When I first started Dramaworks I already knew that I wanted to run a scheme which allowed teachers to reuse the plays they had written for their own students and share them with other teachers. Why did teachers have to write their own plays? Because there were so few out there that allowed for the particular quirks of different groups – 1 boy and four girls, for instance, with good parts for each person. Or large-cast plays that are all female or heavily-weighted that way. And many other permutations, of course. Few teachers had the time to write plays for their groups so there was a pressing need for more short suitable exam scripts and plays that give multiple meaty roles for the school play. The answer I came up with was the Playshare scheme. It started small but I quickly managed to add more, particularly exam scripts. It was hard turning some hopefuls down, but I knew I had to select the best plays for the task.
Ten years on not much has changed. The need is as great, if not greater. And now an enterprising couple of young women have come up with Treepress and have invited me to put the Playshare plays up there on a microsite, flatteringly because they recognise the quality of the Dramaworks stamp and want to add it to their own newer brand. Hopefully this will mean even more choice for the hard-working drama teacher. The Treepress site is already large, and growing, and covers a large range of plays of different styles designed for differing uses. I am sure it will make a difference.
For those loyal followers of Dramaworks, this doesn’t mean Playshare has stopped – it just means that the plays are on two sites, the Dramaworks one and the microsite within the Treepress one. Do keep sending plays to me – you have two chances now of their being picked up by beleaguered teachers. Note that prices between the two sites are largely comparable. It is just that Treepress breaks down the prices into smaller components while I have always lumped the prices of script, production notes, technical cues, performance rights and photocopying rights into one figure.
If you visit the Dramaworks site, you will notice that the plays have been reorganised to make it easier to access them. I have been working hard on it for the last ten days. There are longer extracts and more of them, to give you more of a sense of the story within each play and the performing opportunities. This should make choosing easier. The plays will also soon be downloadable, as the teaching resources already are. And of course, you can still order hard copy from me, as many teachers prefer. Do have a look at the whole site and what it has to offer and tweet your comments if you belong to twitter.