So how does it work?
Throughout the year our writer-members are submitting new plays and scripts to the Programme Secretary for inclusion in the programme. He will accept them and find slots for them once some other members have mentored them and certified that they are ready for a reading. Each script will be slotted into the next available programme and we have three programmes a year, corresponding more or less to school terms, with breaks in between. Any member with a script for submission should contact the Programme Secretary at email@example.com.
A few weeks before the reading date the piece will be cast and scripts will be handed out. The casting is organised by our Casting Secretary, in consultation with the author. Our actors include full time professionals as well as young hopefuls who haven’t quite relinquished the day job yet. There are barely enough parts to go round but our Casting Secretary sees that everyone is cast eventually. In order to have a chance of a part to read actor-members should present their CVs and photos to the Casting Secretary, Suzanne Kendall, contactable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The evening for the reading arrives. The actors hastily run through their lines together and at 7.30 the performance starts. The audience (of between 30 and 40 members) listen and applaud and fill in marking sheets which are handed to the teller at the end of the reading. Then everyone has a drink and settles down for a chaired discussion of the merits of the piece and scope for improving its chances in the market place.
As well as readings we sometimes have talks; and we hold a Competition evening for short plays on a given theme at the end of each term in which everyone can take part.
There is also at least one Showcase a year, at which our writers and actors put their talents before the general public, including as many members of the Industry as we can squeeze in. We have put on Showcases at the Soho Theatre, the Arts and the King’s Head, Upper Street N1, and in the last two years have produced three of our own plays, at Rada, The Old Red Lion, and Tristan Bates.
Do you have to be a brilliant actor or successful writer to take part? Not at all
Absolute beginners are most welcome and we are delighted also to see among our regulars those who have given up any idea of writing or acting professionally but who come along for the excellent entertainment! So don’t be shy: turn up and see whether it’s what you would like to do on Monday nights.
60 Year History!
Player-Playwrights started in 1948. It was formed by a group of actors and writers, who decided to meet once a week to read each others’ plays out loud. Among those who joined in the 70s are Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran who succeeded Jack Rosenthal and Olwen Wymark to become our Presidents five years ago. They brought us the very first Birds of a Feather and continue to try out new scripts at Player-Playwrights before preparing the final drafts for production. Other notable successes include the premier of Steaming by Nell Dunn, which ran in the West End for several years, and more recent triumphs such as the first episode of When The Dog Dies, which became a six part Radio 4 series starring Ronnie Corbett, and the first reading of The Pool, which after a run at the Arts Theatre became the feature film, Don't Worry about Me.