shows

We're starting the year with two work-in-progress script-in-hand shows. We have two nights of plays based on songs by David Bowie at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th January. Writers include Catriona Duggan, Julie Rea, Eve Nicol, Elissa Soave, Felix O'Brien and Alex Cox Tickets are £5 (50p booking) in advance or £6 on the door and can be purchased from See Tickets. There will be a different line up on each night. There will be more information across the SAST Twitter and Facebook pages throughout the month.
Short Attention Span Theatre at the CCA

We'll be at the CCA on Sauchiehall Street for the Glasgow International Comedy Festival on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th of March 2019. We'll have four, slightly longer than short, plays from Karen Barclay, Tom Brogan, Catriona Duggan and Chris McQueer. Tickets are £10 (£1 booking) £8 concessions (80p booking) and available from See Tickets. There will be more information about the shows in February's newsletter.
We're now on Ko-fi so if you'd like to support us by donating a  few pounds we would be very grateful. We're new to it so we're working out how to use it best and what extra content we can provide there. We'll have more in future newsletters.

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.

Chris McQueer - A popular Christmas present, Chris's new short story collection HWFG is available from all good bookshops and publishers 404 Ink. Chris is performing at A Tribute to Tom Leonard at Rum Shack, Glasgow on Sunday 20th January.

Elaine Malcolmson - Elaine's Glasgow International Comedy Festival show for 2019 is now on sale

Julie McDowall - Julie's nuclear war podcast Atomic Hobo recently released episode 30. You can download it on iTunes.

Tom Brogan - Issue 10 of Nutmeg Magazine including Tom's feature on Davie Cooper's early days in football at Clydebank FC is still available in both print and digital editions.
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 edition will hit your inbox on 1st February.
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Short Attention Span Theatre · 2 Berl Avenue · Houston · Johnstone, Renfrewshire PA67JJ · United Kingdom

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