On Friday (4th December), the premiere performance of Antarctica took place. It was on a terrific programme of Walter Swan Trust Playwriting Award winners and runners-up at Ilkley Playhouse. Sadly, I wasn't able to attend, nor will I be able to get to the Courtyard Stage at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds for the second performance tomorrow. I know if I'd been there I would have gained far more than an evening's entertainment.
    Scripts, whether for stage, screen or radio, are never a complete product, they're only the start. The directors, producers, cast and crew all add so much to a script, and take it from two-dimensional words to a living play. In the process it becomes obvious what works, what doesn't, how to tighten it up and make improvements, and it sparks aspects of a drama that would never otherwise occur to you. Add to the learning process the reaction of the audience: how engaged are people? does their attention flag in places? do particular lines or actions get the reactions you expect? Finally, there's the chance to meet people with far more experience, whose advice and–if you're really lucky–praise are invaluable.
    My thanks and good wishes go to everyone involved in bringing Antarctica to the stage. To see Monday night's performance would have been sheer magic, but I won't miss out altogether. Niccola Swan, a founder of The Walter Swan Trust in memory of her late husband, has promised to let me know how things go, and I've been promised an honest review from my niece, who lives in the area. Meanwhile, there are still some tickets to tomorrow night's performance available. They're FREE, so if you're in the vicinity, why not reserve one? To to http://www.walterswantrust.org.uk.