Written, directed and filmed during Lockdown the Royal Exchange Young Company Writers Group have been busy creating nine brand-new monologues inspired by the themes of human connection, joy, kindness and compassion.
Since the beginning of May the nine-strong group, aged 17-22, have been working with the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Dramaturg Suzanne Bell and playwright Joe Ward Munrow to develop their playwriting skills. At the beginning of this, their third term of the course, the writers were challenged to make a piece of work for a single actor that celebrated the human connection and utilised the powerful, emotional truth that drama can capture.
Once the monologues were finished the writers went on to work with a series of award-winning professional actors and directors to film each of the short plays. The writers each spent time over Zoom with the director and actor to discuss their monologue - explain choices, wording, motivations and inspirations behind their characters and situations.
Bruno said of his involvement in the project "Being part of the monologue project has been such an enjoyable experience. Having the opportunity to focus on my writing and develop my craft has been very welcome and to see my words come to life in a professional environment has been surreal but also so valuable. I have been taken aback by the commitment and support of everyone behind the project, including the creative team, and I hope that there are more projects like this in the future to get excited about."
The monologues include are:
MY PRINCESS by Jake Talbot
Directed and performed by Julie Hesmondhalgh
MAGNETIC by Bruno Quinney
Directed by Liz Stevenson, performed by Anthony Aje
ZEITGEIST by Elizabeth Logan
Directed by Nicola Miles-Wildin, performed by Amy Forrest
FROM NEXT DOOR by Abigail Peszel
Directed by Bryony Shanahan, performed by Rhiannon Clements
PALOMA by Iona Rainford-Miller
Directed by Miranda Cromwell, performed by Gabriela Garcia
SLOW COOKING by Elli Kypriadis
Directed by Atri Banerjee, performed by Maimuna Memon
VALLEY OF THE MOON by Eleonora Leemhuis
Directed by Katy Rudd, performed by Norah Lopez-Holden
THE GARDEN by Beth Sami Wilkinson
Directed by Atri Banerjee, performed by Geraldine Somerville
A MOMENT BETWEEN STRANGERS by Noor Kabbani
Directed by Roy Alexander Weise, performed by Kudzai Sitima
Young Company writers Beth and Jake added "For me personally writing something and communicating its meaning of existence are two very different things. Writing something is like gestating an idea, one that is hardly in my control, but it is simply conceivable. Communicating its meaning... is in the simplest sense impossible. This experience has been interesting, I have been able to work with individuals exploring my writing and seeing its meaning naturally form into a performance." Beth, Young Company Writers
Jake said "When Suz first came to the group with the idea of the monologue project, with the theme or stimulation around care, hope, human connection, I was overwhelmed, I think at a time where care, hope and especially human connection was scarce to say the least. I really struggled, but after conversations with Suz, and opening myself to other people, especially people in my life who had recently had kids in the middle of global pandemic, and their undevoted, love, and attention made me empathise emphatically in a time, politically and environmentally, where perhaps they can’t care to the best of their ability or as much as they’d like to.
Working with the lovely Julie Hesmondhalgh bringing the piece to life has been an utter delight and I’m so ever thankful to her for taking the time to commit, collaborate and discuss the piece openly."
Inga Hirst, Director of Creative Learning and Engagement added "I am blown away by these monologues. Our Young Writers have worked so hard and have created nine incredibly beautiful pieces of theatre which we cannot wait to share with everyone. Creating the space for them to work with our dramaturg Suzanne Bell has been invaluable, she has challenged them and pushed them in exactly the same way she would with any of the professional playwrights she works with daily. For these young writers to then be paired with award-winning actors and directors and collaborate on making their monologues into short films was a vital part of their learning process. I think they have created something very special, filled with hope for our future. These nine writers are certainly names to watch out for and we can’t wait to work with some of them again for our Young Company summer project coming soon."
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