A Wonderful Evening At The Expedition Metropolis Theatre

It’s true that the text is, in a sense, incomplete until the actors bring it to life on a stage and introduce it to the audience. We presented a collection of our plays at the Kreuzberger HofFestSpiele in June and were very pleased with the reaction we got. The short pieces written in our workshops were not about numbers, facts, or how the world is horribly going to end soon due to the way we consume and choose to live. We mostly focused on personal stories and preferred a humorous tone over a pessimistic one. It’s good to remember how we used to live sustainably back in the days when we were kids. How we used to wear and share our clothes; how we used to mend our belongings before throwing them away and buying a new one; or how our relationship was with nature.

We will continue to write about climate change until the end of the year, and we hope to have more opportunities to share our plays with more people. We are open to collaborations with theatres, schools and or environmental organizations. The challenges we face need collaboration and collective action. We are all part of this story, and if it isn’t going well, we must begin rewriting it.

Bronwen Pattison, Joshua Spriggs and  Cecilia Gigliotti
Secil Honeywill

CLIMATE ACTS AT THE KREUZBERGER HOFFESTSPIELE

At the beginning of every year, my heart fills with excitement and fear. How many new people will join? Will they like this year’s programme? Will the workshops motivate them to write more? Most importantly will they get excited? I like it when people get excited. When they feel what they write matters, what they share has meaning for someone else.

We have completed half of this year’s workshops. We are non-stop writing about environmental issues. We go back in time, and remember how we used to consume and live when we were kids. What has changed? It’s quite scary to see how fast and easily we accepted and adapted to a consumerism-driven economic system. We’ve written a lot of pieces so far, and more will be added to this collective piece by the end of the year.

We will showcase some of this work at the Kreuzberger Hoffestspiele. The playreading will take place on the 22nd of June, Wednesday at 20:30 at the Expedition Metropolis Theatre

  Cecilia Gigliotti, Bronwen Pattison, and Joshua Spriggs

Three fantastic actors will read the piece. Bronwen Pattison, Cecilia Gigliotti, and Joshua Spriggs are wonderful additions to our team. We had our first rehearsal today, and they brought the entire text to life with just the first reading. I consider myself extremely fortunate and grateful to have met and to be working with such talented actors.

This year’s festival piece is written by:

Maria Vittoria Zinoni

Rebecca Lyon

A J Baker

Ece Ozdemiroglu

Tony Vale

Asena inceismail

Alice Rugai

Tom Kealy

Abdullah Öztürk

Storm Jackson-Payne

Natsu Hirukawa

‘I’m not a scientist but…’

Did you ever think about why some people refuse to believe in climate change? Why do they find excuses not to take meaningful action towards a sustainable life? Maybe denying the problem is a way of coping. The problem is so huge that the mind tries to save us from utter hopelessness by pushing aside thoughts of climate change. Denial kicks in as our minds default to temporary self-preservation.

It’s not because we don’t care. Climate change is disturbing. It’s something we don’t want to think about. So what we do in our everyday lives is create a world where it’s not there, and keep it distant. We create a sense of a good, safe world for ourselves, we screen out all kinds of information, from where food comes from to how our clothes are made. When we talk with our friends, we usually talk about something pleasant.

In our April workshop, we did an exercise called ‘I’m not a scientist but‘.
Would you like to try it?
Find three subjects that you have completely no idea about.
For example,
Marine biology
Cryptocurrency
German Grammar

Pick one subject. For example, you picked cryptocurrency. Write a monologue starting with
‘ I am not a broker but-’

The idea here is that you state your thoughts (whether for or against) on the subject which you have no idea about in a super confident way.

Have fun!

What’s Your Tree Story?

Did you ever climb a tree, plant a tree, have a favourite tree, or name a tree?
Share your own personal connection to a tree — either your “earliest tree memory” or “a significant tree memory.” with us. Sharing tree stories helps us place a spotlight on trees and become aware of their significance in all our lives.

Here’s a tree story from one of our writers, Rebecca Lyon:

‘ There were Beech trees, at the bottom of the garden. A regiment of them. In summer, their leaves were shiny, the greenest green, perfectly striped. Lizzie and I would score them with our fingernails to make distinctive epaulettes and put the leathery beech nuts in our potions of power made of mud and puddles and rocks.
Then, in autumn, the leaves turned to lace. We would look and look for undamaged leaves, amongst the fallen ones crunching beneath our little feet. Lizzie would find the most beautiful ones – translucent in the sun, veins perfect, delicate, as if reflecting their mother tree’s roots, in miniature. Lizzie said they were fairy clothes. I said that would be very impractical. Lizzie smiled at me. Her fairies, her beech trees, my glimpse into another world.’

Registration for our April workshop is now open. You can sign up here.

