Summer/Autumn/Winter 2021

Well, if my earlier post Winter 2020/Spring 2021 was all about writing my episode of Tales from Malory Towers, then Summer 2021 was when I got to hear it for the first time. 

Hearing your words out loud for the first time is always wonderful.  

Whether that be in a rehearsal room for stage, or through my headphones on the BBC Sounds app. Both glorious, both nerve-wracking, but also bloody marvellous. Writing is such a lonely beast, but the exciting part is when the script is handed over for collaborators to do their jobs. 

I was at work when I received the email that informed me that Malory Towers was now live. I grabbed my phone and headphones and found an empty classroom so I could listen to it all on my own. I didn’t want any distractions spoiling my first listen. 

To say that I was over the moon with the production is an understatement. I was incredibly proud and still am satisfied with The Bomb. If only I could time-travel and visit Clayton Green library, where nine-year-old me used to sit and read the Malory Towers books. I would tell her that one day she’ll write her own story for Irene, Jean and Gwendoline. It would be played out on the BBC and lots of youngsters would also love that school and those girls like she did. 

Younger me would never believe it. Writing was something that only posh people could do. Not people who live on Clayton Brook estate. It should never have been like that. 

Straight from delivering my Malory Towers script, I sought what I hoped would be another writing commission. I was invited to pitch for an audio story. After months of finessing my treatment, I was given the go-ahead late in the year to go to script. Watch this space. 

In November, I took part in a 48 Hour Filmmaking challenge at 53 Two in Manchester. Six directors, six writers, many actors, a prop and a line of dialogue were the key ingredients for cooking up a short film. We met at 7pm on a Friday night, and by 7pm on Sunday night, we watched the screening of the six films made. It was a hoot. My film is called Through the Keyhole, which can be viewed here. Ours was a small team, two actresses. My personal goal was to ensure that these actresses had a fun script to perform and that I wanted to hear laughter in the screening. Covid was a tough time, and I hadn’t heard collective live laughter in years. Mission accomplished.

A huge personal upheaval for me came in June 2021 when I was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I wrote about it here on Medium, but this has been a big upheaval emotionally and mentally. It took a number of months to fully process the diagnosis, followed by an intense grieving period.  

Having the diagnosis has meant that I now understand why many things are difficult for me to do. From a creative point of view, one of those things is my inability to write during my lunch break. Many of my friends can do this. I would love to be able to do this, but it’s always been a struggle. Now I know why. My job has evolved, but it’s pretty much a data processing job now, and that sort of work exhausts a neurodivergent brain. So, instead of being frustrated with me, I now understand that it is nothing to do with ambition or drive. I just cannot switch tasks as easy as neurotypical brains. And that is okay. 

The same with writing projects. The amount of conversations that I have where writers are able to juggle multiple projects astounds me. I can focus on one at a time.  

I’ve berated myself for the past 14 years, constantly comparing myself with others. What a waste of energy that was. Whilst the diagnosis has been tough in a number of ways, one thing that is positive is I’m kinder to myself and stop pushing myself to exhaustion in order to keep up with everyone else. 

Time To Talk Day 2020

I’m delighted that my new short play BLACK DOG will be going for walkies as part of ‘Time to Talk Day’ on Thursday 6th February 2020.

My good friend Scott, a fellow northerner, fab writer, supportive, encouraging and overall nice person is putting on an evening of short plays to raise money for the charity ‘Time to Change’.

Time to Change charity focus their work on reducing stigma and getting people to talk about mental health.

The evening will showcase six new short plays that look at the theme of mental health in an entertaining and engaging way.

Whilst my play ‘Black Dog’ looks at the impact of depression/suicidal thoughts on those closest to us, I could easily have written about my own issues with mental health over the years.

I suffered with crippling anxiety and panic attacks in my late teens and twenties. It was one of the worst times of my life. Whilst I should have been enjoying life, I was agoraphobic as a result of these attacks.

In fact, due to my anxiety and panic disorder I was housebound for six months aged twenty. I got off two aeroplanes as I was terrified of panicking. I avoided supermarkets and queues for over ten years. I quit university six months into a course as I was too scared to do the presentations (and there was no support for mental health issues back in the 1990s). It affected my whole life. For decades. What helps me is meditation, exercise and breathing techniques. It’ll always be there but I’m aware of when I’m prone to these episodes now.

Anyway the show must go on. And it will be. Thursday night. 7.30pm at The King’s Arms, Salford. Only ten tickets left and they are available to purchase at

Farewell 2017

A belated happy new year if you are reading this.

One of my goals for 2018 is to blog every quarter.

I’ve been checking out other writers websites to see what content they generally post.

Firstly, because I’m dead nosy and secondly that I’ve become quite militant with my writing time. I’ll divulge more about that when I post about my current regime of #100daysofwriting.

