Reasons For Listing

WBN @ Ignite 2014

We’ve been excited about this for some time, but, since the Ignite programme launched today we can properly announce that we’ll be taking two shows to Exeter this year.

First up we’ll be premiering Blueprint at the Bike Shed from 3rd – 5th June. We developed Blueprint during our residency at the Bike Shed last autumn so, really, there’s no other venue we’d want it to start its adult life in. Continuing our preoccupation with how and why people tell stories, in Blueprint we’re exploring how a character named Kate narrates her life story (all filtered by her brain in the moment before she dies). It also includes some physics, a stopwatch and some distinctly disturbing Mark Owen masks…

Second up we’ll be doing a one off performance of Joseph Mills Presents…Reasons for Listing: 16 Facts and One Story About Things That Make Me Happy at Exeter Library at 4pm on the 4th June. As well as being a love letter to libraries, this show also means that anyone who saw Beneath the Albion Sky last year and would like to spend some more time with Andy Kelly telling them a story has the opportunity to do so.

It’s probably safe to say that, such is our all-consuming love for Ignite after our adventures there last year with Albion, even if we hadn’t been invited back we’d be turning up. Plus this year they even have THEIR OWN FESTIVAL ALE. Seriously, can you imagine a better festival?

Being a Freelancer

Life has been (voluntarily) stressful of late what with the ‘running a theatre company whilst trying to make a living with lots of freelance jobs and also trying to have a life’ sort of thing. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or repeatedly kicking myself for all the mistakes I constantly repeat, I thought I’d write (in true Joseph Mills style) 16 facts I need to come to terms with about being a freelancer:

1. I will always have a home full of clutter, from books and workshop plans to random props, balloons and bits of string.
2. I will spend 1000s of hours a year on trains.
3. I will not be paid for these hours so should spend them reading high quality fantasy.
4. I will take on too much work. ‘Well, I’m in Hammersmith til 12 so I should be able to get to Wimbledon for a workshop at 2 then back to Hampstead for a meeting at 5pm, no problem’.
5. I will underestimate the emotional impact of my work.
6. I will have a complex love-hate relationship with my smartphone. I LOVE that I can read BBC News when I’m bored, turn on spotify and search for a song on the spur of the moment in a workshop, and use google maps to find a school when I’m running late. I HATE receiving work emails on the move, rubbish battery life, and google maps’ occasional lies!
7. I will forget I have to plan each session I do/meeting I have so I have to spend aforementioned travel time planning.
8. I cannot commit to regular evening activities.
9. I will go and see lots of shows that friends/colleagues are in (sometimes for free).
10. I will sometimes remember that I AM freelance and it’s OK to take a 2hour lunch!
11. I will get invited to awesome networking events and I go as me, not representing anyone else!
12. I can have creative meetings at midnight and enjoy them (although this mostly comes with living with WBN!)
13. I will constantly forget that if I work 20 days without a break my body will rebel and make me ill.
14. I will struggle to understand the concept of ‘the weekend’ and ‘payday’.
15. At the start of each new project I will completely forget what went wrong on the last one and remain steadfastly optimistic that this new project will be THE BEST EVER!
16. Whenever I get stressed I need to remember that being a freelancer is (usually) something that makes me happy.

OK, feeling a bit better now. Onwards!

The List of Things That Made WBN Happy (Scarborough Edition)

Last week we (Corinne, Estelle and our splendid actor Andy) took Reasons For Listing up to Scarborough as part of the Scarborough Literature Festival. In keeping with the piece, therefore, we’re going to document the experience via a list of things that made us happy…photo (21)

Corinne teaching Andy about what happens when you put caramel waffles on top of coffee.

Andy taking approximately 60 seconds to “improve” the process by speeding up insulation of said caramel waffle with the aid of a coffee cup lid.

Line runs in Coach F. East Coast Trains – you are welcome.

Completing the Guardian Quick Crossword between York and Malton (and only, possibly, making up one word).

Tea and coffee making facilities in our hotel room.

The sea! The sea!

The sea! The sea!

Andy spending five minutes taking a photo of himself taking a photo of the view.

Seaside chips.

Getting soaked by a wave on our first walk by the sea front (this possibly made Andy happier than Corinne who spent the next 60 seconds yelling  “THIS IS INAPPROPRIATE” impotently in the direction of the sea).

Yorkshire-priced rounds.

Andy and Corinne timing meeting Estelle’s train to perfection.

Finding a cooked breakfast for under four pounds. (Sensing a theme here?)

Scarborough Literature FestivalHow lovely and well organised Scarborough Central Library was, including bringing us lots of tea.

Finding Joseph’s desk by the window in the reference area.

Having ten minutes post line run to entertain ourselves with The Books. (Estelle went for checking our surnames in “Who was Who” whilst Andy found out the origins of the word “Bristol”)

Our audience. Including them being the first to, en masse, say “hello” back to Joseph.Reasons @ Scarborough Library

Everyone who took the time to stay around afterwards to tell us something that made them happy, ask questions and talk about Joseph.Things That Make Us Happy...

