Tag Archives: Aberystwyth Arts Centre

We are having a party with Cassandra and you are all invited

Image by Keith Morris

Image by Keith Morris

Response Time will be returning this weekend with it’s unique form of performed response to art, space and environment with a response to Cassandra’s Rant by Shani Rhys James at Ceredigion Musuem.

So what exactly is unique about it and what is a performed response you might ask. Two very good questions!

Response Time is a collective of artists and performance makers from varying disciplines of performance including dance, performance art, playwrights, physical theatre, poetry. They are given 48 hours to respond to an exhibition – responding to the art, space and environment.

The project started at the Gas Gallery in Aberystwyth where responses included Transitions, Beneath The Surface, Open Space and Adleisio which have included exhibitions by Annie Suganami, Catrin Webster and artists from Aberystwyth Printmakers. At Aberystwyth Arts Centre we responded to Tim Shaw’s Black Smoke Rising and we responded to Artes Mundi 6 at both National Museum Wales and the Ffoto Gallery in Penarth.
exhibition shaniThe participants spend 48 hours in the gallery and are asked to create a short piece of work which we then collectively curate into about an hour of performance. The audience are invited along at the end and follow us through a promenade performance of the pieces. The 48 hours demands an immediate response – there is no time to think too much about it. Participants have to formulate their initial responses, their gut reactions to the work because there is simply not enough time to do anything else.

There are no restrictions on the work that participants create – we simply ask that it is a response to the art. It allows the participants a freedom to explore their own work and practice through the stimulus of art, space and environment. Effectively they can leave whatever project they are working on, and ideas about how they normally work at the door and enter a space for 48 hours in which they can play. Very importantly it offers the chance to gain valuable and rare performance experience. Everyone knows it is a piece of work created in 48 hours and so it will not be polished, it will probably not be complete, and so the participants can also simply enjoy sharing the work with an audience.

Also importantly we respect the work and the artist – we have spent 48 hours with the work, we have lived with it for two days, we have probably seen things that a quick visit to a gallery will not offer, we have looked at it from different angles, we have challenged our own thoughts on it, and interrogated our thoughts on it, it has haunted our dreams and kept us from sleeping. We will through the 48 hours fall in love with, fall out of love with it and then fallen back in love with it – and occasionally sworn revenge on it.

We have declared on several points through the 48 hours that we are simply not worthy of the art, we have become intimidated by the hours, days and weeks the artist has taken on each piece and been overwhelmed by the thought of how we can possibly express something worthy of what the artist has put into the work.

Also though we have had fun, been part of a great and growing collective, we have had a space to play, a space to talk, a space to chat about what is bothering us about our work and the world. We have shared 48 hours of magical moments and we’ve opened up our hearts to the art and the artist and we’ve been brave enough to share our thoughts and ideas to an audience.

Shani Rhys JamesTomorrow we will begin that journey with Cassandra’s Rant an exhibition of Shani Rhys James automata at Ceredigion Musuem – we will be sharing the work as part of the official opening of the exhibition on Saturday 14th February at 12PM. Come along, see the exhibition and see what we have created. We will probably look tired but we will be really pleased to share what we have created with you.

If you would like to take a look at what we get up to through the 48 hours then do call into the museum during the next two days – or follow us on www.facebook.com/scriptographyproductons or @scriptography

If you would like more information on the project then contact us at scriptographyproductions@gmail.com


Crash Test scratch night

Scriptography Productions is very pleased to be hosting the latest Crash Test scratch night at Aberystwyth Boat Club Bar on Thursday 25th September 7.45PM

Crash Test scratch night offers a perfectly informal and fun environment which encourages writers new to writing for performance and more experienced writers to share work in its earliest stages of development. As well as providing an opportunity for Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Writing for Performance Group to stage work at this bi-monthly event, Crash Test has also begun to attract writers from other areas such as comedy,  performance poetry and spoken word.

There is an Open part of the evening which is open to anyone to share their writing or performance.

