Thursday, 22 September 2016

Ticking Away

"Monday 26th September brings us A sixty-five minute stage play by Armelle Lajus, who explains: 

"The play is about Aiden, a misguided youth, who is taken under the wing of William, the owner of an antiques shop he robbed with his friends.
William has his own demons to fight with the help of his neighbour Christelle, a frustrated baker's wife. But life gets more complicated
for William as he struggles with his feelings towards Christelle and towards Aiden who reminds him of his own son".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Audition Pieces

Monday 19th is an unusual one for us. Ten monologues, submitted by our writers, are acted out and then critiqued by auditions expert and actors' management guru, Brian Parsonage Kelly.

Sounds intriguing? Come along on Monday at 7.30 to the North London Tavern to find out more.

Thursday, 8 September 2016


Monday 12th September brings us my first play for Player-Playwrights since Country Life, five years ago. That play got a week's run at Rada, followed by three weeks at the Old Red Lion. Will the same happen to Avalon? Come along to the North London Tavern at 7.30 to find out.

So what's it all about? It's about Greg Yelland, a successful doctor at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. It starts at a dinner party. In attendance are his youngest son Arthur, Greg's second wife Judy, and Arthur's new girlfriend Morgan. Morgan has radical views.

Like I said. 7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Orion the Hunter

That went quickly didn't it? Yes, summer is done, and here we are again with the leaves changing colour and the nights drawing in, and Player-Playwrights back with an exciting programme of plays, radio scripts and talks.

First up, on September 5th, is Orion the Hunter, by Sarah Thomas:

"Karen, a woman suffering from violence in her current marriage, and three of her colleagues gather in the North of England for a corporate survival themed teambuilding race against teams from other companies. As their disgruntled guide, ex-soldier Mike, who is escaping his own violent past, tries to get them through the tasks necessary to complete the course, petty squabbles, dark ambitions and intense encounters surface to push the entire group into places they are unable to escape from".

Sarah is a London based writer who has recently left the private sector to pursue writing. Orion the Hunter is her second full length play. She is currently looking for a producer for her first play, Sublime. She has had a short piece produced by the Theatre 503 and has recently self-produced a rehearsed reading of a full length play about female resistance heroes, titled High Seas.

Be at the North London Tavern, at 7.30.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

A Brush with the Law

Monday July 11th is the final day of the summer term and its the usual competition. This week the theme is A Brush with the Law. Seven entries, and the usual rules apply.

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Back on September 5th!

Thursday, 30 June 2016


Monday July 4th brings us a ninety minute stage play by Martin Macnamara.

"England in 2008, at the height of the Afghanistan conflict with heavy losses for British troops. Captain Agnes Bennett is an army notification officer. It's her job to inform the family back home when a soldier dies in the field. For Agnes, this difficult role is a vocation and one that needs to be carried out dispassionately and with military planning. A raw young Private, Iain Maginnis, joins Agnes as she calls on the parents of his platoon mate, killed in an IED attack".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Rita Kalenjais

Rita Kalenjais is an Australian writer based in London and she is coming to talk to us on Monday and answer questions.

Her work has been performed extensively in Australia and she was a resident playwright at Sydney Theatre Company in 2011/2012.
Rita is developing new work at the National Theatre Studio and has just been selected as one of the writers for this year’s Soho 6 attachment.

So come and hear her at the North London Tavern at 7.30 on Monday 27 June 2016.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Paradise Now

Monday June 20th brings us a ninety minue drama by Dan Horrigan.

"Paradise Now" Ii the story of four friends trying to carve out a place in the world through faith and friendship. When the darkness of the past comes crashing into their lives they find themselves sorely tested. Will He hear their prayers or do they have to do it for themselves and each other? A gritty urban thriller with one foot in the furnace and its face towards the heavens".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Unapology of Leni Riefenstahl

Monday June 13 brings us a forty-five minute stageplay The Unapology of Leni Riefenstahl by Zoe Mavroudi.

"Alone in her room on the last hours of her life, Leni Riefenstahl, the 101-year-old director of Hitler-sponsored documentaries, makes a desperate final attempt to convince the audience that her legacy transcends the atrocities of the regime her films glorified; but the unwelcome intrusion of memory won't let her mind rest. The Unapology of Leni Riefenstahl is a fictional apologia by the notorious film director, who died in 2003".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Next Stop Paradise

After the brief break P-P is back on Monday June 5th with a fifty minute stageplay by Julia Pascal.

"Set in London 2016, 1656, and modern Israel, Julia's play explores key moments of English history reframing them from traditional narratives and revisioned from an English Jewish woman's point of view".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Thursday, 19 May 2016


Monday May 23rd brings us a ninety minute stageplay called Eromenos by Nick Cheesman. It's had a rehearsed reading before, so it's probably even better than it was a year ago. I have since read it, and liked it a lot. Three interesting, vulnerable characters, neatly plotted, and good, pithy dialogue. Here's the gen:

"Fast approaching her 30th birthday Sheri decides to turn her life around down at the gym. Eromenos ignites the obsession modern society has about people and body size". 

