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Get A Year of FREE Drama, Leadership and Enterprise Modules in Your School!

Fourth Wall is offering Birmingham schools the opportunity to gain a years worth (35 weeks) of fully-funded drama, leadership and enterprise workshops!

 

Choose a combination from our six modules below (to the total of 35 weeks) and, yes, it is all free!

 

  • Devising Module (15 weeks)

  • Key Concepts Module (10 weeks) (Story, characterisation, conflict/contradiction, the basics of performing)

  • Arts Enterprise Module (8 weeks)

  • Workshop Leadership Module (8 weeks)

  • Storytelling and Scriptwriting Module (8 weeks)

  • Spoken Word Module (5 weeks)

 

To find out how your school can apply, simply drop us an email on info@fourthwalltheatre.co.uk or call us on 07806769585. 

 

 

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Fly On The Wall - Post 2

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Fly On The Wall - Post 2

See the original Red Brick article here.

Hello! Welcome to our second blog on the activities and news of Fourth Wall.

 

Fourth Wall is a social enterprise based in Birmingham that provides the opportunity for aspiring artistic practitioners to set up their own theatre company, and connects budding actors and actresses to the company right for them.

 

Launch of new company

 

We’re very excited to tell you about the launch of another new company supported by Fourth Wall and ran by two students from Birmingham City University (awks…)

 

Our new company is based in Longbridge, Birmingham, and is for 5-11 year olds. We launched last weekend and have had a great response with 13 people for the first week (very exciting!)

 

For those interested in the marketing side, our promotion mainly consisted of working with local media outlets such as the award winning hyperlocal blog B31 Voices, and e-leafleting through social media (check us out on our social networks sites – we’re now onto most – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram – details below!)

 

As it’s been our very first week, the company focused on ice-breakers and drama games (can’t beat a good drama game) to help them make friends and get comfortable with the company.

 

The company managers stated the main challenge was having parents there watching (a lot of pressure when they’re paying for a service). For the older companies, this does not happen so was something different that the company managers had to deal with!  They stated that after a while it felt like they weren’t there, however.

 

Activities of other company in Longbridge

 

We also have another company running in Longbridge for 11-18 year olds.

 

We had an issue with venue so had to cancel the session (Boo hiss!). The venue which we work from couldn’t accommodate our new company, so the older 11-18 company is looking for a new venue which is more affordable.

 

Our main reasons for moving are that the venue we use (The Factory Young People’s Centre) is an attractive venue and very appealing to new young people who join the company. However the 11-18 year old company is now in the rehearsal stage, so it simply doesn’t need to be attractive for new members, as they now have a consistent and committed core group that are simply rehearsing.

 

These things may sound like small considerations – but trust us, venue is key. It can be the difference between 3 and 30 members, and making a loss or a profit.

 

CEO in India

 

Our CEO Dan Bridgewater has been in India the past couple of weeks.

 

He was out in Mumbai working with and learning from social enterprises to help improve Fourth Wall and social enterprise in the UK. Dan was part of a group working with the Birmingham Leadership Foundation and funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Dan talks about Mumbai

 

“It’s a crazy city with opportunities at every turn. The city and country is at a moment of high growth, so there is a lot of potential money, contacts, clients and people looking to try new things out there. It is a city of extremities – one day I was working in schools with deprived young people, the next we were bartering in the markets, the next we were on sky scrapers surrounded by slums networking with millionaires! The city can only be described as crazy”

 

We’ll be back in a couple of weeks to give you more of a Fly on The Wall of what we’re doing. In the meantime do please follow what we’re doing by following us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fourthwalltheatrenetwork,on Twitter at @FourthWall_TN, on Instagram: FourthWall_TN (www.instagram.com/fourthwall_tn) and Pinterest: FourthWallPin (www.pinterest.com/fourthwallpin/)

 

 

 

Tim Roberts – Communication Intern

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Writers' Relay 2 (Instalment 3) - Jason Timmington - Theme: "If Something Was Missing, This Would Be It"

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Writers' Relay 2 (Instalment 3) - Jason Timmington - Theme: "If Something Was Missing, This Would Be It"

This post is the third of four instalments for the story 'If Something Was Missing, This Would Be IT'.  Read the first instalment to this story here. Read the second instalment to this story here.