The evening will be MC’d by James Baker with his usual incomparable and indescribable mix of comedy, writing, performance and occasionally dance!

If you are interested in taking part in this or future scratch nights contact scriptographyproductions@gmail.com or pop along and say hello.


March – it’s a little busy!

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????March is going to be a very busy month at Scriptography Productions. First we kick off with Grave Men Near Death at Aberystwyth Arts Centre (Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th March), then straight into Response Time: Journeys at the Gas Gallery (Sunday 16th March) and then we see the month out with a Crash Test scratch night on 27th March.

Grave Men Near Death is a new play by Terry Bailey, who runs the MA Screenwriting course at Aberystwyth University. The play was developed as part of Playpen, an Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s  Writing for Performance Group project, short plays on any subject. Grave Men Near Death was a perfect short play and when Terry admitted he had ideas for other scenes and characters I have to admit I was sceptical. Plays are the length they need to be because – that’s it. When writers ask me about play length I always say it will be the length it needs to be. Let’s face it we’ve all sat through plays that needed a good edit or plays that felt empty as though there were some missing scenes drifting around somewhere in the ether.

I read the new version of Grave Men Near Death  sceptical and expecting to see a fifteen minute play dragged out. But it wasn’t, interestingly the original play was there largely intact but around it were wonderful new scenes and characters which added more depth and layers, it had the heart it started with but it had got bigger and better.

As I watched a rehearsal the other day, and did what I always do – watch the writer watching their play – I was as always thrilled to see his delight in watching his work come to life. In a time when we’re constantly being told that new writing is dead, that new writing isn’t worth supporting or prioritising and in a time when there are so few companies in Wales producing work with a new piece of writing at it’s heart – I can’t help but wonder why companies wouldn’t want such an amazing experience of bringing new work by a writer to life, I can assure everyone bringing a new play into the world is magical.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Next up will be Response Time, our 48 hour challenge project to produce performed responses to art, space and environment at the Gas Gallery. This time we will be responding to the Sculpture Cymru Journeys: Responses to Place and Barbara Matthews exhibition Hidden Depths. The Response Time project gives a space for writers, artists and performance makers from many different disciplines to play. No better way to describe it really. We spend 48 hours playing – with ideas, working processes, collaborating and then we open the doors and let the audience join in the game. The audience can stand back and watch or they can even join in sometimes. We don’t insist that words are involved – that would be silly! But I do delight when words are included and also when a performance artist is inspired to express herself with words or when a physical performer decides to write a piece or when a writer decides to collaborate with a physical performer and explore a new working process. I’ve always been a little confused by the need to define new writing and new work – and seriously why has so many hours been lost to debating. Also I don’t understand why so many organisations insist on establishing rules for work to be developed – this way, or that way. Or the hours spent defining and analysing what is right or wrong in creative work. Surely every piece is different, surely every piece should be developed the way it needs to be.  At Response Time there are no rules – it is a space to play, to have fun, to enjoy.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Then finally for this month anyway – Crash Test – a scratch night for work in development – Thursday 27th March. A very informal environment perfectly suited to the living-room like feeling at the Aberystwyth Boat Club Bar. Again there are no rules – if it involves words then I’m happy for it to be shared. This about testing work out with an audience, about writers hearing their words beyond reading them aloud to themselves (I am still constantly astonished by the number of writers who don’t do that). Crash Test is a good name for it – it is about throwing things out there and seeing what crashes and what delights. It’s used as a testing ground for the Writing for Performance Group but also by other writers to test out work sometimes performed by themselves, sometimes performed by others. We provide performers if needed. It is a chance for writers to get used to sharing their work – something that can hinder and hold back so many writers from getting their work out there. It is open to all, again I am not interested in defining things – spoken work, poetry, plays, storytelling, stand-up – if it has words in it we can Crash Test it.

