FEATURE: Mhairi Ledgerwood On White Noise | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The Writers’ ARCADE is a group of emerging playwrights who meet regularly to discuss their work, share experiences and develop their skills. They have recently been awarded a grant from Arts Council England to support a ten month professional development programme.  As part of this, each writer will create a brand new one hour script that will be given a rehearsed reading at ARC. 

Writers ARCADE Rehearsed Readings will take place every Wednesday from 6 May – 24 June 2015. In this new series, we’ve asked the members of the Writers’ ARCADE to tell us more about their experiences of being involved in the group, the works they’re presenting and their hopes for the future. This time, Mhairi Ledgerwood talks about her work White Noise. Words: Mhairi Ledgerwood.

I can distinctly remember the moment I started to write.

I was in Primary School, Year 4, so I must have been seven or eight. Our class project was the Artic and we had to write a poem or a story. I wrote a poem about a Snowshoe Hare. My teacher must have liked it, so I wrote another. Soon I would regularly write poems and she would put them on the classroom wall.

So I liked writing. I didn’t know any writers. I spent hours in the Lennoxtown library, with Enid Blyton being a favourite. I graduated to the secondary school library, where in the careers section, there was one book about writing and it was about journalism. My love of pop music convinced me I wanted to be editor of Smash Hits. If only to interview Boyzone.

A week at the local paper on work experience convinced me that journalism wasn’t for me. I wanted to write stories, to write fiction. I spent my teenage years writing bad poetry. I wrote journals on our school trips to France, earning “The Samuel Pepys Award” at our end-of-trip fake awards ceremony.

“I wanted to be editor of Smash Hits. If only to interview Boyzone”

Fast forward a few years and not knowing how to go about it, or not knowing any writers, meant I was completely clueless. However, thanks my husband’s job and a move from Scotland to Darlington, I found the Creative Writing MA at Teesside University. Through Teesside University, I found the ARC. Thanks to Chrissie Petrie, a fellow Teesside graduate, the ARC started to give us scratch nights, and actors, and space and support.

The last few months have been incredible. Thanks to the arts council grant, I was paired with Vivienne Franzmann, a previous winner of The Bruntwood theatre prize. I’ve met her a few times in London where we’ve seen plays at The Royal Court and the Battersea Arts Centre. Her support has been incredible, and has helped me take my previous plays of ten minutes, up to a play lasting 60 minutes.

With White Noise I was inspired by an obsession of mine: social media. I don’t how many times I go online for “just five minutes” and bang – a whole hour of my life is gone. But I didn’t just want to write about social media. There are so many brilliant things about the way we live now, but it feels at times that we are given way too much information: just tell us what we need to know!

So please, come along on Wednesday 10th June. Support new writing. It would be great to see you, and any feedback is appreciated. Thank you!

White Noise comes to Stockton Arc on Wednesday 10th June.

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