A Tring teacher has seen success in an amateur playwriting competition with her short play.
Leonie Thompson, a biology teacher at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, had previously been involved in amateur theatre in Hertfordshire, but had never written a play before. However, after hearing about a playwriting competition, Leonie’s partner encouraged her to enter.
Speaking to TRINGnews, Leonie said: “Our fear of failure holds us back, and as you get older, you can lose the confidence to try new things. It is easy to talk yourself out of it. I very nearly didn’t send it in!”
Leonie’s play You Saw Me Standing Alone was one of the winning plays in the Once in a Blue Moon competition, organised by Ilkley Playhouse in West Yorkshire. Her creation was then brought to life on the stage.
Leonie said: “It was fascinating to see how directors interpreted the script because I didn’t specify the gender of one my characters, and that performance had the character, Sam, played by a girl. In another performance of the same play, in Harrogate, Sam was played by a neurodiverse male actor.”
Leonie has written her plays so that they can be played by all-female casts to combat the common amateur dramatics trope of male-focused roles. She also hopes that the short play format may encourage less experienced female actors to be more confident and have a go at treading the boards.
Following the successful productions of her plays, Leonie decided to self-publish her work in a collection, You Saw Me Standing Alone and Other Short Plays.
Another play from the book, Departure Lounge, will be performed at the Horsebridge Arts Centre in Whitstable next month as part of their Twisted Tails new writing show.
Leonie added: “Tring has such a vibrant performing arts scene; I would love to see my work performed closer to home and perhaps even take on a directorial role moving forward.”