So that’s my March – please do come along and see what we get up to. None of these things are possible without audiences. None of us are writing for ourselves, we are all writing because we want an audience to hear our work, and be engaged by it and be excited by it – no matter how it is created, no matter what style it is created in, no matter what discipline or platform so please do come along and see work in it’s many different forms and most importantly have fun following us on our journey as writers and creators.

Sandra Bendelow

New play from university lecturer Terry Bailey

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Audiences in Aberystwyth are being invited to share the very first presentation of a brand new play written by Aberystwyth University lecturer Terry Bailey.

Terry Bailey runs the MA in Scriptwriting (Screen and Radio) in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at Aberystwyth University. He also teaches screenwriting at undergraduate level. Although Terry has a background in writing for television and radio, both in Britain and in his native Canada, he had not written for the stage before joining the Writing for Performance Group almost four years ago and Grave Men Near Death is his first full length play.

In Grave Men Near Death, two mismatched old men confront mortality – and each other – in this darkly comic play. Old school gangster Eddie is up to no good with hypersensitive aesthete Walter. They’re beset by friends, enemies and victims, without being quite sure which is which or who is using who. In the world of shady dealings, it can be hard to tell.

Terry Bailey spoke to us about the play and his experience of developing it from a short play to a full-length play.

Q: The publicity for this play has a quote from the director, David Blumfield, which reads, ‘If Harold Pinter had written a sitcom, it might have looked like Grave Men, Near Death‘. How did the idea come about?

A: I confess that I had seen a Pinter play just before I got the idea … but the inspiration actually came from a session with students. I run the MA in Scriptwriting in Aberystwyth University’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies. One of my students was giving a presentation, and something he said triggered a whole cascade of ideas.

Q: So you started writing a play in your mind, rather than listening to your student?

A: Oh, no, I listened to my student, too! I can multi-task.

Q: I believe Grave Men, Near Death started out as a short play, didn’t it?

A: Sandra Bendelow runs a ‘Writing for Performance’ group at the Arts Centre, which did two evenings of short plays in the Autumn of 2012. I wrote a fifteen minute version of Grave Men, Near Death for that. It went over very well, but even then I knew I wanted to expand it.

Q: Your background is in television. Was that your first play?

A: Other than a short monologue, which I also wrote for the Writing for Performance Group, it was my first play. Plays impose some different rules than television, but that makes for a refreshing change. It’s fun to be able to include long comic monologues in a piece like Grave Men, Near Death. By and large, though, there are a lot of similarities in dramatic structure between different media, so I didn’t find the process too stressful. In fact, I want to write for the theatre more often.

Q: Have you been attending rehearsals?

A: Yes, and it’s looking great. We have some very talented actors and a wonderful director. I’ve really enjoyed watching the play take shape.

Q: Do you have a favourite character?

A: No, they’re all equally grotesque. I mean that in a good way!

The play is directed by David Blumfield, performed by Tom O’Malley, Roger Boyle, Stephanie Tillotson, Jim Finnis, Lindsay Blumfield and Joe Blunt. It is produced by Scriptography Productions . It was originally developed for Aberyswtyth Arts Centre’s Writing for Performance Group PlayPen project through the Open Platform.

It is on at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Wednesday 12th March and Thursday 13th March, 7.45PM

For tickets call 01970 623232 or book on-line www.aber.ac.uk/artscentre



Crash Test, Thursday 23rd January, Aberystwyth Boat Club Bar

Crash Test January WCrash Test returns on Thursday 23rd January at Aberystwyth Boat Club Bar with it’s usual mix of plays, performance text, storytelling and comedy.

Crash Test has now been taking place for over two years, it has moved around a little from the RAFA club to Boulders Cafe, Borth and now has found a home at Aberystwyth Boat Club Bar. It is a pub-based evening because it aims for an informal and fun sharing of work in development. We aim to make new and inexperienced writers feel comfortable to share their words. It is not a stage – it’s the bit before the stage. We want the writers to feel as though they’re sharing their work with friends in their living room – though the friends are people they have only just met that night and the living room has a bar in the corner.

