New Talking Heads

Individuals were given the opportunity to write a fifteen-minute monologue under the guidance of Nick Stimson, ex-director at the Young Vic, London and Associate Director at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth. Nick ran the writing workshops from which Rose Watts’ play ‘Foresight’ emerged. The monologues were called New Talking Heads in celebration of the excellent work of Alan Bennett,
Workshops were held on Saturday mornings between 10.00am and 1.00 pm on 24th May, 7th June and 28th June. The initial workshop was held in the new Parish Hall at Payhembury. Nick also gave feedback by e-mail on writing sent to him between sessions. The workshops enabled eighteen people (many of them first-time writers) to produce good quality monologues. The playwrights ranged in age from seventeen to seventy. Eighteen community actors were engaged, directed by sixteen directors.

The monologues were performed in Payhembury – six different ones a night over three nights - then six (chosen by audience votes) were toured to Ottery St Mary and the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre at Taunton.

As well as live stage performances the New Talking Heads were then converted into filmed versions by Ben Vallack, of Phototropic, Exeter. To prepare for this, a further group was brought together to produce story boards from scripts to enable the cameraman to follow the action. Jim Stanes from Payhembury, who has worked on major films, gave his time to show the storyboard artists how these help transfer information from the script to the camera. The venture was supported by Exeter University Community Outreach Programme. The workshops presented an ideal opportunity to enhance local theatre skills under the guidance of acclaimed experts.

A high-quality DVD was produced and is available on our DVD/photos section of the website.