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Grand Words 2013, Blackpool’s one act play competition was launched on Saturday at Blackpool Grand Theatre’s studio. There was a production of last year’s winning entry, Zoe Lamond’s drama, Saturday Night at Guido’s and a rehearsed reading of one of the commended plays, Jennifer Smethurst’s Foul (or Fowl) Play. The latter, a comedy set in an imaginary local theatre agent’s office involved one of his clients being lured into “advertising,” i.e. wearing a chicken costume for a butcher’s in Layton. The cast included local writer and performer Ian Simpson as the shady agent, a role he performed well. The settings of all Grand Words entries have to be minimal and Jennifer and her cast had thought this out well using limited depth of stage and a cluttered desk to good effect. The work in general is still “in progress,” as Jennifer herself suggests and the ending still needs some manipulation to suggest the necessary finale – but she’s working on it! Having said this it is a comedy and the audience laughed – a success.

grand words
Zoe Lamond receiving the 2012 Grand Words Award from David Riley on 11th May 2013.

 
This year’s winner was a drama set in an Italian restaurant where two former lovers meet after many years. It transpired that Kate (played by Zoe herself) had been left pregnant by the male lead (played by her husband Ian Lamond) who went away and forged a career in politics, ironically rising to the post of Minister for Families. This play also evoked its atmosphere well, conjuring up the idea of a restaurant and a bar using tables and limited materials. The outcome of the pregnancy and the effect of the past on the present was well demonstrated in a twist at the end of the play. No, I’m not going to reveal it, you may be able to catch the work in production in future though it did involve the final cast member (Zoe’s real-life son) who played restaurateur Guido.

Well done to writers and participants who gave their free time to rehearse and produce the plays.
This means that the competition for this year is now open. Entries should be a play lasting no longer than forty minutes, have a maximum of four actors and require a minimal set. If you fancy having a go you have until early August to complete it. You’ll need to get hold of an entry form, available soon from The Grand, libraries and elsewhere, and post your entry to The Grand. Good luck.

If you’d like to try but would like some advice, Grand Words is managed by Stage Write, a Blackpool group for writing and performance who meet once a month (first Wednesday) at the Catholic Club on Queen Street Blackpool, 7pm. They would be more than happy to discuss a draft of your play as part of their usual readings. So, as Ian Lamond said in his introduction to the evening, get scribbling!

Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
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