The Student Guide to Playwriting | Winner’s Blog #2

The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting winners are busy at work on their winners’ play, which will be performed on Playwriting Day at London Writers Week on 5 July and published by Oberon Books.

Inspired by the theme of the competition, the winners’ play will be on the theme of what it means to be a student in the UK today – with funding changes, a decline in student numbers studying drama, the cancellation of the A level in creative writing and a debate about EBACC and whether it should include creative subjects scheduled for July 4th in parliament, it felt like an important subject.

Here’s our second winners interview, this time with Vee Tames, schools winner!

1. Can you tell us about who you are?

My name is Vee Tames and I’m a 17 year old hailing from Essex. I’m in the midst of sitting my AS Levels in English Literature, History, French and Spanish. I trained as an actor with the RADA Youth Company in the last year of my GCSEs before progressing to The Identity School of Acting the following year.

2. Why did you follow the lesson plans and enter The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting?

Writing for the stage had always been something I wanted to try for a long time. However, I lacked the knowledge to know where to begin and the particular demands of the form. The lesson plans were very concise and provided you with exercises you could use immediately to spark ideas and clarify each element of your work such as structure, dialogue and character. The competition deadline itself is what gave me that final boost of encouragement to enter!

3. What does winning The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting mean to you?

I was pleased when I found out I won the Schools Category with my first ever play; it is immensely gratifying and such a confidence boost.

4. The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting is about studying playwriting (via the lesson plans), why do you think studying’s important?

Studying gives you that freedom to dedicate time and space to honing your craft. Nothing parallels it! The maxim “Knowledge is Power’ rings true in that sense. It gives you choices and possibilities which you simply would not have the opportunity to acquire otherwise. You can make mistakes and learn from them in a safe and supportive environment.

5. What do you think being a student or emerging artist in playwriting in the UK means today?

The expanse of the Internet and social media has changed what it means to be a student or an emerging artist. There is so much knowledge and expertise out there. More and more opportunities are being advertised there. It is shame that many people don’t know where to look or haven’t had the opportunity to access the training or mentoring they need to progress and develop as a student or an artist. More resources are available but unfortunately it is much harder to get your foot in the door than it used to be.

6. What do you think students and emerging artists in playwriting need?

There is always a need for financial supports for any student and/or emerging artist in this economic climate. The current assistance available isn’t meeting demand at the moment and this needs to change if we want everyone to have an equal chance at pursuing the career they wish.

7. What are your top tips for other emerging playwrights?

Go to the theatre and expose yourself to the variety of work that’s out there. There are loads of discount tickets for students and apps like TodayTix which give out cheap tickets during the week to take advantage of to help you do this. These experiences inform your tastes as a playwright and give you the opportunity to understand the current trends in the industry.

If you want to read more plays but don’t know where to start, The Monobox are a fantastic organisation to help you. They give access to an extensive collection of plays donated entirely by industry professionals. The team are so lovely and are eager to help people just like you! Check out their website: http://www.themonobox.co.uk

8. What inspires you?

A variety things can provoke ideas however I find people the most fascinating of all. Where else can you find such differences and similarities? Humans are wonderfully complex and conflicted – it’s a satisfying trying to put that across in your work.

Many thanks and congratulations to The Student Guide to Writing: Playwriting winner Vee Tames!

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