Write Now Berlin 2022 / Climate Acts

Write Now Berlin 2022 Workshop Programme

Last January we embarked upon a year-long writing journey. Through monthly workshops, with a pit stop at Berlin Kreuzberger HoffestSpiele in September, where we showcased three short plays, we are nearing the end of our 2021 programme. A big congratulations to everyone who participated! It feels so good to get together and write regularly, share our work and inspire each other.

Our workshops don’t follow the classic structure of teaching models of playwriting. We cover the basics of playwriting in a more relaxed and playful environment. We use writing prompts that help you remember the long-forgotten memories, both joyful and not so, and through personal experience write about contemporary social issues. We create plays that show us the possibility of positive change, be it personal or social. 

You write what you want and need to write at our workshops: it could be a full-length play or a short. A scene. A line. Or just join in for the fun of the writing exercises. To write together in a group. You don’t have to share anything you write. But experience the joy of being there, listen, write and support and be inspired by each other. It is all about feeling hopeful about a better future and showing each other how theatre can energise such change.

In 2022 we will continue the same workshop structure, this time with a focus on climate change. There is no doubt that climate change is the greatest threat our planet is facing today. 

Climate change is not ’just’ an environmental problem that is happening to someone else, somewhere else and sometime in the future. It is already happening, to all, everywhere. We are equipped different to adapt to it but we all have limits to how much we can adapt.  

Climate change is a justice issue. Not everyone has contributed to the climate crisis in the same capacity, and not everyone has been or will be impacted the same way.

Climate change is a human rights issue. It impacts people disproportionately and in different ways. It affects individuals’ living and dignity, and their basic human rights.

Climate change is an economic prosperity issue. Poorer people all over the world suffer the most due to climate change because they are more reliant on nature for their living and less able to deal with droughts, floods and pollution. Climate change breeds poverty.

Just as climate change affects all, solutions also lie in all working together. All across the world delivering their responsibilities, all across sectors and sciences. Theatre has to play its part! 

We invite everyone to talk about and write plays on climate change. Our aim is to tell the stories of the communities and people who are affected by them. We will also ask simple questions to understand certain scientific concepts that may appear abstract.

Climate Acts playwriting workshops will be a year-long programme. 

The monthly workshops will be open to everyone from anywhere in the world – no prior theatre or writing experience is necessary. These workshops are packed with exercises to strengthen your writing skills, go through the elements of playwriting, network with other writers in the group, share ideas, inspire and be inspired.

The first online workshop will be on the 23rd of January 2022. They will follow on every 3rd Sunday of the month between 11 am and 1 pm Central European Time. The working language of the workshops is English but you can write in any language.

You can sign up for the January workshop from here.

These workshops are on Pay As You Can basis. Your donations help with IT and workshop costs. 

Interview With The Writers 3

We presented three of the plays developed in our workshops at the Kreuzberger HoffestSpiele last September in Theatre Expedition Metropolis. We read these plays months before the festival and talked with the writers for feedback. The playwright needs to hear the text they’ve written and see how people react to it so they can make the necessary changes.

Semi-stage these plays at the HoffFestSpiele was a completely different experience than doing it between us on a Zoom screen. We wanted to know how the playwrights felt and learn more about their creative process.

Storm Jackson-Payne

How was it for you to hear your words spoken in front of an audience?

I found it surreal but in a really good way. It was the first time I had seen something that I had written be performed without also being involved in the production, so I didn’t know what to expect. The actors were great and I’m so grateful to them for bringing my script to life. I really enjoyed the feeling of only being one part of something, and the actors and director completing it in the way they felt was right.

Shout Fire by Storm Jackson-Payne PhotoAndré Groth

How did you start writing?

I started writing plays when I was a kid, mostly so me and my friends could act in them and have a laugh. I later ended up studying script writing at university.

How about Shout Fire? Why Shout Fire?

With Shout Fire, I wanted to show how normalised it is for women to fear men. The characters talk about their experiences of feeling threatened and the tactics that they employ to feel more safe, whilst at the same time laughing at the ridiculousness of what they are saying. Faking phone calls and holding your keys between your fingers to use as a defence weapon are not things that anybody should feel they have to do on a daily basis, but somehow it’s necessary, and these characters find the humour in it to cope. I know that not all women will identify with the character’s experiences, but it was important for me to write this perspective.

What is your writing process like?

I can’t really say I have a writing process, but for Shout Fire I started without much of a plan and wrote it very quickly in two sittings. Because it was all one scene and quite a fast-paced script, I felt I had to just keep going so as not to lose the momentum of the dialogue. Since finishing Shout Fire, I have been trying to write a little every day, just to stay in the habit of writing and to put any ideas that have been forming down on the page before I forget them or grow bored of them.

How did being part of WriteNow Berlin affected your writing?

