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16 September 2023

Posted by Holly Spillar and Rohan Gotobed

Competitions and Monologues

Saturday 16th September

Junior Writers:

This week we started our entries for The BBC 500 Words competition.

To get the writers in the mood to write something completely new we covered the floor in pictures of Faces (portraits, stock photos etc.) and Spaces (landscape paintings, photographs, holiday homes etc.). The writers had to each grab a Face and a Space before they sat down. 

We then spent the first half of our session writing stories about our new characters set in the photograph locations.

The writers had to answer:

How does your character feel when they enter the space?

Have they been there before?

What does the smell remind them of?

Who are they there to meet?

After writing some new short stories the writers could either carry on with their new idea for the competition or write something completely new. 

Young Writers:

Welcome back! Our second week of the new term, and we’re still getting to know our new writers and what they want to accomplish over the coming months. 

Exercise 1:

At the top of your page, write down: The school fete was forced to close. Then, underneath – Why? Leave a line blank, then write ‘Why?’ again. Repeat all the way down the page. 

This is a great exercise for working out our creative subconscious. It forces us to question why things happen and create solutions and stories in a matter of minutes. Everyone was able to share a snippet from their chain. You get some really interesting examples:

The school fete was forced to close.


Because a child released a monster.


Because the child was lonely.


Because the child was picked on and wanted revenge.

Exercise 2:

Take a tour of Lighthouse.

Less of an exercise, but a great activity. Charles (Lighthouse Producer) led us on a tour around Lighthouse, allowing us to explore the building. We were able to stand on the Concert Hall Stage, see the tech box of the theatre, the cinema, gallery, green room, and dressing rooms – a pretty comprehensive list! It was great for everyone to see Lighthouse from a different perspective and discover some interesting facts about how it works on a day-to-day basis. Did you know how flexible the Concert Hall is as a venue?

Exercise 3:

Read a couple of different monologues – what choices have the writers made?

In small groups, everyone read extracts of different monologues for the stage – ‘Faith Healer’ by Brian Friel, ‘Grounded’ by George Brant, ‘Kill’ by Caryl Churchill, and ‘A Hundred Words for Snow’ by Tatty Hennessey. All of them are for a single actor, but their style and content couldn’t be more dissimilar. 

Exercise 4:

Choose one of the spaces you visited on the tour. Write a monologue that could happen in that space.

Using the different monologues as examples, the Young Writers then got to write their own. We thought about the type of characters you might find in these spaces, and why they might be chatting specifically to an audience – what are their internal dilemmas? 

At the end, we were able to hear some snippets of what people had created. As usual, we were astounded with tales of horror and humanity.

Next week… we’ll be coming up with movie pitches!

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