Write By Numbers

The One With Lots of Metaphorical Hats

I’m going to talk about hat wearing.

And that’s not just because I like hats (though I do) but because it’s something I’ve been very aware of since, just over 18 months ago, I decided to stop writing in my spare time and decided to do the thing that paid my rent in my spare time and write in my full time. Being a writer means you’ve got a lot of hats to wear.

“What do you do?” is an easy enough question. But how do I answer it?

Well, there’s my Writer Hat. I write plays. I’ve got a half written novel. I write blogs.

Then there’s my plethora of Write By Numbers Hats. I’ve got my Artistic Director Hat. I’ve got my Marketing Hat. I’ve got my Accountant Hat. I’ve got my Tea Making Hat. I’ve got my Planning Hat. I’ve got my Workshop Leader Hat.

I’ve got my Literary Associate Hat. My Dramaturg Hat. My workshop Assistant Hat.

I’ve got my Journalist Hat. I’ve got my Columnist Hat. I’ve got my Reviewer Hat.

I’ve got my Shakespeare Hat. Given that this is the hat that (most regularly) pays my rent I’m reasonably fond of this one. But it’s the one I define myself least by.

And what do all these metaphorical hats mean? Hat- hair I guess.

Having had the luxury of spending a good chunk of January/February entirely wearing my Ovid Reworked – The Brixton Project Hat I’m very aware now that I’m back to the hat swapping routine. Some of that is very exciting – I am itching to get back to work on some of those stories that are floating around my head and commit them to the keys on my laptop. My head is buzzing with new plans, new opportunities which The Brixton Project has opened up for us. But some of the hats are, I know, hats I wouldn’t necessarily choose to wear if choice were an option. They’re hats I wear, to borrow a phrase from Avenue Q, “only for now”.

But I know if I were to go back to Writers School (if such a thing exists) I would tell anyone thinking of writing to get ready for the hats.

The Road Map

There was a moment, just a moment, yesterday when Charlie and I looked at each other with something approaching terror after four hours of a planning meeting. For that meeting has (albeit with some room for manoeuvre/ collapse/ either one of us getting distracted by pretty sparkly things) set the aims of Write By Numbers for the next 12 to 18 months. There’s a lot in there that’s fantastically exciting. And there’s also a lot that means (as we knew when we started upon this adventure) that leisure time is going to be at a premium in the Whitworth/ Furness households.

All of which meant that I had to have another coffee and Charlie had to curl up into the foetal position for a brief moment or two. Then we recovered our sanity (almost) and went on our ways (in my case to fly across South London in rush hour to rescue my locked-out flatmate; it’s a glamorous life).

Whatever the next year brings (for this blog is to be the story of our company as much as it is about our ideas, and our rants and our quite puzzling obsessions) I’m booking a day in this time next year to see you all in a bar somewhere and raise my glass to crazy, fantastic, scary, liberating schemes.

And maybe, just maybe, making some art along the way…

In the beginning…

There was a blog and that blog belonged to Write By Numbers.

Write By Numbers is a new-writing theatre company based in South London and was started by myself, Corinne Furness, and Charlie Whitworth after we (like Blur) met whilst studying at Goldsmiths College. That is, I confess, probably the only way we’re like Blur. What can I say – you win some, you lose some.

This little blog of ours is the combination of far, far too many hours spent over the past six years either writing or reading blogs. So it seems entirely natural that Write By Numbers should have its own outpost on the interweb. In some ways this blog is a bit of an experiment. Basically, I read lots and lots of theatre blogs (I kind of have to, in another life I write a column about theatre blogs), both those by people reviewing or commenting and those by people who are making theatre. And I wanted to combine all of the things that I liked about those blogs, along with my own take on what I think is missing from UK theatre blogging.

So – Blogging By Numbers is not simply a marketing exercise disguised as a blog (I mention no names) but will tell the story of Write By Numbers. It’s about the things that inspire us, the opinions we want to share, the adventures we’re having. It’s about us engaging both with the people who see our work and those who may only ever know it via the internet. It’s about the theatre we’re making and the theatre we want to make.

I should probably also warn you that at some point it may be about David Tennant (my fault) or Arsenal (entirely Charlie’s) but we’ll let you know when that’s about to happen so you can go and put the kettle on while we get over it.

I’m looking forward to sharing this adventure with you.