WriteNow Berlin has honestly changed everything for me in terms of writing. After I graduated from university, I didn’t write a thing for almost six years. Within months of attending these workshops, I have written a play and am keen to keep going. The workshops are so practical and just get you writing instantly. Also, hearing other people’s work is so inspiring and hearing other people’s feedback is invaluable.

Are you working on a new play at the moment?

Yes, I am working on another short play at the moment. It also focuses on themes of violence against women.

Any tips for people starting to write?

Don’t wait around for the perfect idea. I have to tell myself this all the time. If you have just a glimmer of an idea or a character or just one line that’s in your head, just start writing and see what happens.

Interview With The Writers 2

We presented three of the plays developed in our workshops at the Kreuzberger HoffestSpiele last September in Theatre Expedition Metropolis. We read these plays months before the festival and talked with the writers for feedback. The playwright needs to hear the text they’ve written and see how people react to it so they can make the necessary changes.

Semi-stage these plays at the HoffFestSpiele was a completely different experience than doing it between us on a Zoom screen. We wanted to know how the playwrights felt and learn more about their creative process.

Alice Rugai

How was it for you to hear your words spoken in front of an audience?

I was shivering. It was not the first time because I directed my own play in Italy. But this was the first time I was not involved in directing nor dramaturgy so it was a bit more exciting/terrifying. I loved that and I am grateful for the experience.

My Body Was Not Meant As A Prison by Alice Rugai. Photo: André Groth

How did you start writing?

I was a kid in elementary school. I started with a personal diary (still doing it!) and I was encouraged by teachers when they read my first poem. It is a necessity now, like eating, but I am much more often inspired than hungry.

How about ” My body was not meant as a prison”? Why “My body was not meant as a prison”?

On one hand, it is a comment on the role of control in female bodies, on the other hand, it is a political play denouncing medical abuse in Italy. I was reading abortion stories during the pandemic and I was shocked by the absence of empathy and the violation of human rights. But the play goes deeper, it is not only a critique of anti-choice movements, it is the story of a female body, a quite common one and for this reason tragic.

What is your writing process like? 

I like working with keywords, or poetic words. I wrote a summary of words I needed to touch with my writings. Then it came to the poem, a sort of slam poetry scream, and from that, the play originated itself. I added a character, a story and I tried to contradict myself. Contradiction and ambiguity are the best to write conflicts properly. But I don’t always have the same writing process.

How did being part of WriteNow Berlin affected your writing?

I enjoy support from the community, I like the fact that we are constantly learning and sharing within the community. I don’t like competitions, I have to take part to show my writings but I am not a big fan of it. Writing communities can change the world. Being part of Write Now Berlin also made it possible for me to respect my identity as a writer and as a migrant person at the same time.

Are you working on a new play at the moment?

Of course, unfortunately, I am addicted. This time it is a bit different though. I am trying to work with the “Theatre of the Oppressed” technique first and the writing process is gonna be shared by different members of the group and will come only after improvised rehearsals. The theme is solidarity with and within the migrant community. I had written a play about it too but I wanted to try a more political approach to the writing process itself.

Any tips for people starting to write?

Don’t do it, you will die poor. Do it and don’t underestimate the (political) power of your words. Do it on paper so you won’t be blind in your 30s. I’m sorry. Find a good therapist.

Interview With The Writers

We presented three of the plays developed in our workshops at the Kreuzberger HoffestSpiele last September in Theatre Expedition Metropolis. We read these plays months before the festival and talked with the writers for feedback. The playwright needs to hear the text they’ve written and see how people react to it so they can make the necessary changes.

Semi-stage these plays at the HoffFestSpiele was a completely different experience than doing it between us on a Zoom screen. We wanted to know how the playwrights felt and learn more about their creative process.

Eleanor Healing

How does it feel to have your play performed in front of an audience?

I live in Scotland, so sadly I was unable to come and watch the showcase, but I can’t tell you how happy I was knowing that Neurons was going to be staged, and by such an amazing team of creatives too! It was a story drawn from personal experience, and it always feels a bit raw and vulnerable putting that to paper, even more so knowing that it will be performed in front of a crowd. I know that the play was in very safe hands, however, and I can’t wait to see the recording.

Neurons by Eleanor Healing. Photo: André Groth

How did you start writing?

I’ve been writing ever since I was able to! Even before I could physically write, I was that child who was always in their little world, making up stories and daydreaming. I still have a folder full of stories I ‘wrote’ when I was around 4 years old. My dad would sit at the family computer while I rambled and he would type out my stories verbatim. They’re hilarious to read now because they’re so random (‘Misty the horse finds some spiders’ is perhaps my favourite, it’s a wild ride from start to finish). The first story I wrote myself was about me and my classmates having a hilariously disastrous trip to the beach. I made a little book, illustrated it, then read it out in front of my class! 

Ever since then, writing has been my escape, a way to express myself, my lifeline. Throughout my life, it’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do. 

