Free Writing Workshop

FREE Writing Workshop for Wandsworth residents aged 16+ on Monday 28th June, 6.30-8pm, WAF Big Top, King George’s Park, Lower Field, Mapleton Road, SW18 4GA.

The workshop will cover the discipline of writing, creating narrative, writing for radio, and can offer support for starting writing, or works in progress.

Please complete the application form by 18th June.

Blackshaw Arts Hour – Episode 84

  • Listen to the Q&A session from the end of our WAF writing workshop (featuring Blackshaw’s Director, Ellie Pitkin, Blackshaw’s Project Manager, Vikki Weston, and writers; M. J. Starling, Chris Buxey and Kat Roberts.
  • Strat & Alex Do Art: this time they try their hand(s) at haiku
  • We announce that ‘The Final Adventure of Frankie Fightwell’ will be played in full in the next episode (released 20th June).

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Blackshaw Arts Hour – Episode 83

Pop this in your earholes – the fantastic Chris Buxey, Kat Roberts, and M. J. Starling discuss writing – the discipline of writing, how to write ‘real’ dialogue, and more!

Chris Buxey

He wrote ‘The Final Adventure of Frankie Fightwell’, which is our next show for Wandsworth Fringe at the Putney Arts Theatre! Find out more about Chris on his website and our blog –

Kat Roberts

She wrote ‘Staying Alive’, our 2014 Showcase Award Winner, which went on to have a run at the Pleasance Theatre with Blackshaw, AND was published by Nick Hern books! Kat is now developing a new play, and writing scripts for TV.  Find out more about ‘Staying Alive’ on our blog –

M. J. Starling

He wrote ‘Audience with the Ghost Finder’, which we produced at Wandsworth Fringe 2013, and London Horror Festival 2013! Find out more on his website and listen to the radio play version on our blog –

Blackshaw Arts Hour – Episode 79

  • Matt reviews ‘Annihilation’ and ‘Tomb Raider’
  • Ellie gives a spoiler-free rundown of ‘Hamilton’ (which she done saw on Monday)
  • We chat about the Writing Workshop we’re running – FREE Writing Workshop for Wandsworth residents aged 16+ on Sat 12 May, 2-4pm, Putney Arts Theatre. The workshop will cover the discipline of writing, creating narrative, writing for radio, and can offer support for starting writing, or works in progress.
  • A reminder you can get discounted tickets for The Final Adventure of Frankie Fightwell, until 1st April!
  • Shows Ellie and Matt are seeing soon: Miss Julie at the National, Good Girl by Naomi Sheldon at the Trafalgar Studios, 42nd Street (featuring Lulu!), and The Great Wave (also at the National)

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Relevant links:

Frankie Fightwell tix – 

Free Writing Workshop –

Annihilation –

Tomb Raider – 

Good Girl –

42nd Street – 

Miss Julie –

The Great Wave –


A summer of Italian drama

This summer I spent a month working as an English Tutor for ACLE. ACLE is an educational company that provides young Italian students with fun, enriching, and hands-on opportunities to learn the English language at a series of summer-time camps. The day before I set off, I was extremely excited, if a little nervous that I speak zero Italian. The language barrier was a real challenge and took a while to get used to – I found that even when I returned to England, I was talking to friends with exaggerated gestures.

Sophie (far left) with her colleagues
Sophie (far left) with her colleagues

One of the things I enjoyed most about the whole experience was seeing the effect that drama had on the children in terms of them learning English. In Italy, traditionally, school work is restricted to the classroom, and this is exactly what ACLE seek to challenge. We used drama, sports, games and creative activities to engage and inspire the children. At the end of each one week camp, the children performed a production which they devised themselves in English. These covered themes as varied as One Direction to Aliens and super heroes!

Sophie with her students
Sophie with her students

All in all it was an unforgettable experience, from which I learnt a huge amount. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work in such a beautiful country with such wonderful students and fellow tutors. I would recommend this experience to EVERYONE!!


Blackshaw Education: ‘London Pride’ Workshop with Battersea Park School

On the 9th May the Blackshaw Education team went to Battersea Park School and ran a workshop with the GCSE Drama students, based on Katie McCullough’s new play, London Pride, which was performed this year at the Wandsworth Arts Festival. We were lucky enough to be joined by Katie on the day. We handed out sample scenes from the play and Katie led a discussion on issues of immigration and citizenship, both key themes of London Pride. Reading through such scenes aloud, we asked the students to assess characters of the play and realise that one line said by a character can have a number of meanings behind it. As well as covering many issues of the play, we also focused a lot on playwrighting. We introduced key terms such as events and subtext. The students then had to read through a scene from Katie’s play and find examples of these terms. The object exercise was a memorable one. We brought with us a big bag full of random objects and each student had to pick one out. When it comes to playwrighting, ideas can come from the most simple of inspirations and grow into something much bigger. Each student had to write a character analysis for their object – whether it was a pair of glasses or a postcard. It was wonderful to see how every student threw themselves into this exercise and committed completely, so much so that some really interesting and unique characters were created. The whole workshop was a lot of fun. It was inspiring to work with such talented and dedicated students. The experience has only made me more motivated to run a lot more workshops with Blackshaw in the future! Watch this space!

– Sophie

Hunting of the Snark Workshop

Despite it being the stickiest day of the year so far, Snark rehearsals got off to a pretty cracking start. After a warm up of trying (and, in my case, dismally failing) to learn a magic trick, we kicked off with a thorough reading of the whole poem. As an actor, I’m often keen to rush through this stage and start playing with the text, but today’s read-through and discussion proved invaluable as it helped us unravel the knots of the verse and find the thread of plot that runs through the poem. It certainly gave me a much clearer idea of how our section, ‘The Barrister’s Dream’, fits in to the piece as a whole.

Thankfully, Ellie is never underprepared in the stationery department, because next up was brainstorming. The scroll of paper stretching across the floor was soon crammed with colour-coded notes on how to create a courtroom full of fantastical characters. No idea was too grand or too daft. It was liberating to know that, budget aside, our only limits are the four walls of the vestry where we’ll be performing. A good job then that we had George, our dramaturg, to make sure that we went back to the text to define each moment of action and work out where our favourite ideas could be put to best use.

The next step was to get on our feet and decide on the basic layout of the courtroom and where key moments should take place within it. The audience will play an important role in our section of the poem, which is fortunate as they will also take up most of the space in the vestry. It’s going to be a tight squeeze and we need to make sure that everyone can see as much as possible. This was also an opportune moment to have a little play with a few props and pieces of costume.

Lastly, and crucially, there were lists to make and tasks to assign. Exactly what props would we need? Who wanted to try their hand at making balloon animals? Where could we get a job lot of thimbles? There’s a lot to find, a lot to make, and a lot to do before the next rehearsal when we get down to the exciting business of creating the Snark.

Clare Harlow