Having left the safe confines of Canberra’s tightly-knit theatre community, London posed certain challenges. Not least of which is where to make connections in the world’s theatre capital. Performing in The Inner Life of Sophie Taylor was a great start, but I was also lucky to have found very early in my time here Actors and Writers London.
AWL holds moved readings of full length plays every fortnight, and provides an environment for actors and writers to meet and share their work. They’re also a friendly and welcoming community, who made me feel very welcome right from the beginning.
At the end of each season, they hold a competition for ten minute plays, and given how much I have enjoyed being part of the Short+Sweet festivals in Australia, I of course put in a piece.
Out of quite a number of plays, Jimmy and Cook was selected to be among the eight read in the Summer competition, which was a great boost to my confidence. They organised a cast and a director, and we all showed up before the meeting on Monday and ran through it a few times. I’m not sure I was a great accent coach for Ben Owora‘s Aboriginal Australian English, but I was pretty impressed with the final result after such a quick rehearsal.
Amongst the other finalists there was one play that really stood out to me, which was Liam O’Grady‘s Tea With Aunty Suzy. Bravely stepping out from the comic mould that plagues writers of ten minute plays, O’Grady wrote a great script focused on a younger person’s visit to her aunt with dementia. The play evoked some deep emotions, possibly largely to do with my own experiences with my grandmother in her later years, and was a courageous and impressive piece in this context.
Most of all, it was great to find myself in the middle of such a great group. The atmosphere reminded me most of our Crash Test Drama nights in Canberra, and I felt just at much as home as I do there.
If you would like to read the script for Jimmy and Cook, it’s available on my Scripts page.