Thursday, 11 June 2009

'10by3' Actors' Scratch Night

I've heard whispers of a 'scratch night' for actors at the Bristol Old Vic for a little while now, and a couple of weeks ago, the lovely people at my local branch of Equity sent us an email confirming it was happening.

So what is an Actors' 'scratch night'? It's not a load of actors on decks, it's a chance for actors to try things out in front of an audience and it could be ANYTHING. The night is called 10by3 because there are ten three-minute slots and three ten-minute slots available for the evening. Everyone involved has signed up prior to the night, so it's not a turn-up-and-put-your-name-on-a-list affair. Those involved have been working towards this night for a couple of weeks now. Here's how it's described on the Bristol Old Vic website:

"10by3 is... opportunity for actors, performers and audiences to be involved in making, showing, seeing and developing work for the stage.

...10x3 minutes monologues/dialogues of new work by emerging and established actors and performers along with 3 x10 minute slots from actors who have a more developed piece to show.

...a chance to experiment, dream, play and debate by telling stories and building characters in a theatre in three minutes.

...a networking, development and ‘test-bed' opportunity for actors to try out new skills, new directions and new challenges with their work.

...offers actors the opportunity to perform on the Studio stage with whatever piece of work they want to try out. It can be exploring a new speech, honing a dialogue or trying a whole new style of performance in front of an audience in an informal evening of fresh-off-the-press work. audience the unique chance to see work by actors in early stages of development and have a direct contribution by discussing the work with the performers over a drink in the bar."

Although currently aimed at actors, one of the driving forces behind the evening, Sharon Clark, playwright and co-ordinator of The Writers' Room is keen for the evenings to evolve so that writers who want to 'try out' their work can team up with actors and use the scratch nights as a playground for development. This would be in addition to the initial model for the evening.

Listening to Sharon speak at a recent Equity meeting, she is clearly enthusiastic about and driven by the new vision for the theatrical community in Bristol. This is a vision inspired by what has taken place at the Bristol Old Vic, but is not exclusive to the theatre. The message from all sides is clear: the new way the theatre wants and needs to work must be based around the central mantra of inclusion not exclusion. This can then feed into what is happening in the wider theatrical community in both the city and the South West.

Scratch nights like 10by3 are just some of the first steps along this path and the more support we give them, the more those pushing for change can achieve.

10by3 takes place on Friday 12th June at 7.30pm and tickets are just £3 for further information, click on the links below.


The Writers' Room
Sharon Clark on Twitter