 

 

That question anchored itself to my mind, it became real. What next? Where do I go from here? I guess, to have discovered somebody who understands you, someone who eradicates your loneliness, it speaks volumes... however, I simply desired more and thrived to find others who experienced life in a unique manner. 

 

When I returned home from my monumental day, I told my mother about my 'discovery' (I would now associate this word with the essence of happiness embedded in my memory from today's events). 
"She can taste words mom, just like I can picture the words in my head!" I revealed with buoyancy.
"Taste words? That's ridiculous Nousha, you can't possibly believe that's true," she replied, administering a hurtful response. "You really are a funny mick," she has referred to myself by this name before when I was 8, but this time she didn't smile, she glared intimidatingly. 

 

I stared at her in disbelief, pausing to paint a picture in my mind of the exact words my new friend delivered before responding. The picture gradually became exposed in my mind, it whispered; "I accept who you are, relax." I could not relax at this point, the anger I possessed brewed continuously as I exploded;


 "She accepted me, so you should accept her!" the room feel silent. "H-h-h-ow, " I began to stutter as I attempted to construct a verbally suitable sentence to my mother, "d-d-d-are you say it's ridiccuulouss?" during my delivery of this question a tear dripped down my face as I began to breath heavily in the anticipation of inevitably being shouted at. 

 

"Nousha, Nousha!" she shouted. As soon as she said my name, the anger reappeared causing ghastly flavours to be forced upon my tongue. I hated it. I closed my eyes and clenched my fists to maintain composure, she continued, "How dare you use that tone with me? I'm your mother, start treating me with respect!"


I couldn't restrain my anger any longer but I wasn't able to establish an intellectual response, all I could decifer in my mind was a subtle "no" that escaped out of my mouth. I turned and drifted upstairs to my room. 

 

The next morning I visited my friend, she could sense the anxiety that was flowing through my vains. How was I supposed to tell her that my mom thought she was a liar? What if she savored an awful taste that would stay with her forever? I couldn't put who through that. I wouldn't dare put her through that. 

 

I decided against telling Alice (her name),creating excuses to the questions she asked, particularly changing the subject...

 

"Alice? Do you ever wonder if there are anymore people like us?"
"What do you mean, 'like us'?"- Alice seemed confused in her reply.
"Being different. Having these abilities to see words and taste words. Don't you ever wonder? I questioned again.
"Of course, but we'll never find out, will we?" I noticed a glint in her eye, I could tell that she wanted to join me on my quest, my quest to find out how experience is experienced. 

 

"Let's find out..." 

 

 

 

Writers' Relay 2 | Post 3

Writer: Jason Timmington

Profile:  Jason Timmington is 17 years old. He enjoys writing short stories as a hobby as it lets him be creative in other aspects other than performing /acting which is his real passion. Jason is a member of a Fourth Wall theatre group, and emphasised that he was keen to writer for the relay as he thought it would be great to take part in another area of Fourth Wall and work alongside other incredible writers. 

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Writers' Relay 2 (Instalment 2) - Aysha Begum - Theme: "If Something Was Missing, This Would Be It"

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Writers' Relay 2 (Instalment 2) - Aysha Begum - Theme: "If Something Was Missing, This Would Be It"

This post is the second of four instalments for the story 'If Something Was Missing, This Would Be IT'. See the first instalment to this story here

It was a Tuesday afternoon, Birmingham was waving goodbye to the final whispers of a dull June and a summery July skipped gracefully through the doors of a city buzzing with excitement. The summer holidays were almost here and I had come across my first pearl amongst the thousands of oysters floating through town…

She told me she could taste words. She feels them in her mouth, she explained to me how every word had a different texture, taste and sound. We sat on a bench peacefully watching a crowd of Brummy’s surge through the little balloon of busyness we like to call our city centre.

