RESIDENT FROM Mar 15 - Jun 15

JAMES ELLIOTT

Room One Space | Writing

When I applied for a residency at Room One, I had what I thought was a clear idea of the project I wanted support with: a monologue about makeup and womanhood, for a 16 year-old girl, in the form of a beauty blog like those found on Youtube. But I had been unable to make the idea into a full piece of theatre, most of all because as a guy in his late twenties, my ability to get into that world – her world – was basically non-existent.

As well as invaluable access to rehearsal space, I have been given time.

So when I applied for a Room One residency, it was quite simply in the hope of being helped to find an actor who would be willing to collaborate with me. Room One provided this instantly, connecting me with Lois Deeny, an actor I hope to be able to collaborate with on many projects in the future, and who has made immeasurable contributions to the project. But this was only the first type of support Room One offered me through this residency. As well as invaluable access to rehearsal space, I have been given time, which I have found to be the best support of all for me, while I’ve been working on a character and a story that for so long has proved so difficult for me.

It has been this time and space that has allowed our collaboration to not just make my idea for a play into something real, but to work on that idea, to refine it, to improve it and change it. Thanks to Room One, and thanks to my work with Lois, my abstract idea for a play rooted in concepts I wanted to explore has been transformed into a story about two 13 year-old girls, and their attempts to stay best friends in the face of all the pressures of puberty and conformity that I was interested in as concepts when I proposed the project, but really knew nothing of the truth of.

My work with Lois over the past year has taken numerous forms, all of which Room One has supported: interviews, readthroughs, workshops, and culminating now in full readings of the second draft of the play. I feel very lucky to have enjoyed Room One’s support during the residency – I have been offered help and support at every turn but have also been given that time and space to find out for myself how best to develop the project further. In this way I have been able to learn a lot about my own process, which is something I will take on through the rest of my career.

The residency at Room One has been the difference between the idea for a play and that play now receiving public readings.

Overall, the residency at Room One has been the difference between the idea for a play and that play now receiving public readings. I know that if I had not had the time, space and support I’ve had in this residency, the play would not have been created, I would have far less of an understanding of my own writing process, and I would not have met an actor that I’d like to work with for the rest of my career. It is thanks to the residency at Room One that any of this was possible.

Therefore it is also fitting that the next read through of my completed play, SLAP, will take place in the very space where the idea was developed. SLAP will be read at 1.00 on 25th May 2016. It will be wonderful to share my work in a place where I was so greatly supported.

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