The Royal Court is a place of myth and legend - Unheard Voices
The Royal Court is a place of myth and legend. It is both a place where myths and legends are created on the stage as well as being a place which is legendary in its own right.
So it felt a very special experience to be welcomed into the Royal Court fold eleven weeks ago as a part of the Unheard Voices group for writers of Chinese and East Asian descent. Over the group, our wise and kindly tutors Ola and Alex have guided us through the joys and potential pitfalls that face someone trying to write a play. We’ve learnt about genre, had our scenes read out by professional actors, discussed theatre and theatricality, dialogue and character, discovered starting points and looked towards end points… And played lots of drama games.
Writing can be such a solitary endeavour that it has been a real privilege to have had the chance to meet with a group of other people going through the same processes each week. Even though we are from a range of backgrounds and with different levels of playwriting experience, an interest in theatre and writing for the stage has been shared common ground. Of course, our ethnicity is also a point of commonality and in some instances our cultures a point of contrast; there have been fascinating conversations during introductions and in water/tea/toilet breaks about who speaks Mandarin, who reads Japanese, who is British Born Chinese, and what is your Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese name… This has not only cultivated a sense of camaraderie but also made me think about the young British-Chinese persons’ experience in society today. Whoever said the Unheard Voices group would only teach you about playwriting!
Still, the play is the thing. Now that the group is finished and our old playwriting tools have been given a good polish and our newly acquired tools ready for action… We have just a few weeks to finish the plays that we are writing for the group. I have learnt that there is always more to learn. When Chris Campbell the Literary Manger of the Royal Court came to visit the group, he mentioned that sometimes you discover plays by writing them, that this sometimes means going back to re-write the beginning of a play once you’ve reached the end now you know what it is actually about. I know I am still going through that process of discovery with my play. And I expect to spend plenty of time over the next few weeks pounding the pavements of London as I ponder the play, lamenting all the time that I no longer get to walk each week through the Stage Door of this legendary theatre.
Written by Joyce Lee