“I see words” I told her whilst gathering selective memories from the little pocket nesting in the back of mind where I kept old stories.

“I can’t quite explain it” I carried on whilst trying to picture how my next few sentences would flow into an understandable string a normal mind could process. “Basically, I was born unable to speak English in England. I was taught in year 1. A kind lady would draw pictures to help me understand stories, sentences and words. I guess I just never stopped doing that. It’s why I take a little longer to reply than others. I’m not processing information, I’m trying to get information out. My mind follows cognitive thought processes, I digest information in the form of images like a computer does machine code before spitting it out as high level language.” I shook my head with unease knowing my subject specialism at University was hindering my ability to explain my thoughts in a humane way.

“Take ‘internet’ for example” I finally mumbled after an agonizing breath of silence “before I can utter the word ‘internet’ I picture it to remind myself of the word I’m looking for. I know what I want to say, I just take a while pushing myself to say it.” I paused for a moment thinking about the word perched at the tip of my tongue “interrrnettt” I articulated slowly “it’s a yellow ring of knowledge surrounding a serene blue ‘e’, that is how I know how to say the word” I watched a smile merge across her mouth and she nodded as in to say “I accept who you are, relax”.

We chatted excitedly over cooling milkshakes, she pressed the ice cold plastic cup against her forehead to calm her body from July’s explosion of heat. She understood what I was saying even if I didn’t quite know how to word my thoughts and she explained further about how she first choked on a word. For the first time, I didn’t feel lonely when it came to words, if something was missing from my life…she would be it.

I skipped, danced and twirled home excited to have found my first discovery. I squealed happily trying to picture every word just like the young girl had told me to. A 19 year old who pictures her words…oh how exciting!

What Next?

 

 

Writers' Relay 2 | Post 2

Writer: Aysha Begum

Profile:

Aysha Begum aka "Miss Adventure" is an occasional poet/writer based in Birmingham. With one foot in the business world and the other in the arts world, her poetry is an escape from the burden of reality, an invitation onto an adventure guided by words. With her passion for bringing together a community within Birmingham, she aims to become a voice for those unheard.

Feel free to chat to her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ayshahahaha

Or connect with her on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/aysha-begum/7a/2a0/11a

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Fly On The Wall - Post 1

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Fly On The Wall - Post 1

See the original Red Brick article here.

 

Welcome to our bi-weekly blog on the activities and news of Fourth Wall!

 

Every other week, in partnership with the Redbrick Arts team at the University of Birmingham, we will be posting a mini-blog/diary about what we’ve been up to help enlighten you about the world of a start up arts organization.

 

Fourth Wall is a social enterprise based in Birmingham that provides the opportunity for aspiring artistic practitioners to set up their own theatre company, and connects budding actors and actresses to the company right for them.

 

Basically, what this means is we work with students, freelancers, community groups and a whole heap of other aspiring producers, providing all the support, training and resources they need to set up their own theatre company. We want each company to create top theatre, but, importantly, have clear social impact.

 

We’ll be using this space to tell you about what things are in progress or are coming up in the next few months, as well as what we’re currently up to. We’ll be providing insight into our humble startup as if you were a fly on the wall (see what we did there).

 

The good thing about what we do is that we cover multiple areas of the arts – from business to acting, project management to running workshops – and we thought this might be relevant to some students at UoB (if you’re reading this, that’s a good sign!).

 

A sneak peak: we are very excited to tell you about some work we are doing with The Arches Project, an arts-based social project in Digbeth. We have had initial discussions with them, signed a contract, and are now working with them to launch their own company. Watch this space – we’ll be telling you more about this soon………!

 

You can find out more on Twitter (www.twitter.com/FourthWall_TN), on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/fourthwalltheatrenetwork), and on our website (www.fourthwalltheatre.co.uk). We’ve just got on the Instagram (www.instragram.com/FourthWall_TN) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/fourthwalllpin) hype, so help us out and give us a follow!

