Theatremaker Stephanie Silver: ‘My first job taught me that I can’t do it all, so now I collaborate’
When the Actor Awareness movement began running themed scratch nights at the Canal Cafe, London, founder Tom Stocks chose my piece The Monologues of a Tired Nurse for its Women’s Night. The piece drew on my experiences of working as a nurse.
When we performed on the night, people were overwhelmingly positive, so me and my friend Emelia Lovsey contacted Edinburgh venues. I found Charles Pamment at the Space very supportive and encouraging to my little show. Any first night makes me nervous but when we opened this show, I was extra nervous that the Nursing and Midwifery Council would ask me for my registration back!
The show went on to run at Barons Court and two fringe festivals. I learned a lot about being a producer, most importantly how to make my next projects better. While I like the production aspect, as a writer my process is quite unrefined. I tend to find the best process is getting actors to read my drafts. I like lots of R&D as that’s where the cracks show and can be resolved. I learnt from my first show that I can’t do it all, so, for my next show I wanted more collaborators.
For Our Big Love Story, my current show, the gang just fits so well. I had my team workshop the first 20 minutes of the play a lot so that when I wrote the script I really had the characters in my mind and their intentions.
As for the Edinburgh Fringe, I have mixed feelings about it these days, especially for small, emerging companies because of the costs. I decided not to go to Edinburgh 2018 despite a fringe venue offering to co-produce. Think carefully about where you take a show: is it right for your ethos? Is it right for your play?
My other advice for new producers is allow a project to develop. By the time Our Big Love Story opens next week the cast will have spent a year knowing each other. It builds a great ensemble and really reflects in the show.
CV: Stephanie Silver
Training: Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts (foundation course); the Actors Class
Theatre includes: Feel More (Proforca Theatre Company); Baby (Arcola, London); C’est La Vie (Owl and Cat Theatre Company, Australia); Little Secrets (Lost One Act Festival, Stockwell Playhouse, London) The Monologues of a Tired Nurse (Edinburgh Fringe, Barons Court Theatre and Camden Fringe)
Agent: Jody Medland at Penworks Media
Stephanie Silver was talking to John Byrne. Our Big Love Story runs at London’s Hope Theatre until April 7