Like almost everybody else, I’ve burst out into this year with Big Plans.
One of them was the creation of this site, so that I have a place to collate my the various bits and pieces I’ve written down, and, because, being a Digital Producer and total Twitter addict, I just really wasn’t spending enough time on the internet. For the time being, and to stop this blog from looking too sad and sickly, I’ve dropped in a few posts that I’ve written for other places over the last couple of years. (The stuff that’s vaguely relevant to being writer-y, anyway, not just the stuff about my cats.) It’s still a work-in-progress, so please do have a poke around, and feel free to let me know what works and what doesn’t.
So, then – the rest of the Big Plan. I feel very privileged to have had to give up most of my Christmas break in the service of a new short play commission from Pagelight Productions, which will form part of the LGBT History Month celebrations in Manchester at the end of February. The piece is called Mister Stokes: The Man-Woman of Manchester, and it charts the fascinating story of Harry Stokes, a bricksetter who lived in Manchester and Salford for around 40 years, during which time he was married twice, who was found drowned in the River Irwell in 1859. It was only when the coroner examined the body that they realised Stokes was biologically female.
There still aren’t many opportunities to tell trans stories, and this feels like a wonderful opportunity to bring a little known piece of Manchester’s LGBT history to life. I’m lucky enough to be working with a very experienced and talented creative team, including our director Helen Parry, and it’s also lovely to be just a playwright on this occasion, and to be able to take off my producer hat and just think about the words.
In addition to that, I’m busy with lots of lovely First Draft stuff for 2016. Our next event, After Dark, sees performers of all kinds responding to our first ever audio prompt from my friend and brilliant musician Jez Hewes. If you’re Manchester-based, join us for free at the Castle Hotel on Monday 15 February. It’s a really diverse and exciting line up, and it promises to be a lovely event to kick us off for the year ahead. As well as our regular nights, we’ve got plans for some lovely one-off events too that we’re looking forward to announcing soon.
And, writing wise, I really want to get cracking this year. I’ve got several short stories on the go that I want to start flinging out for consideration, and the faintest glimmer of a bigger project that I’m too scared to tell anyone about yet in case it crumbles under scrutiny.
But that’s not interesting to anyone but me. You’ve all got your own Big Plans for 2016 that you really should be getting on with. If you find yourself in need of a distraction at any time, get yourself a cup of tea and have a little look at some of my Stuff That’s Now Online…