And check back next week to go behind the curtain as we start launching our new projects!

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Writers' Relay 2 (Instalment 1) - Katrice Horsley - Theme: "If Something Was Missing, This Would Be It"

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Writers' Relay 2 (Instalment 1) - Katrice Horsley - Theme: "If Something Was Missing, This Would Be It"

This post is the first of four instalments for the story 'If Something Was Missing, This Would Be It'. 

 

 

 

 

I suppose the main problem is that everybody views the world from behind their faces, behind their eyes. Everyone thinks that what they see is what everybody else see’s, but of course that is not true.

 

Try it now, go on, close your eyes and think of the letter ‘a’ – have you thought, have you seen it there in your mind? So was it red, green, yellow, black on a white background, white on a black background? You ask others, they will see it differently to you, so how do you know if something is missing if you do not know what is there in the first place.

 

The first time I knew that my world was different was when I was about 8 and I choked on a word, I mean, literally choked on a word. It was big and lumpy and I had not had it in my mouth before. The word was ‘clompy’. I gagged on its fullness, it’s chewiness, it’s rubber texture. My mother hit my back with her hand, thinking it was food I had swallowed, but it was that word, caught in the back of my throat. I tried to tell her.

 

“Nousha, Nousha,” she cried. As soon as she said my name, the shape disappeared and I was left with tiny sandy pebbles rolling over and over on my tongue. I loved the way my name felt in my mouth. I smiled, my mother looked relieved, the furrows of concern disappearing from around the blue grey of her eyes. She bent and kissed me. I told her that the word had tried to choke me, she rubbed by head, “ You are a funny mick,” she smiled and I knew from her look that she did not have words that choked her.

 

From that moment on I tried to steer clear of certain words, I would put my fingers into my ears often and when I read I tried to think and not say the words, not hear them because hearing them meant that they were there on my tongue, against my teeth, arching against the roof of my mouth, lying along the centre of my tongue. As the years passed my tongue developed the dexterity to accommodate new textures, new words, new shapes and I started to talk more, however I knew, I knew that other people did experience the world in the way I did.

 

Not every person realized that they were missing what somebody else had. So I started my quest, my quest to find out how experience is experienced.  Luckily I had done well academically and had a natural flair for languages, (Spanish is like sherbert, French flaccid and wet, Arabic is a thin membrane of heat on the back of my throat, like the back breath of a good single malt.) and so I started my travels, I had a research fellowship from Birmingham University, the world was my oyster.......

 

 

 

Writers' Relay 2 | Post 1

Writer: Katrice Horsley

Profile: Katrice Horsley is the National Storytelling Laureate. She use narratives the explore the real and imagined worlds that we inhabit and works around the globe as a narrative consultant and performer.

 

She believes we make sense of the world through the stories we choose to hear about ourselves and the stories we choose to share. her aim is to peel away the social constructs that make people feel inadequate and enable them to become the narrators of their own lives.

 

 

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Writers' Relay 1 - Final Story - "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

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Writers' Relay 1 - Final Story - "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

The below short story was written by four separate writers, each writing 500 words. The writers ranged in experience, age, background and gender. They wrote them at different times, in different locations, and with different ideas about where the story was going. Together, however, they created a character, context, conflict and hints at a wider plot that could further be explored. 

 

Thank you to Lewis Bates, Joshua Elliot, Shannon Birch and Carl Sealeaf for contributing.

 

Here's our first writers' relay. We hope you enjoy it!

 

 

 

Dean felt the cold gravel pressed against his cheek. Opening his eyes, he pushed the ground away from his body, lifting himself to his knees. Deans mind whirled. His body swayed. The alley was dark but for the opening to his right that was flooded by a blinding streetlight. Dean took a deep breathe. Streetlights meant roads. Roads meant people. People meant a brief moment of safety before She returned.