I enjoy reading what my fellow writers have been up to each two to three months of the year. So, I’ll be trying hard to do that too.

First update will be posted during the early few days of April.

Now I need to get off my ass and do stuff that I can write about. Plus I need to emerge with a bang from the post-Christmas hibernation that seems to be calling me during these cold, wintery nights.

But in the meantime, I thought that I would write about 2017 as it proved to be filled with a few highs and a lot of lows.

January 2017 began with a meeting with a television production company as a result of a script that I sent to a producer there. It was a good experience for me, but at the time I had nothing to pitch for the telly. I’ve been concentrating my writing on radio and stage. But, every meeting is a valuable contact who when the time is right I will go back to.

In February I was invited to a second storylining workshop for a well known northern continuing drama series. It was a joy to sit in a room for a whole day and talk about the soap, the characters and then write a story document. I received excellent feedback on the back of it and found the whole experience to be super-productive for me.

I also spent a week in Spain with three other female writer friends which was one of the best things I’ve done. There was something truly magical about being with amazing women and I came away from it a much better person.

At the beginning of April I received one of those rejections which completely floored me. The writing life is one hundred rejections to one yes, okay that might be slightly exaggerated but you get the idea. I can’t even remember what this one was as I submit my work to so many outlets.  But the blow was tough and I remember taking a couple of weeks away from writing and wondering whether to keep going.

Then I received a wonderful email from a radio producer which changed my mind and thrust me back into my creative world. Someone liked my work and invited me in for a chat. The discussions are still ongoing as I write so I won’t divulge too much on here, but the rarity of a yes to something does give a writer a sense of validation.

July was a huge month for me. My stageplay Bleeding with Mother was in the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival and it was a bloody brilliant production. I retained the original cast members and brought in Emma Bird as director who is talented, friendly and absolutely delivered the story that was in my head when I wrote the play several years ago. It was my debut as a producer which was challenging at times. However, it was great to be in charge of production as I wanted it to be as professional as possible. We even got nominated for Best Drama at the Greater Manchester Fringe Awards, and I got runner-up for Best New Writing.

Three days after the curtain went down on Bleeding with Mother, I went on a three week road trip to USA. From rehearsal rooms in Manchester to driving down the Pacific West Coast Highway. Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA and Vegas were some of the stops. Highlight was visiting Santa Cruz (aka Santa Carla in The Lost Boys) and even better for me that my boys were equally as geeky about visiting it.

I loved the outdoor camping in Washington state. Picturesque lakes, trees and little towns. I wasn’t so keen on LA and Vegas where I felt there was something missing. A soul perhaps.

In September I was shortlisted, interviewed and given a place on the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Playwright’s Programme. A 12 month development with this fabulous theatre which was co-incidently the first time I’d gone to a theatre as a 17 year old A’level English Literature student.

I also participated in Hyde Festival Theatre‘s 24 Hour Plays. On a cold, dark Friday night I drove to Hyde at 10pm to meet four actors and four props. I then went home and wrote through the night to produce a 15 minute play. The script was delivered at 8am and the actors rehearsed through the day and performed to a packed out audience that night. What a rollercoaster that was. I was having nightmares for the week before the event. I kept dreaming that I would fall asleep at the keyboard and have nothing to present in the morning. Luckily, it was all good on the night thanks to strong coffee and haribo starmix.

October saw me back in London and observing a real-life writers room experience which was superb. It’s made me even more determined to keep doing what I love to do.

The remainder of the year was mostly reading and being all consumed by a busy day job. Thankfully a rested Christmas brought with it some much needed down-time to start writing a new play. Watch this space.

Countdown to the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival

Hello world.

The first blog post carries with it so much pressure.

Be witty, say something outstanding, be different, make a bold statement.

Here’s the ‘bold statement’ then.

I have exciting news.

My fantastic, funereal farce Bleeding with Mother is part of this years Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.

BWM revised May 2017 poster

We open on the 4th July at 7pm at Theatre 53Two. The hottest new theatre space in the city of Manchester, and the perfect location to resurrect ‘Mother’

Following on from the success of the previous production last year, I am delighted to have obtained the original cast.

Excitingly, director Emma Bird is a welcome recruit to the Bleeding team fresh from directing our very own Randall (Pete Gibson) in his monologue performed in North West Wonders.

Rehearsals began this weekend so please come back to my website as I’ll ensure that I keep you up to date. This year I have the added pressure of producer so if it all goes wrong……well that’ll be the plot for the next play that I write.

It would be wonderful to see as many people as possible for our Bleeding fantastic show.

Performances are on Tuesday 4th July, Wednesday 5th July and Thursday 6th July at 7pm. To buy them click here.

There will also be limited copies of the playtext available to purchase on the night.