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SCRATCH THAT IDEA

A TRUE SCRATCH NIGHT

A night for theatre artists of all persuasions to try out new ideas and share work in progress. No work is vetted, participants are asked to submit a title and the length of their piece. Work is accepted on a first come first serve basis making for a mixed bill where anything goes and everyone is taking a risk, participant, venue and audience.

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING

WHAT ARE WE ITCHING TO TELL YOU

Want to know what we’ve been up to? Stay up to date on all things Scratch That Idea. We’ll keep you informed about our upcoming gigs and any other news we think might interest you.

 

OPEN SOURCING THEATRE

09.10.18

Open source is a:

“collective community coming together to solve problems and to push the industry forward”.

I came across this definition of Open Source after doing a Google search, it is in relation to open source tech development but I think it can and should mean something to us as theatre makers and artists. I was brought up in devising theatre and to me Open Source ideas around sharing has a lot to teach us.

I started Scratch That because I was personally frustrated by the hoops I am made to jump through to just get a new piece of work in front of an audience. Instead of getting bitter and moaning I decided to offer an alternative. In my eyes it proved successful, I set out to prove that you can bring a selection of work together without vetting them or curating the evening. I know there are no new ideas but I am seeking to offer a refreshing alternative to the current provision and perhaps in a small way shake it up.

A lack of submissions for the next Scratch That has had me questioning the purpose of the evening and whether or not it is needed. I am still convinced it is but I am very aware of the energy and effort that goes into putting a piece together for just one evening. And you have to ask what is the point?

So, in the spirit of openness, open source ideas, innovation, etc I am opening up Scratch That to ideas. What do you want or need it to be?  Here are some suggestions:

  • An ideas forum where you can meet with other artists? A place where you can get advice about an existing idea or get involved with another project

  • An ideas swap shop where you can swap your idea for someone else’s, perhaps you are bored with an idea or don’t feel able to take it any further but think there is something there.

  • A job shop where you can meet with peers and recruit actors, writers, directors, stage managers, basically a place to pull a team together for your project

Please let me know what you think and share any of your own ideas. I will credit everyone who shares. Email me at scratchthatnight@gmail.com and/or post comments on our social media @scratchthatidea

I encourage you to get involved, if you are interested in exploring different ways of working and offering alternatives to the mainstream then get in touch.

OUR FIRST SCRATCH NIGHT

April 12th 2018

We had a great night with a real mixed bill including:

Adrian George (creator and performer): Me and my voices

John Rushton (writer), Robin Hellier (actor): The Death of Edgar Allan Poe

Paula David (writer, actor): The Forgetting of Carolann

Dan Horrigan (writer), Eleanor Felton (director), Nathalie Codsi, Emma Linley, Daniel Mosele, Tom Driver (actors): If my heart were a camera

The audience loved the variety of performances and it went a considerable way to proving our point that scratch nights should be completely open. The venue was intimate enough to offer a comfortable experience for all. The guys at the Bureau of Silly Ideas were a great help. See our social media for photos from the night. 

DO YOU WANT TO CONTRIBUTE AN IDEA?

July 29, 2025

Send us the name of your piece, working title or real. Send us its length, no more than 20 minutes but as short as you like. And you will be selected on a first come first served basis. Send it to us at:
scratchthatnight@gmail.com
If you do not get on the first night then we will put you down for the next night.

DO YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE?

July 29, 2025

Are you an actor, writer, director, stage manager interested in participating in Scratch That Idea but you don't have an idea? Send us your information and we can pass your details on anyone looking for a collaborator with your skill set. 

MAY SCRATCH THAT IDEA

May 29th 7-9pm

Did you miss our April Scratch That Idea with its great mix of original work? Don’t fret Scratch That Idea is back and once again it is at The Bureau of Silly Ideas in Brixton.

Once again we are accepting ideas on a first come first serve basis. You only have to send in a title for your piece (make one up if you don’t have one) and its length (no longer than 20 minutes) but as short as you like. Please do not send scripts or cv’s as they will not be read, we want to be as surprised as the audience and other participants.