We also want the audience to feel the excitement and fun of being involved in the very early stages of work. It’s always text-based work – well almost always. There are no rules for inclusion or exclusion – if someone asks to show work and it has words in it then they can be included. Though we’ve also had a few things which didn’t have words!

The heart of the Crash Test night is Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Writing for Performance Group. Though the group do have showcases of script-in-hand work in development which take place regularly at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. The Crash Test night allows beginners to try out their plays in front of an audience at a much earlier stage of development – it also allows writers with a little more experience to test out work. In essence it allows writers to play, to make mistakes, to test.

We’re very proud of Crash Test – previous evenings have seen Julie Grady Thomas perform stand-up for the first time, James Baker saw a play he’d written be performed in front of an audience for the very first time. Lots of first times.

This Thursday we have more firsts with writers sharing work for the very first time with an audience. We’ll have new pieces from more experienced writers. To be honest we usually don’t really know what we’ll have until the night. That’s the fun of it.

We have an open slot too so if you fancy turning up and giving it a go then feel free.

Come along to Aberystwyth Boat Club Bar on Thursday 23rd January at 7.30PM. It’s £5 admission and £3 concessions. And it’s free for participants.

Playpen: Shorts 27th and 28th November

Playpen main imageIn the last 3 years Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Writing for Performance  Group have shared four showcases of new writing including Beginnings, Town with No Traffic Warden, Playpen – 9 Writers, No Rules and EarCandy.
This latest project produced by Scriptography Productions offers the chance to see 3 shorts exploring the impact of death, immigration and infidelity on relationships.
Not Quite Yet by Carmel George is a heartbreaking play about the unpredictability of grief. Cookhouse by Julie Grady-Thomas explores the impact of the threat of deportation on a husband and wife. Split by Sandra Bendelow follows a couple who return to a flood-damaged house to face the consequences of a night when the river raged through their lives.
PlayPen – Shorts features the three plays selected by the audience as their favourites alongside Grave Men Near Death by Terry Bailey which will be presented next year as a full-length play.
Wednesday 27 – Thursday 28 November
Dydd Mercher 27 – Dydd Iau 28 Tachwedd
7.45PM £6.50 (£4.50)
01970 623232
Follow Scriptography Productions at

Response Time: Transitions – introducing the responders Sandra Bendelow

Watching the piece created by Hannah Mann, Gaz Williams and Ruth HoggSandra Bendelow is a writer, theatre producer and creative digital marketing specialist.

As a writer she works in all mediums: theatre, radio, TV, film and is increasingly interested in cross-platform and transmedia storytelling. Her short monologue, One Hour and Forty Five Minutes, written for Dirty Protest Theatre’s plays-in-a-bag project was produced at the Royal Court, Theatre Clwyd and National Theatre Wales’ Dirty Gifted and Welsh. Her short audio drama Cursed was produced for EarCandy. Her short play Split was selected from two evenings of script-in-hand readings by the audience and will be produced as part of Playpen in November at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.  She has just joined the all-female playwright company Agent 160.

She produces for Scriptography Productions including, a new play To Kill a Machine by Catrin Fflur Huws about war-time code-breaker Alan Turing which premiered at Aberystwyth Arts Centre before touring to Sherman Cymru Foyer and being presented at a Science cafe event at Swansea University. To Kill a Machine will be redeveloped in 2014 before a national tour of Wales and the UK.  She produced EarCandy, an audio drama project from a web platform using digital media interfaces and also produces the Crash Test scratch night allowing writers to develop work in progress for audiences.

She runs Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Writing for Performance Group leading their monthly meetings and producing all their projects including Beginnings, Town with No Traffic Warden and Playpen.

She is the creator and producer of the Response Time project, she curated Pilot Light and will be participating as a writer in Transitions.


Performances of Response Time: Transitions are Sunday 27th October 5.30PM, 7PM and 8.30PM at the Gas Gallery, Aberystwyth, Park Avenue.