Call for puppet show scripts with eco-oceanic themes

Marionette shop, Prague cr Judy DarleyCommonwealth Resounds are seeking an original 45-minute script to engage audiences with the challenges facing the world’s oceans.

The deadline for submissions is 15th February 2020.

This open call comes via Commonwealth Writers and aims to connect a writer from the Commonwealth to work in collaboration with the Young People’s Puppet Theatre, the Commonwealth Resounds, the Purcell School for Young Musicians, and the Commonwealth Blue Charter.

The chosen script will be interleaved with original music by exceptional high-school-age musicians, and performed with string marionettes in London and Hertfordshire in September 2020. “The selected writer will develop the script with guidance from professionals experienced in scriptwriting for puppetry.”

The ocean theme should include one or more of the issues currently being tackled by the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Groups:

  • Coral Reef Protection and Restoration
  • Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods
  • Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (marine plastics)
  • Marine Protected Areas
  • Ocean Acidification
  • Ocean and Climate Change
  • Ocean Observation
  • Sustainable Aquaculture
  • Sustainable Blue Economy
  • Sustainable Coastal Fisheries

In the first instance Commonwealth Resounds invites you to provide a summary of your proposed storyline and a description of the characters in the play, within a maximum of 500 words.

This must be submitted by 15th February 2020, and the preferred storyline will be selected by the end of February. The script will need to be completed by the middle of May 2020.

The selected writer will receive £250 on completion of the script, covering the production in September, and a further £250 royalty each time the script is used in a subsequent production. (For clarity royalties are paid per production, not per performance of a production.)

Find full details and links to useful guidelines on scriptwriting here.

Got an event, challenge, competition or call for submissions you’d like to draw attention to? Send me an email at JudyDarley(@)ICloud(dot)com.

Writing prompt – flock

Bird bath by Judy DarleyI recently happened across an advert for a beautifully crafted artificial bird, designed to be fixed onto tree branches. It felt a little like a dystopian future where all wildlife is made of metal or glass and skies are populated by fake birds with recorded song piped in. I’ll admit, it gave me a bit of a shudder.

The birdbath pictured above sits in a local Victorian cemetery, and to me fits into this idea. How would it feel to be the last remaining real wren whose best friend is sculpted from stone?

How can you make this dystopian story idea into a utopian or at least hopeful tale?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I may publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Leavings

Hot Water by Judy DarleyMy eco-story ‘Leavings’ is live on today on paragraphplanet.com. And yes, that is a photo of a dribble of hot water on our kitchen countertop, pretending to be a planet. Read the 75-word story to find out why.

I’m afraid it’s less CliFi (Climate Fiction), than an entirely true tale.

The story will only be on the site for one day before it disappears, so it really is a blink and miss it situation, which feels dauntingly apt. The tale will eventually, however appear in the Archive section, unlike our planet… Just choose December 30th to read it.

A short story – Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands by Judy DarleyI’m proud to have my ecological fable ‘Shifting Sands’ included in the Mechanics’ Institute Review 16: The Climate Issue. Such an important topic to think, write and take action about.

The MIR team have been lovely to work with, and I can’t wait to see my story in print. It will be my longest published work to date, rocking in at just over 5,000 words.

The sands, when we get to them, show evidence of those who’ve attempted to cross before – an abandoned sleigh here, a dropped backpack there. No footprints though. No bones. The winds erase or cover those each day.

The story began life in a climate fiction workshop run by Deborah Tomkins, and was inspired by a visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. It takes the form of a journey for the characters, as they explore themes of human frailty and resilience in the aftermath of the climate change crisis and plastics polluting the planet. I’d like to think it’s threaded through with hope too.

I’ve excited to meet the other authors, and the editors who’ve worked so hard to polish our words, as well as come face-to-cover with the anthology itself!

The image at the top is by Lionello DelPiccolo, who did a fabulous job of imbuing the whole anthology with stunning visual beauty. Buy your copy here.

Mechanics' Institute Review 16

Smog – a short story

Taf Estuary, mist photo by Judy DarleyThe old woman has been here every day for a week, eyeing the smog and making notes or drawings in a fat notepad that she holds on her lap.

I’m happy to share the news that my short story Smog, a teeny, tiny climate flash, has been published by Porridge Magazine.

The story involves a swingset, an old woman and a flask that may not contain tea. Read Smog in full here.

Writing prompt – extinction

Jam spoon cr Judy DarleyThere’s been a lot in the news recently about the world losing its first mammal species to climate change. The creature in crisis was a little rodent called a melomy, which used to live on an island near the Great Barrier Reef, but died out due to cataclysmic weather that destroyed their habitat.

It’s a scary harbinger of the losses to come. This week, I suggest you write a tale on this theme, but give it a twist by a) writing about the extinction of human beings from the point of view of another species, or b) by detailing the extinction of an inanimate object, along the lines of: “Scientists today confirmed the death of the last jam spoon. This selfless and useful species is now declared extinct.”

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.

Writing prompt – future

Wind turbines, Colorado. Photo by Judy DarleyI recently attended a workshop run by Bristol Climate Writers as part of Bristol Festival of Literature. Deborah Tomkins, the workshop coordinator, invited us to think about the things that scare us about the future and then write a utopian story or poem in response.

I invite you to do that too. Think about anything that scares you about the future, whether that’s rising sea levels, drought, famine, or simply your own old age. Then write a piece that contains an antidote or solution to that dread, or a suggestion of better times ahead, however fantastical.

For example, in the story of Noah’s ark, a dove carrying an olive leaf offered the hope that land was nearby.

What image of hope can you dream up or devise?

If you write or create something prompted by this, please send an email to judydarley(at)iCloud.com to let me know. With your permission, I’ll publish it on SkyLightRain.com.