DAYS WITHOUT – a moving new short film by playwright John Binnie

Playwright/ director John Binnie has been a leading light in Scottish theatre for nearly 40 years. From his re-established Clyde Unity Theatre company, to writing the very first AIDS-related play (the poignant and beautiful KILLING ME SOFTLY, awarded at the 1985 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (where we first met and became friends), he has always been a writer to caringly uncover the poignant humanity pulsing within the authenticity of ordinary life.

Now his wide-ranging talents have lead to a film, written and directed by Binnie himself, entitled DAYS WITHOUT. Set during the first days of lockdown in 2020, Myrna, an elderly mum in a nursing home, and her middle-aged gay son Russ struggle with self-isolation in their own special ways.

Russ feels history repeating, recalling the AIDS pandemic of thirty years earlier and sees strong parallels between the suffering of his first love, Cal, and the impact of the current Covid pandemic on his mum’s well-being.

The film is written and directed by John Binnie, with Graham Crammond, Ann Scott Jones and Scott Miller. Director of photography was Kevin Walls, music by Tommie Travers, production design by Robin Mitchell, stage management by Linda Service, movement consultant Jane Simpson and dramaturgy by Mari Binnie.

The film was supported by Creative Scotland through National Lottery funding.

You can watch the film by clicking the link below.

Sir David Hare in conversation in free event

Next Tuesday 20th April at 2pm Eastern Time, 6 pm UK time, the ever-eloquent and much-respected writer Sir David Hare will be in conversation, in an event organised and hosted by the National Arts Club of America.

Described by The Washington Post as “the premiere political dramatist writing in English”, he has written over 30 stage plays & 30 screenplays for film & TV.

His plays include Plenty, Pravda (with Howard Brenton), The Secret Rapture, Racing Demon, Skylight, Amy’s View, The Blue Room, Via Dolorosa, Stuff Happens, The Absence of War, The Judas Kiss, The Red Barn and The Moderate Soprano. For cinema, he has written The Hours, The Reader, Damage, Denial, Wetherby, and The White Crow, among others, while his television films include Licking Hitler, The Worricker Trilogy, Collateral, and Roadkill.

In a millennial poll of the greatest plays of the 20th century, five of the top 100 were Hare’s.

Like Judi Dench, Richard Eyre, and Ian McKellen, three of our recent guests on NAC @ Home, Sir David is a recipient of the Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts. It was in the Broadway production of Amy’s View, written by Sir David and directed by Sir Richard, that Dame Judi won the 1999 Tony Award for her stellar role as Esme. And filmgoers will recall a brilliant performance by Sir Ian (in a powerful scene with Meryl Streep) in the cinematic version of Sir David’s Plenty.

The NAC invites you to join them for a wide-ranging dialogue, hosted by NAC Member John F. Andrews, president and founder of the Shakespeare Guild.

The event is planned to last one hour and tickets can be obtained through this link here (subject to availability). Although tickets are free, a donation is requested to go towards the NAC’s support of young artists.

The NAC says: “Please help us support artists. By making a donation with your registration, you contribute directly to the NAC Artist Fellows program, helping to further the careers of up-and-coming artists.”

Founded in 1898, the mission of The National Arts Club is to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts.

This program will be hosted via Zoom. Registrants will receive additional details after registration.

ROYAL COURT WRITERS’ SCHEME – free courses for aspiring writers – apply by June 26th!

Royal Court Theatre. Image courtesy Royal Court website.

Great news for all aspiring playwrights, whatever your level of experience. Applications for the Royal Court’s Introduction to Playwriting groups are now open and close at midday on Wednesday 26 June.

This is a myth-busting introduction to theatre writing, led by writers currently associated with the Royal Court. Running one evening a week for eight weeks, there are three separate intakes starting in August and October this year, and January 2020. All you need to have is an interest in writing and the thirst to write a play. At the end of the course participants are encouraged to submit a play for feedback from Royal Court readers.

Places are assigned based on potential; writers are not expected to have extensive experience of writing for stage. Application is through a short extract of written work.

There is no fee for attending the course, and The Royal Court say that they are often able to help successful applicants with travel costs into London too, so don’t let your location put you off.

This could be the break you have waited for. Make sure you apply! Details here