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Thursday, 12 May 2016


Monday May 16th brings us the above titled stageplay by David Crook. What do the *s mean? Well you can make up your own minds. This is a family blog.

"What is the psychology behind recurring cycles of boom and bust in financial markets? What sucks people in and what are the human costs? A former charity worker with ideals becomes an aggressive hedge fund manager. The drama charts damage and disruption to those around him. Painful choices are made on a roller coaster ride through the market meltdown from 2000 up to the 2016 bubble driven by property prices. A lucid and comprehensible insight into the high stakes world of hedge fund speculators from the pen of an industry insider - and a highly successful one at that".

7.30 at the North London Tavern. 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Dreamboats and Petticoats - The TV series

Having welcomed so many new faces to Player Playwrights this year we felt let's throw a bit of a party for all members, actors, writers, audience and guests to meet and mingle after a reading of a new TV script by PP presidents Marks and Gran. BAFTA winning, "Living Legends" bring us the first episode of their newly penned TV adaptation of their hit show "Dreamboats and Petticoats". Songs and all! It'll be a great night. Come one come all.

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

May 2nd

No reading this week as it is a bank holiday. Enjoy the sunshine/rain.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The Last Man Club

Monday April 25th brings us a full length stage play by P-P newbie Ross Frowen. In The Last Man Club we are introduced to the dead; to those who died in the Great War and to those who passed away at home over the several decades between 1916 and 1983.
7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Don't Look Down

April 18th brings us a new play by a new writer to P-P, Giles Fernando. Giles may be new to us, but he isn't new to the stage, and has had short plays  been staged at the Cockpit, Tristan Bates, and the Canal CafĂ© Theatre. Don’t Look Down is a one-man comedy drama, taking a painfully funny look at the angst of hitting 40. 

"Max ends his relationship and quits his job. He lurches from toning up at the gym to embracing Vegas, but when the money runs out a future back home with Mum looms".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Kelly Kan Do

April 11th brings us a sitcom by the men who wrote Sorry! Peter Vincent and Ian Davidson.

Kelly (35) has seen her husband stolen away by the appalling Polly. She is left with just a flat and a cat. Determined to bounce back she will do anything legal to survive. But Polly has other ideas - and what side will Bongo the cat come down on?

The evening will give plenty of time for discussing what works in comedy formats for TV by these two veteran comedy writers.

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

How to Write a Play

The new term begins on Monday April 4th with a talk by Greg Mosse.

Greg Mosse calls himself “a writer and an encourager of writers” and teaches creative writing courses together with his wife, Kate Mosse. He has written for the theatre and worked for several publishers as a freelance assessor, editor and translator.  Recommended by a P-P member thus: "Outstanding!  Exactly as advertised and brought to life by Greg. Content and delivery were absolutely superb. Best creative writing course/teaching I have experienced"!

We are honoured to have Greg share his wisdom with us.

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Living in Dystopia

Monday March 21st is the last day of the term, and so we come to our customary competition. This time the theme is Living in Dystopia. Usual rules apply.

7.30 at the North London Tavern


Peter Thompson writes:

The competition theme of Dystopia attracted seven well-turned entries, each coming at it from a different angle. Michael Barry’s HISTORY OF THE WILD VOGELS over-ran but we enjoyed every minute of Hitler’s Last Stand [a terrifying performance by Phil Mison] in a farmhouse in Galway where the kindly landowner, Stephen Cavanagh, forms the last remnants of the Reich into a singing group, The Wild Vogels: they earn their keep by singing in Bars and Family Hotels and gorge on the delicious pastries provided by beautiful Eva Braun aka Natasha Staples.

Natasha switched to a wonderful West Coast accident in a dialogue with a pump attendant in Oregon [where such ready listeners are to be found apparently].  The title RITZMED did not give much away and only a late reference to the Wall of Mexico hinted at a dystopic future, but Sian Williams kept us chuckling and scored 157 points.

Peter Thompson’s TEMPLE OF LOVE contemplated the conversion of an ancient parish church into a spiritually led brothel [“evening services at St Salome’s”] where sinners could resort for love and forgiveness or, if preferred, mortification of the flesh in Miss Hardbroom’s specially equipped crypt: fifth place with 177 points.

Michael Barry’s IT MIGHT BE DYSTOPIA came fourth with 183 points. It was about a commune set up by Pete Picton and Denise O’Leary which turned out to have much more discipline than the world outside and proved a turn-off for drop-outs like feisty newcomer, Megan Gilmartin.