Corinne’s friend Val taking charge and finding us a coffee shop for, well, coffee and cake and suchlike when Corinne, Andy and Estelle were partaking in what can only be described as faffing.

Scones and Jam and Cream.

Estelle and Corinne being humoured by the woman behind a handmade chocolate counter when they spent five minutes choosing 7 chocolates to take back to London for Charlie.

The area of Scarborough which we labelled “the charity shop quarter” and where Estelle found a new jacket and Andy came down with full-on-consumer-fever caused by a pair of brogues and a copy of Pride and Prejudice.


Estelle’s face at discovering the name of the ice cream parlour on Scarborough seafront (one for the 10th Doctor fans…)photo (22)

And then finding the TARDIS…photo (28)

Tea and quiet time in the hotel.

MECCA (26)




Andy working out the “Bingo Maths”.

Going t’pub having not won anything at bingo and, for Andy and Corinne at least, partaking in MANY double shots of spirits.

Corinne getting the barman to agree to them staying in the pub a whole 40 minutes after he called last orders.

Going on a 1.00am adventure.

Standing on Scarborough beach at 1.15am and everything being just a little bit beautiful.

2.00am tea and trashy BBC3 tv.

Tea and teacakes for breakfast.

Spending too much time in a second hand book emporium.

Finally, finally, getting some proper Yorkshire fish and (31)

And, did we mention the sea?photo (18)

WBN News: We’ve got shows coming up!

Write By Numbers are going to be busy bees in the next couple of months, so I thought I would just let you people who read blogs know about a couple of projects and shows that are happening soon:

Joseph Mills Presents…Reasons For Listing: 16 Facts and One Story About Things That Make Me Happy

Reasons for Listing is going to be popping up in a few places in the next couple of months. It is first going to be at Jill in Sydenham on the 16th and 17th March at 12.30pm, 2.00pm and 4.00pm.

The venue is part of the SEE3 Portas Pilot in Sydenham, Kirkdale and Forest Hill. The space is well worth a look, especially as such Portas Pilots might end being the future of our  High Streets… (I’ll let Corinne blog about that properly in the future as I’m sure she will have plenty to say about such things – especially as she has managed to get herself involved in this one.)

We are also excited that Reasons will be part of Scarborough Literary Festival, with Joseph doing his presentation in a Library for the first time (details here if you are in the North come the 11th April). It is great that Reasons is getting a run out in a Library. Way back, when Corinne and myself (with invaluable help from our friend Olly Hawes) started developing and working on Reasons, we always felt it would have a home in libraries so it is exciting that is starting to happen.

Cold Writing

We have also got another Cold Writing festival coming up. If you fancy applying to be a writer, you have just one day to get to it! If you fancy seeing what plays some lucky writers come up with (which I will maniacally direct in one day), then please come along to the performances. These will be happening at the Jill in Sydenham, just the week after Reasons is there, on 21st March at 7.30pm and on Saturday 23rd at 12.30pm and 3pm.

We gave got other coals in the fire as well which we will let everyone know about as and when. In the mean time, hopefully we will see you at one of the above!

Charlie @ Write By Numbers

Reason No. 2

It was one of those quirks of timing that on the day that my (and indeed Charlie’s) results for our Masters degrees were released we found ourselves putting Reasons For Listing through its paces for the first time.

I’ll be honest – I love and hate first readings in probably equal measures. Maybe it’s just me as a writer but the desire to crawl under the table at some point is fairly overwhelming. Because – however witty or poignant or clever you think your words to be when you sit in front of your computer screen chuckling to yourself there’s nothing like putting them in the mouth of an actor to make you reach for the delete key. Or the rubbish bin, depending on which is nearer (the latter also being handy for the overwhelming desire to vomit). Conversely, when you’re not jabbing things into your eyes, there are also those moments which just work. And when you hear those for the first time – and everyone in the room stops and has the same feeling too – there’s a tiny (okay, a huge) amount of joy in that.

Aside from the time a few years ago when I got together a group of friends in the backroom of a pub, made sure everyone had alcohol in their glasses and got them to read the first draft of a play I was writing, the first reading of Reasons has probably been my most pain-free of first readings. It’s a pleasure really to sit around a table and know pretty much instantly that everyone is on the same page (literally and metaphorically). Putting a script at what is a relatively early stage in its development (in my strange numbering system the script for today’s rehearsal was labelled 0.75) is a new experience for me. But I felt very much when Charlie and I decided to start Write By Numbers it was because we (and other writers we knew) wanted to work in a different way. It feels entirely natural and liberating to open the script up at this point, a collaboration between all of the people sitting round the table.

And, wonderfully, it pretty quickly became apparent that we’ve got a bloody brilliant actor at the centre of it playing Joseph.  Which always helps.

Now, after a day of imagining all the places Reasons could go, tomorrow it’s back to the computer and, word by word, getting down to finishing Draft 1.0.