Idle Discourse – ‘Ascending Ages’ Writing Competition

Idle Discourse will be taking an artistic residency at the historic St Augustine’s Tower in Hackney, London this autumn. The project has received Arts Council funding, and they are seeking four UK resident writers to each create an eight minute scene. If successful, the writers will have their scene presented as part of the project, and they will also receive a £300 fee.

The Project:

The Artistic Director – Dan Dawes – will be leading a team of artists in presenting ‘Ascending Ages’, a series of theatrical vignettes spanning the five floors of the tower. The team involves the composer Olly Fox, sound designer Julian Starr, and will be produced by Emma Shaw and Nina Flitman. The four writers will mostly collaborate with Dan on creating the script.

Audiences are led from the ground floor of St Augustine’s Tower, all the way to the rooftop, with a different story presented on each storey (you can see what they’ve done there).

The scenes ascend in their ages with the floors of the tower; the ground level depicts a scene in 1319, the first floor 1619, before 1869, 1969, and – finally – the present day. Inhabiting these scenes are two bell ringers at the change over of their shift. Across the ages, their relationship and conversation is similar, but the language and references they use are specific to their time – fitting the overall message that ‘everything changes, and everything stays the same’. 

The Task:

You will need to read the draft scene (written by Dan Dawes) before adapting and ‘translating’ the scene for the era of your choosing. The draft scene depicts the year 1969, so you will need to select another one of the years on offer. They are:

  • 1319
  • 1619
  • 1869
  • 2019

Please take note that the scene must not be any longer than eight minutes, the characters’ genders or ethnicities must not be stated, and that – whilst the scene must be written in English – the dialects of the eras should be adhered to. Your adaptation must also follow the overall shape of the draft scene, as well as include the final line ‘ring the bell’.

Send your script submissions in MS or pdf format to including the subject line ‘Writing competition‘. Please ensure your name and contact details as well of your chosen year is clearly written on the title page. Please note that you must be resident in the UK to apply.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and they will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

As with all of their projects, Idle Discourse actively encourage applicants of all backgrounds. They also encourage entrants who are resident in, have been resident in, or have an affinity to East London or the borough of Hackney.

Deadline: 11:45pm on 27 September 2019.

Source: BBC Writersroom

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