We are after new work only. Please do not send anything that has had any form of production. 

Send your idea and info to scratchthatnight@gmail.com

DESPITE THIS OR THAT....

May 29th 2018

Despite this...
I had to cancel my Scratch tonight. This was really disappointing. I wanted to talk about why I started this scratch, why I cancelled and why I am questioning it.
I am a working class theatre artist, that is a title given to me by an older more experienced mentor. For me it fits because it encompasses all the things I am and I try to do including directing, writing, producing and performing. As a theatre artist I have chosen to make work on my own terms, this has led to some success but also to years of toiling away trying to get work in front of audiences. This has not been easy because I have always had to keep the real job going, there is no safety net for me and that is fine. I chose to enter a field that no one else in my family is interested in and one that isn't exactly stable. Ironically the skills I have acquired over the years have enabled me to teach and pass on my knowledge. The work I create is not always easy, it is not commercial but it is unapologetically honest and true. Someone told me a long time ago you should never apologise for anything you do, you should own it, 100%, warts and all.
Recently for numerous reasons, personal and professional, I decided to take a break from creating theatre.
I found that I was still itching to be involved. So, I looked around and I saw that scratch nights were still vetting contributions, still asking questions to which you don't always have answers. Now some people might say if you don't have the answers you are not ready to show. This may be partly true and I have found some questions useful as an exercise in examining what I am trying to achieve. However, for me a scratch night represents the only opportunity to show my work. It is that simple, without the financial means but with the desire and hunger I only have scratches to help me reach audiences. As we all know an idea is not worth much until you see it in front of an audience. It is only then you get your answers. You get to know if the story has legs or if the concept needs tweaking.
Now I like to look at things and say okay this is the way things are but how can I do something despite that, despite the way things are normally done how can I make a change and maybe in the process address some concerns. It occurs to me that perhaps there are other people face the same issues.
This is where Scratch That comes from and the concept that I will accept any work from anyone. That is fundamentally it, you have an idea I will show it. Why? Because of everything I said above and because I was brought up in a culture of anything goes. A scratch night should be a place where you are allowed to make mistakes which hopefully lead to answers. Now this means everyone is taking a risk artists and audiences. You pay your money and you take your chance but you also play an important in the process. I don't vet ideas because I don't want an evening made up of things I think work. I am not a curator and just because I may not like your idea doesn’t mean it has no value.
There seems to be some confusion over what a scratch is. I am not a producer. What I did was take my own money to hire a venue, one that shares my values and allowed me to do what I want and believe me they are hard to come by. I hired the venue so you can show your work in an open environment. Even though I only ask for a title and length of piece you still have to put some work in. If I get my work in a scratch I know I have to bring the team together. I rehearse it and I cast it.
Don't send in an idea and expect me to produce it. Meet me halfway, get it together and bring it. I can help to a point but if you want to see your work on stage you need to put some work in.
So, I find myself wondering is this still needed. Not sure, I think I need time but I need to hear from anyone reading this. What do you think?

A RISING STAR: CHECK OUT THE NEW FACE IN TOWN

July 29, 2025

This is your News Article. It’s a great place to update your visitors about industry news, new performances, or publish relevant announcements about your theater. News updates and informational articles can be a great way to position yourself as an authority in your field, and keep your visitors engaged. Choose a great image or photo to feature in your article or add a video for extra excitement! Make it interesting and relevant so that your readers keep coming back for more.

PLAY PREVIEW SEASON BEGINS!

July 29, 2025

This is your News Article. It’s a great place to update your visitors about industry news, new performances, or publish relevant announcements about your theater. News updates and informational articles can be a great way to position yourself as an authority in your field, and keep your visitors engaged. Choose a great image or photo to feature in your article or add a video for extra excitement! Make it interesting and relevant so that your readers keep coming back for more.

If you are not prepared to fail spectacularly you are not taking risks 

SM

 
 

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