 

He pressed his hand against the chill of the brickwork to his left. Shifting weight from left hand to right foot, Dean brought himself to one knee. With another deep breathe, he lifted to a stand. Gravel rolled from his cheekbone, as the wind caught the warm flux leaking from his eyebrow. No time to worry about that. He began toward the light. White hot pain shot through his Achilles with each stride of his left foot. No time to worry about that.

 

The streetlights were further burning his retinas with every step. As he inched closer, the tear of car tyres on wet Tarmac filled the night air. Dean came to the end of the alley, shot glances left, right, and one over his shoulder, before coming to rest against a shop wall parallel to the road. He reached with his hand toward his coat pocket, but the haze filling his mind made the unfastening of the button seem cryptic. Eventually it gave, and in dug his hand searching for the cold of his mobile. Got it. In his hurry, it was unlocked before it had left the warmth of his pocket, and already in his contacts. The screen blurred as he scrolled through the names, stopping at 'M'.

 

Phone pressed against his ear, Dean took this chance to take in the streets activity. People filtered in and out of shops, laughing and joking, last minute Christmas gifts and clutch purses in hand.
"You have reached the voicemail service for-", Deans dejected head fell back against the wall, wanting to avoid the monotony of the automated voice.
"Hi mom, it's only me.... I won't be home for Mass tonight, but I'll be there in the morning". He did his best to sound breezy, but he wasn't so sure. He didn't want her to worry. He hated it when she worried.
"See you", and with that he clicked end call, and slid the phone back into his pocket. 

 

Not sure which way to turn, he headed left, where a young family had just exited a toy shop. He limped his way down the street, doing his utmost to ignore the pain. Every few steps he shot a glance over his right shoulder, praying she wouldn't be there. He beheld the black canvas of night overhead with his mind on his phone call. Mom was usually in bed exhausted before the light had left the sky. Through pursed lips Dean prayed that was the case. And smiled at the thought of mom.

 

The feeling of nostalgia deserted him as a figure...

 

 

... of eight formed in the black sky, a lone string of stars twisting into two knotted eyes. She was back.

 

The cold gravel felt Dean pressed against it. The wall curled its brick lip. The streetlights watched him walk beneath them. The wet, tearing tarmac took one upward look at Dean and turned to hot sticky liquid, clinging to the soles of his feet. Dean started to limp/run through the crowds and the Christmas shopping, losing his phone in the crush. She had control over everything; the city was hers. The pavement was on her side; widening the cracks between its separate slabs, snapping at his heels. The walls too; shifting, making a maze of streets Dean once knew. Windows spat glass at him as he ran and a streetlamp sprung like a scorpion tail, narrowly missing his back. Every inanimate part of the city was a means for his murder. She had turned Birmingham against him, causing it to fold in on itself and collapse around Dean. The eyes in the night sky twinkled in sadistic delight.

 

‘Impossible’ thought Dean.

 

The shifting streets had led him back to the toy shop, to the crowd of Christmas shoppers and the boiling, aqueous road. What struck Dean first was the silence… then the crowd turned to face him, unanimous. In every socket in every head there was a black night sky and in every black night sky there was a star in the place of a pupil; every one of them trained on Dean. Now, not only were the material parts of the city against him but the crowd too, their eyes replaced with Hers. The bags dropped from their hands, already outstretching towards him. The Bullring followed suit, the scaled back of Selfridges rising and writhing as the architecture of the city continued its crawl towards Dean.

 

He thought of Mom again and ran into the nearest phone box. He dialed the number he knew off by heart. Again the machine answered for her.

 

‘You have reached the voicemail service for – ’

 

‘Mom. Mom, it’s me. It’s Dean again. Don’t go outside. Whatever you do, don’t go outside. Forget the shopping. Forget Christmas. Don’t. Go. Out –’

 

Dean screamed; blood filled his ear. He ripped the phone handset from the side of his face, its newly-formed teeth snapping. The cord of the telephone writhed, wrapping around him like a snake. The glass panels of the phone box shattered as its walls closed in on Dean. The accumulated sounds of the city seemed to bubble over into a prolonged, diabolical giggle. She looked down on Dean and...

