In 2013-14 Firebrand secured funding from the Creative Arts and Business Network to facilitate workshops to support local writers in the development of their work for performance, and to help local actors develop their sight-reading and new-writing performance skills. With the invaluable support of CABN Project Leader Mary Morrison, these workshops were run by Firebrand’s Creative Directors Ellie Zeegen and Janet Coulson, who applied their own script development, writing and workshopping experience to establish a supportive, creative environment in which both writers and actors felt comfortable giving and receiving feedback. From this initiative grew a number of collaborations and crossovers from acting to writing and back, allowing members of the group to explore and expand on their talents and skill sets to create exciting new work for the stage, screen and radio.
The group was made up of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and ages, and from experienced playwrights and published writers to those taking their first steps into writing for performance.
In 2014, we were all very proud that a significant number of our writers were successful in submitting their work to be part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s 5-minute theatre initiative ‘Yes, No, Don’t Know’, engaging with issues surrounding the upcoming Scottish independence referendum.
Since then, members have gone on to develop short and full-length plays from conception, to development, to rehearsed reading through to performance, while others have moved into film and successfully written and produced work for submission to festivals.
In January 2016 Firebrand received development funding from Creative Scotland to work on the Dark Earth project at Heart of Hawick with internationally acclaimed playwright David Harrower. Subsequently, David offered a Playwriting Masterclass to a number of the writers who had attended our Page to Stage workshops. David concluded the workshop by observing: “A great group of people, testament to Firebrand’s Page to Stage initiative”.