Power Plays Blasts Off

The Old Electric Power Plays festival opened the first page of a brand new book and began taking notes last week. Linda Hampton joined other writers in a trip to Lancaster and returned to Blackpool inspired.

What is the collective noun for a group of script writers? An Entrance? A Scene? A Finale? A Plot? An Applause? I put the question to Google and it didn’t have a definitive answer. But whatever the term might be a group of script writers from Blackpool kicked off the Power Plays festival, hosted by the Old Electric, by travelling to The Dukes Playhouse in Lancaster to meet other writers and to witness and feedback on new writing performed for the Blast Festival.

Power Plays unfolds at the Old Electric aims to support new writing for the stage, explore original perspectives on the region, and establish the OE as Blackpool’s home of new writing. With 48 exciting events all connected with new writing, the literary festival line-up will also include visiting artist Q&As, thrilling new live productions, a pioneering primary schools programme, peer-to-peer projects and keynote masterclass sessions.

Blast Festival at the Dukes is an annual celebration providing a snapshot of new work created by artists from or with a strong connection to the region that spans a range of art forms and presentation styles, drawing inspiration from a varied wealth of subject matter.

The Blackpool writers came away from the evening inspired and filled with enthusiasm to get back to their laptops and continue writing their entries for the competition.

Melanie Whitehead by Claire Griffiths

The first event for Power Plays, this was the creative peer exchange with the Dukes Theatre. Artistic director of the Old Electric, Melanie Whitehead, spoke of her wish that Blackpool creatives develop connections with writers and performers in other parts of Lancashire to develop a bigger network and sharing of inspirations, ideas and work. Being able to connect and raise awareness of their respective practices can contribute to the richness of new work created, by supporting and encouraging each and every writer.

Dukes Theatre CEO, Chris Lawson, welcomed the Blackpool writers and expressed his enthusiasm for the peer exchange with The Old Electric over the coming months and beyond.

After a welcome reception and an opportunity to meet and chat with the writers about ideas and inspirations, the Blackpool contingent, together with a full house audience, were invited to watch and feedback on six new pieces of work-in-progress commissioned by the Dukes. The themes ranged from a spring awakening piece for Early Years, an alternative Neverland, a dystopian purgatory, and parenting the Titanic way, with art forms including dance, comedy and satire. Audience members were invited to give written feedback on each piece.

In return the Old Electric will be inviting writers from Blast Festival to attend the culmination of Power Plays on Saturday 27th July – the winning piece being performed in the Power Plays playwriting competition at The Old Electric.

The Blackpool writers came away from the evening inspired and filled with enthusiasm to get back to their laptops and continue writing their entries for the competition. There is much anticipation for the extensive programme of upcoming workshops and events for Power Plays.

For the whole programme and to book places click here. For full details of the playwriting competition click here. Main image: Claire Griffiths.

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