 

....as if in pity backed away. The buildings that had once looked down on him ready to tear him limb from limb, crawled and writhed back to their posts. Their eyes still fixated on Deans shaking body. Blood, thick and warm trickled down Dean’s neck, but he didn’t care, his eyes were fixated on his surroundings.

 

A dark sickness rose in the pit of his stomach causing him to launch forwards into a world of darkness as his stomach threw out everything it once owned. His throat stinging, he wiped his mouth, his eyes watering as he took in his new surroundings. He was in a room with glowing red lights creating a dark cascade on the far side.
“What the-“ his words were cut off by a door crashing open behind him, he turned expecting to see someone there, waiting for him. But no one was there, a dark corridor was all that lay before him. The cold air was crawling its way out of the corridor sucking the warmth out of the room he was in, his throat dry Dean looked around. He was certain the darkness was getting closer, but maybe it was just his mind playing tricks. After all, buildings coming to life and attacking him, his phone biting his ear, none of that could have really happened? Things like that just don’t exist. Do they? Dean could feel the panic in the back of his mind trickling through his body, his palms sweating, his knees shaking. He couldn’t control it now, his heart was racing and his mind was spinning. What he had once thought impossible was possible.                  
“Pull yourself together Dean,” he muttered shaking his head. The corridor was beckoning him, as if some force was pulling him like a magnet towards it. He took one step forward…

 

“Wake up! Sir, Wake up!” A voice shouted, a hand tugged on Dean’s shoulder pulling him back into his reality. He was in Birmingham, as he turned his head he felt the dry blood pull at the hairs on his neck. Wincing he looked around himself, the city was burning. A man sat on his heels his dark eyes penetrating Deans.
“Gave us a scare then, friend,” his voice had a tint of an accent Dean couldn’t quite place. But while he was eager to know who this new person was, he couldn’t keep his eyes away from the figure that hovered above them in the sky. The city was burning. Getting to his feet, slowly and with the help of the man, Dean put a hand to his head. He was still bleeding.

 

“My phone –“
“It’s gone, it scurried off when they all went back to normal,” the man gestured to the buildings, his face blank as he returned Deans stare.
“But my mom-“
“Won’t have any idea,” was his short reply as he began to walk away.
“But-“
“Are you coming?”
“Who are you?” Dean asked. The man paused in his step...

 

 

... “Sir?” he asked warily.

 

Dean kept quiet. There was nothing familiar about this man, nothing he recognised in his features or his clothes or his eyes. Still, he registered the concern in his voice. Compassion. Something cultivated over years, perhaps.

 

“Have you started forgetting again sir?” he asked, more urgently this time. Panic blossomed in the stranger's eyes.

 

“Christ, she's back in your head, isn't she?” There was a tremble in his voice now. He unclipped a walkie-talkie from his belt. “Oh God Dean, I'm so sorry. I'm so goddamn sorry.”

 

Dean ran on impulse. His mind was still sluggish and blurred, but at least his body worked. The pain in his legs was gone, but he had no idea where he was running to, or from. If only he had time to think! If only the space between strides was enough for him to start piecing together what was happening to him.

 

The slow hum of a helicopter and approaching shouts filled his senses, along with a growing sense of panic. There was smoke now, and even less space to think. Less space to stand. Something in the gas. His limbs started failing him, dragging him to the floor. A face hovered above him, full of compassion, then he blacked out.

 

Dean awoke with his back against a hard, cold surface. His arms and legs were strapped down, but he was otherwise unharmed. He was surrounded by a swarm of people; men in uniform, women, children. Next to him worked a doctor.

 

He spoke slowly and gravely. “I know you can't remember me right now, Sir, but I need you to trust me. She has broken into your mind. Soon, your thoughts will be hers, your body will be hers, and you will die. Do you understand?”

 

Dean nodded.

 

“Good. Now, this is a sedative. It will render you unconscious long enough to confront her, but beyond this we cannot help you. Kill her, or be killed. Good luck.”

 

There was a pain in his arm, then he was under again.

