Pembrokeshire-based Pint-sized Plays
celebrates the international success it has achieved in its first decade
Ten years ago this month, Pint-sized Plays put on its first performances in pubs during Tenby Festival Week. The idea was certainly very original, if not frankly daring. To put on plays in the actual bar of a busy pub while people were enjoying their drinks was certainly not without risk.
“To be honest I didn’t know what to accept,” says organiser and DAW member Derek Webb, “We might have been met by loud heckles or just ignored, I had no idea. In the event, and to my utter surprise, a noisy, very busy pub went silent as they listened to the first play – and then applauded! It was fantastic.”
From that beginning, Pint-sized Plays have gone on to be performed all over the world. At its heart is a writing competition for short 5–10 minute plays, designed to encourage new writing. It also has as the aim of taking live theatre to people who have perhaps rarely or never experienced it before.
The competition attracts several hundred entries from all over the world every year and from these are selected six winners and four runners up. The plays are then performed in Tenby pubs in late September and then all go on to Theatr Gwaun in Fishguard for the annual ‘Script Slam’.
Four years ago the decision was taken to offer publication to selected scripts each year. And, now there are four books of scripts available, containing over 80 plays. These are available to theatre groups to perform free (under licence) to a non-paying audience, or for a small charge to a paying audience. To date many dozens of plays have been performed by theatre companies and drama groups either as ‘fillers’ or with several together to form a complete evening’s entertainment.
Many authors have indeed gone on to produce excellent full length pieces, something of which Pint-sized Plays is justifiably proud. And, in wanting to encourage even better plays, they have just announced that they are running a Weekend Writing Course at Pembrokeshire’s Stackpole Centre in October. They course will be tutored by David Britton who’s Professor of Dramaturgy and Director of Creative Writing at Swansea University. Participants will get to complete a ten minute play or a scene from a longer play over the weekend and then see it being performed by professional actors on the Sunday. More details on the website: www.pintsizedplays.org.uk