How about Neurons? Why Neurons?

I think a lot of people had revelations during the pandemic. Mine was realising that I was on the autism spectrum, which is quite a big revelation! I had suspected it for a long time, but never thought I could be because I don’t fit the stereotypical image we see of ASD in the media. It was only when I read about the experiences of other autistic women, and how women, girls and non-binary people display different traits, that the penny dropped. 

Unfortunately, with that came my experiences of the clinical bias that exists when it comes to seeking an ASD diagnosis as an adult woman. Here in Scotland, you don’t see a clinician in person for the first stage of the assessment, instead, they send you a form in the post with very specific and leading questions about your childhood. I was told that I ‘didn’t meet the diagnostic criteria’ essentially because I was affectionate, had the ability to make friends, and wasn’t a danger to myself as a child. The alternative is seeking a private assessment where you are seen in person, but that costs thousands of pounds which is completely inaccessible to most people (myself included).

But as well as that frustration, there was also a lot of joy and freedom that came with discovering this about myself. Parts of me that I had always been ashamed of and told to change suddenly didn’t feel so shameful. There was a lot of sadness too, knowing that I had ‘masked’ most of my life just to try and be seen as ‘normal’ and just how early that had started, and how that had likely contributed to the mental health problems I’ve experienced throughout my life. What was great though, was realising that the close friends I’ve made over the years were people I’d let the mask slip around, who saw my quirks and oddities as positives. That was bloody wonderful. 

So essentially I poured my frustrations and experiences into Neurons, hoping to give my perspective with a bit of humour thrown in. It started as a monologue, but then I thought it would be sweet to include a date setting in there too. It started as a way to process the journey I was going on, then evolved!

What is your writing process like?

Being a constant daydreamer, my writing inspiration normally comes from being in my own little world and suddenly having the urge to put an idea on paper. I normally stick on my noise-cancelling headphones, get lost in my daydream, and write away. I normally need to set an alarm though, otherwise, I get so engrossed that I won’t stop and suddenly it’s four hours later and I haven’t made dinner!

How did being part of WriteNow Berlin affected your writing?

WriteNow Berlin has changed my life really! That sounds corny but it’s true. I have you to thank for putting on my play Ghost during lockdown (all made over Zoom due to Covid restrictions), and for staging Neurons at HofFestSpiele this year. On top of that, the writing workshops have been so valuable to me as a writer for developing my skills.

It’s so amazing to be a part of a community like this, and I’m very grateful that the workshops have been remote so that I can attend from Scotland! Even if you’re stuck or having writer’s block, being able to do these workshops with a supportive community of fellow writers helps. It’s great to read and share other people’s writing and give feedback too. 

Are you working on a new play at the moment? 

I completed a full-length play back in July that I’m very excited about! It’s an offbeat love story with a vintage setting that I’m submitting to competitions and theatres. Otherwise, I’m keen to develop Neurons further – I already have some ideas for making it longer and bringing in more characters so I can’t wait to make that a reality.

Any tips for people starting to write? 

I would say write about your experiences, what you’re passionate about, write down the stories you want to see. Also, bear in mind that first drafts don’t have to be perfect, or even good – I have some horrible first drafts saved onto my computer, including a very cringey screenplay I wrote when I was 18 that will never see the light of day! Getting down your thoughts and having a work-in-progress is an important first step, and even if you don’t come back to it, it’s been a good outlet and good practice. Most importantly, write for you. Even if you don’t want to show your work to anybody, you’ve still done something awesome for yourself and have expressed yourself in some way.

WriteNow Berlin at the Kreuzberger Hoffestspiele

We are happy to announce that we are invited to take part in this year’s Kreuzberger Hoffestspiele. This is a wonderful opportunity for our playwrights to share their work. At the beginning of this year, we started a year-long writing marathon and we continue our workshops with nearly 15 dedicated writers. 

Here are the three playwrights whose works will be performed during the festival:

Neurons by Eleanor Healing

Shout Fire by Storm Jackson-Payne

My Body Was Not Meant As A Prison by Alice Rugai

These plays are written during these workshops. We read our work to each other, give feedback and work on another draft until it’s good enough to share with an audience.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to showcase all our work at the festival, therefore, we are working on a plan to create our mini-festival to give all of our writers the same opportunity. Stay tuned for more updates!

The semi-staged readings of these new plays will take place on September 7th at 20:30 in Expedition Metropolis Theatre’s beautiful courtyard. Come see these three new plays written by fresh new voices with us.

This is a free event, but due to corona regulations, you must book it by sending your information (name, email, phone number, and address) to theater@expedition-metropolis.de. The number of spectators per performance is limited (50 in the Theaterhof), so don’t leave it until the last minute.

Theatre Expedition Metropolis : Ohlauer Str. 41, 10999 Berlin