There was a tie for second place with 190 points:  Lynne O’Sullivan turned in A BREAK IN UTOPIA, a very neat story of how a cheating husband, Phil Philmar, turns up at the Utopia hotel in Italy expecting to meet up with his latest girlfriend but has a surprise visit from his wife.  What went wrong? The silly fellow ignored the concertina player’s advice to toss a coin into the wishing well and UTOPIA became DYSTOPIA, geddit.  Marriage under stress featured in Elaine Clayton’s A ROOM WITH NO VIEW in which a priapic Clive Greenwood, in great Carry On form, had the tables turned on him by his vengeful wife who set him up for permanent confinement in a subterranean hospital room.

Way out in front was Peter Skyte’s disturbing glimpse of 2084 (211 points) in which Richard Evans gave a heart-rending performance as a 136 year old who turns up on a hospital appointment to see a consultant about his prostate and finds that “the system” not only fails to acknowledge his appointment but won’t even let him use the toilet.  Help, please get me back quickly to the present day!

Thanks to all participants and particularly to Christa Engelbrecht who set it all up to run like clockwork and to Chukwudi Onwere who delivered a very entertaining evening to a full house and presented certificates to the winners.  Well done, all.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Away Like Snow

Monday 14th March brings us a stageplay written by Peter Vincent and Mary Conway. Given that both have won P-P awards as individuals, their collaboration should be doubly as good.

As Peter explains:

"Time present and time
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past...'

T.S.Eliot said that, still does, always will. Why not?

'Away Like Snow' is set in a family home that lies between Romney Marsh and the endless sound of the sea. The time is 1940. It is also 1999. The times are indivisible. Each flows, merges and conjoins with the other. Our ancestors live on within us. just as we live on in the next generation. Not only their genes but their times are moving within us.
Beware! The sweet song of temptation is heard by all of at all times. The lady still sits in her chamber late, the gypsies still sing at her castle gate,
And her heart still melts. Still melts - away like snow.

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

When, Why, and How To Be Published

Monday March 7th brings us our third guest speaker of the term, in the shape of James Hogan, who founded Oberon Press in 1986, and still runs the company.

Oberon publishes about 80-100 new plays per year by established and new playwrights. James's own first plays were read by Player-Playwrights in 1962, when it used the British Drama League studio theatre in Fitzroy Street.

James's first professionally produced play was at the fledgling Gate Theatre, Notting Hill; in fact, the first original play produced there (1978). He has recently returned to playwriting with productions at the Print Room and the Jermyn Street Theatre. His next play, Dizzy Fingers, opens at JST in May. He will also talk about his beginnings with Player- Playwrights and its open door policy at The Green Man in 1962. His own writing, and publishing, grew out of that experience, because, he says, P-P took beginners seriously.

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Monday 9th February brings us our third talk of the term, with veteran comedy writers and collaborators PETER VINCENT and IAN DAVIDSON sharing their tricks of the trade.  Peter Vincent, is of course,  one of our longstanding members, and has a TV track record that goes back many years as a writer and editor.  He wrote or co-wrote 69 episodes of comedy for the BBC including seven series of Sorry with Ian Davidson, and episodes of All at No. 20 and the Brittas Empire.  He wrote for twelve series of The Two Ronnies and also edited some of the scripts.  He was Dave Allen’s script editor for around twenty years, and also edited the Russ Abbot show with Barry Cryer.  He has worked with Frankie Howerd, Tommy Cooper, Bob Monkhouse, Bruce Forsyth, Harry Secombe, David Frost, Cliff Richard, Les Dawson, Michael Parkinson and many others.  He has also written plays with David Nobbs, John Chapman and Barry Cryer.

Aside from their collaborations, Ian Davidson has performed and written with Michael Palin and Terry Jones at Oxford University - his first BBC writing credit was for That Was The Week That Was in 1963 - he became an actor at The Second City in Chicago. Returning to the UK, he worked for Ned Sherrin (as a film director) and David Frost, and then began a lifelong association with Barry Humphries as a writer and director. He appears, briefly, in many of the Monty Python's Flying Circus episodes - notably as a Dead Indian On a Pile of Dung, and as a news reporter who interrupts a sketch to say that it's his first time appearing on television.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Work In Progress

Monday 22nd February brings us a P-P first. Let Mary Conway explain:

"This is an event for everyone. Whether you are a writer, actor, theatre professional or happy onlooker, you are invited to come along and have fun in this, our first ever, ‘Work In Progress’ session.

The purpose of the evening is to explore the art of playwriting through collaboration with other writers and actors. We would like as many members as possible to join us and give us your views on how we might use similar sessions in the future. We will be sharing with you a few extracts from scripts produced by the PP collaborative group. We will then work in small and larger groups to develop ideas, scripts, characters, scenarios which can be turned into plays or used to stimulate individual creativity. Actors will be most valuable, both to read scripts but also to suggest ideas and possibly to improvise.

