Lost Typewriter started out like the best of ideas, as a conversation over a cup of coffee. Myself and my fellow writer (and actress) Niamh McGrath had been talking for months about working on a play together, and staging something in the new Ballina Arts Centre. As an actress, Niamh was dying to get her teeth into a new performance, and having worked mostly in TV for the past 7 years, I was keen to try writing something for a different medium. As it turned out we had a number of ideas that we could see working, and so it hit us that we could write a trilogy of one act plays. Niamh spoke with Sean Walsh, the manager of the Arts Centre, and he very kindly agreed to give us a temporary writing space.
For a month we showed up every morning at 10.00 and sat at our desks and we wrote. I was used to writing as an individual pursuit, but it was amazing how refreshing it was to have someone else sitting across from you to brainstorm with, to read your drafts, to help work through those moments where you might otherwise give up. Within the space of a fortnight, we had a solid draft of two plays written. I don’t think either of us had ever produced work so quickly. It really felt like it all just fell into place. All three of the plays have a very simple, stripped back setting. One takes place in a shop, one in a prison cell, and one in a swimming pool changing room. And although it wasn’t something that we had planned, all three of them have strong parts for women, and tell really powerful stories about women’s lives. About marriage. About death. About finding yourself.
Having worked as a TV producer, as well as a writer, I was conscious that to do the plays justice we needed to find a way of funding them. About the same time as we started, Business2Arts launchedwww.fundit.ie , a crowd funding mechanism for arts projects. Essentially, you set out your pitch, and a series of rewards depending on what level of funding people can give, and raise your project funding from donations of as little as ten euro. It’s a really incredible model of funding, and for us, if it works, it means that we’ll really be able to do these plays justice by hiring professional actors and a director.
We see a great future for Lost Typewriter. Trilogy is going to be the first of many new plays that we produce, but we also plan on running a series of writing workshops and courses in the West, and using our experience to give something back to our community.