 

“Hello dear.”

 

Dean bolted awake. Everywhere was white. Every wall, every floor-to-ceiling column, even the air. Nothing cast a shadow, except Dean. Shimmering in the centre of the room, with skin that burned with light; eyes like stars, was her. She flashed a brilliant smile, and her teeth were diamonds.

 

“You don't look happy to see me, honey. But then, I suppose you don't remember me, do you?”

 

Dean trembled. “Oh, I remember enough.”

 

She laughed, and the air shattered like glass. Dean's body was freed, and he found himself bounding towards her. He reached into his pocket, searching for a knife. His phone vibrated against his hand. “I'll kill you, I swear I'll end this!”

 

She smiled, and he plunged the knife into her. She folded, skin turning an oily grey, and lay in a pile at his feet. His phone buzzed.

 

Her voice was singing glass. “Hello dear.”

 

 

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Writers' Relay 1 (Instalment 4) - Carl Sealeaf - Theme: "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

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Writers' Relay 1 (Instalment 4) - Carl Sealeaf - Theme: "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

This post is the fourth of four instalments for the story 'One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World'. See the first instalment to this story here, see the second instalment to this story here, then see the third instalment to this story here.

 

 

 

 

......... “Sir?” he asked warily.

 

Dean kept quiet. There was nothing familiar about this man, nothing he recognised in his features or his clothes or his eyes. Still, he registered the concern in his voice. Compassion. Something cultivated over years, perhaps.

 

“Have you started forgetting again sir?” he asked, more urgently this time. Panic blossomed in the stranger's eyes.

 

“Christ, she's back in your head, isn't she?” There was a tremble in his voice now. He unclipped a walkie-talkie from his belt. “Oh God Dean, I'm so sorry. I'm so goddamn sorry.”

 

Dean ran on impulse. His mind was still sluggish and blurred, but at least his body worked. The pain in his legs was gone, but he had no idea where he was running to, or from. If only he had time to think! If only the space between strides was enough for him to start piecing together what was happening to him.

 

The slow hum of a helicopter and approaching shouts filled his senses, along with a growing sense of panic. There was smoke now, and even less space to think. Less space to stand. Something in the gas. His limbs started failing him, dragging him to the floor. A face hovered above him, full of compassion, then he blacked out.

 

Dean awoke with his back against a hard, cold surface. His arms and legs were strapped down, but he was otherwise unharmed. He was surrounded by a swarm of people; men in uniform, women, children. Next to him worked a doctor.

 

He spoke slowly and gravely. “I know you can't remember me right now, Sir, but I need you to trust me. She has broken into your mind. Soon, your thoughts will be hers, your body will be hers, and you will die. Do you understand?”

 

Dean nodded.

 

“Good. Now, this is a sedative. It will render you unconscious long enough to confront her, but beyond this we cannot help you. Kill her, or be killed. Good luck.”

 

There was a pain in his arm, then he was under again.

 

“Hello dear.”

 

Dean bolted awake. Everywhere was white. Every wall, every floor-to-ceiling column, even the air. Nothing cast a shadow, except Dean. Shimmering in the centre of the room, with skin that burned with light; eyes like stars, was her. She flashed a brilliant smile, and her teeth were diamonds.

 

“You don't look happy to see me, honey. But then, I suppose you don't remember me, do you?”

 

Dean trembled. “Oh, I remember enough.”

 

She laughed, and the air shattered like glass. Dean's body was freed, and he found himself bounding towards her. He reached into his pocket, searching for a knife. His phone vibrated against his hand. “I'll kill you, I swear I'll end this!”

 

She smiled, and he plunged the knife into her. She folded, skin turning an oily grey, and lay in a pile at his feet. His phone buzzed.

 

Her voice was singing glass. “Hello dear.”