We very much look forward to seeing you there and kicking up our heels together".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Thursday, 11 February 2016


Monday 15 February brings us a 65 minute stageplay entitled Fakebook, by P-P debutant, Glenda Cooper. She may be new to us, but Glenda is a seasoned writer and journalist currently completing a PhD on the influence of social media.  She was part of the Theatre 503 community playwrights scheme in 2015;  recent work infludes TODAY (Royal Court Theatre ‘Grit’ scratch night), KING ATHELSTAN AND CHUMS (co-writer, Rose Theatre Studio, Kingston) and OH YES, SHE DID (RWR, Theatre 5030.  She won the 2014 Poetic Republic and Writers’ Bureau short story prizes.  She tweets at @glendacooper and keeps her Facebook settings on maximum privacy.

 "How much do we rely on social media to form our memories, or define our identities?  Amy Lang thinks she is going mad and her husband Dan sorrowfully agrees; her memory is failing, and if she turns to her email, Facebook and Twitter pages, the information does not add up.  Then a stranger turns up at Amy’s door with a quite different set of memories".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Andrew Loudon

February 8th brings us a guest speaker, actor, writer and director, Andrew Loudon. He's got more credits than I've had hot dinners, and no fewer than three of his productions have transferred to the West End. As Tony Diggle explains:

Andrew Loudon made his directorial debut in 1999, an adaptation by Emma Reeves of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women at the Pleasance, Edinburgh. The success of the show led to a further production at Sadler’s Wells in 2002 and its eventual arrival at the Duchess Theatre in 2004.
He has since directed other shows in the West End, most recently Cool Hand Luke at the Apollo Theatre in 2011 with Marc Warren in the lead. He has also had a long career as an actor appearing on stage and television. 
His regional theatre credits include Charles Ryder in the stage premiere production of Brideshead Revisited, and he has just appeared for a year as the father in the Railway Children at the Kings’ Cross Theatre. His television credits include Peak Practice, Absolutely Fabulous, Doctors and The Bill. He also writes, and has found time to appear in two of his own plays including Dangerous Play at the Arts Theatre. So there will be plenty to talk about during Q & A which might be sub-titled “How to survive in the theatre”!

Find out how he does it, at 7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Foul Deeds

Nothing beats a good old family reunion play ( and if you haven't written at least one, you aren't really trying ), and Monday February 1st brings us a new one by David Conway.

"It’s the day of the funeral of Richard O’Hara’s father.  There is a wake, toasting and dancing but there are also hints of dark secrets from the past. This is a drama about the dysfunctional side of Irish family life, with all its prejudices and inhibitions".

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Monday 18th January brings us a talk by acclaimed acting teacher John Hartoch, who leads an evening exploring how actors interpret the clues in the writer's words. Somewhere between a talk and a workshop (A Talkshop?) the evening will play with the extremes to which creative brains can go when concentrating on possible subtexts, and how easy it is to make inaccurate assumptions about characters we find on the page. Writers will be invited to contribute an instant rewrite of the exposition of a famous text so by all means bring along writing materials. Open to all, but newcomers will be asked for an annual membership fee of £12.

John Hartoch was until 2015 Head of Acting Courses at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where he began training actors in 1979. He has a successful record as a theatre director and has written a number of stage adaptations, notably Kipling's Jungle Book, (Samuel French) which he directed at the Adelphi more years ago than he cares to remember.

7.30 at the North London Tavern.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Competition Play-Off

Monday January 18th is the second Monday of the new year, which means it's time for another P-P tradition, the competition play-off. There are three competitions a year, and the top two from each go through.And just because you came second, doesn't mean you can't win. I recall the one year I won a competition, I came last in the play-off. And the one that won had come second. So it isn't just down the writing, the cast and the audience all play their part.

Anyway, it's a good night. In between the counting there will be the added bonus of some words of wisdom from Napoleon Ryan and Sherryll Turnera who both went to Hollywood a few years' back to seek fame and fortune. You'll recognise them from both the photo above and the tan.

Be there at 7.30.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

No More Secrets

We kick off the new year on January 11 at 7.30 pm with a strong and highly political 45-minute radio drama from the ever reliable Phil Mison.

Kieran is a heart on sleeve socialist but finding no role for his traditional journalism in the modern era. He remains boyishly enthusiastic but now frustrated as government in the UK has swung dramatically to the right following nuclear conflict in the Middle East and a hardening of attitudes across Europe in defending their traditional values. Kieran's socialism is quite out of step with the 'New Order' as he and his family come under suspicion - seen as enemies of the people. They look to pre-empt things by seeking exit visas from the UK to survive outside the system.

Much of the play deals with an interview before a formidable figure in 'National Security' who also happens to be an old friend from Kieran's past.