I’d been writing short stories on and off for years, without any success, when I happened to hear an interview on local radio with a well-known author. Her name escapes me now, but she said that one of the biggest mistakes would-be authors make is to stick to one particular form, no matter what. In my case this was short stories and a couple of failed novels. Her advice was so convincing I decided to have a stab at a one-act stage play. The result was ‘Chalk for Cheese’, the first play in this collection. When my wife read it, she stated enthusiastically, ‘Now that’s what you should be doing!’ I wrote a couple of three-act, ‘full fat’ stage dramas, ‘Stitching the Cherry’ being the second play here. By now I was a member of a local playwrights’ support group run by the Mercury Theatre in Colchester and working on something a bit more ambitious. The result was the third play in this collection, ‘Walking Through Wire’. Unfortunately, local theatres were largely unsupportive of my attempts to produce this play, and I was forced to go further afield, eventually teaming up with Tom Begley and Susan Cummins of the Irish Network of the Performing Arts in London. An early read-through highlighted clear weaknesses in Act Three, so I tore it up and wrote a completely new ending. Tom agreed to direct, actors were auditioned and hired, and a venue was found at the Hen & Chickens Theatre Bar in Islington. I took on the role of producer, and after months of rehearsals and frequent train journeys to and from Colchester, I finally realised my ambition to stage a play I had written. It’s hard to describe the emotions I experienced as the lights went up and there were my characters speaking my lines. I will be eternally grateful to the cast and crew of ‘Walking Through Wire’ - as well as to my dear wife, Kaushali, of course – but I also have to say a big thank you to Donna and Robin of DT Film Productions who filmed the Saturday matinee performance in its entirety. I lost money overall, as so many unknown writer/producers do, so it turned out to be the beginning and end of my life in the theatre. But I think my skills and confidence as a writer were greatly enhanced by playwriting. Subsequently, I wrote for the screen and radio, too, tried my hand at self-publishing, flash fiction and film script supervising, all of which can be found on my website.
I hope you enjoy reading these plays as much as I enjoyed writing them. My only regret is that I didn’t get the chance to do more, but other avenues have opened up for me instead, and so far the trapdoors have remained metaphorical.