 

 

 

Writers' Relay 1 | Post 4

Writer: Carl Sealeaf

Profile:  Carl Sealeaf is a Birmingham-based spoken word artist, and has performed at gigs and festivals up and down the country. He is a graduate of the Cannon Hill Collective and Creative Space Residency artist development programmes at mac, has been commissioned by Capital Theatre Festival and Apples and Snakes to produce short pieces of spoken word theatre. He is currently working on his first solo show and works for the arts organisation Beatfreeks.

 

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Writers' Relay 1 (Instalment 3) - Shannon Birch - Theme: "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

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Writers' Relay 1 (Instalment 3) - Shannon Birch - Theme: "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

This post is the third of four instalments for the story 'One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World'. See the first instalment to this story here, and see the second instalment to this story here.

 

 

 

............ And as if in pity backed away. The buildings that had once looked down on him ready to tear him limb from limb, crawled and writhed back to their posts. Their eyes still fixated on Deans shaking body. Blood, thick and warm trickled down Dean’s neck, but he didn’t care, his eyes were fixated on his surroundings.

 

A dark sickness rose in the pit of his stomach causing him to launch forwards into a world of darkness as his stomach threw out everything it once owned. His throat stinging, he wiped his mouth, his eyes watering as he took in his new surroundings. He was in a room with glowing red lights creating a dark cascade on the far side.
“What the-“ his words were cut off by a door crashing open behind him, he turned expecting to see someone there, waiting for him. But no one was there, a dark corridor was all that lay before him. The cold air was crawling its way out of the corridor sucking the warmth out of the room he was in, his throat dry Dean looked around. He was certain the darkness was getting closer, but maybe it was just his mind playing tricks. After all, buildings coming to life and attacking him, his phone biting his ear, none of that could have really happened? Things like that just don’t exist. Do they? Dean could feel the panic in the back of his mind trickling through his body, his palms sweating, his knees shaking. He couldn’t control it now, his heart was racing and his mind was spinning. What he had once thought impossible was possible.                  
“Pull yourself together Dean,” he muttered shaking his head. The corridor was beckoning him, as if some force was pulling him like a magnet towards it. He took one step forward…

 

“Wake up! Sir, Wake up!” A voice shouted, a hand tugged on Dean’s shoulder pulling him back into his reality. He was in Birmingham, as he turned his head he felt the dry blood pull at the hairs on his neck. Wincing he looked around himself, the city was burning. A man sat on his heels his dark eyes penetrating Deans.
“Gave us a scare then, friend,” his voice had a tint of an accent Dean couldn’t quite place. But while he was eager to know who this new person was, he couldn’t keep his eyes away from the figure that hovered above them in the sky. The city was burning. Getting to his feet, slowly and with the help of the man, Dean put a hand to his head. He was still bleeding.

 

“My phone –“
“It’s gone, it scurried off when they all went back to normal,” the man gestured to the buildings, his face blank as he returned Deans stare.
“But my mom-“
“Won’t have any idea,” was his short reply as he began to walk away.
“But-“
“Are you coming?”
“Who are you?” Dean asked. The man paused in his step...........

 

 

 

Writers' Relay 1 | Post 3

Writer: Shannon Birch

Profile:  Shannon Birch, is a sixth form student at Colmers Sixth Form, and 17 years of age. Studying History, English, Biology and Psychology and planning to go into Sport Science at University to become a PE Teacher. Shannon has also cycled the length of Britain (1067 miles) for Gold Duke of Edinburgh.
Shannon is an aspiring writer, and has had 2 short stories published in magazines. She is currently working on her first novel which has taken her four years to create, write, edit... and write a bit more. Finally, she is a current member of Fourth Wall: Northfield and a fantastic actress!

 

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Writers' Relay 1 (Instalment 2) - Joshua Elliot - Theme: "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

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Writers' Relay 1 (Instalment 2) - Joshua Elliot - Theme: "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

This post is the second of four instalments for the story 'One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World'. See the first instalment to this story here.

 

 

 

....... of eight formed in the black sky, a lone string of stars twisting into two knotted eyes. She was back.

 

The cold gravel felt Dean pressed against it. The wall curled its brick lip. The streetlights watched him walk beneath them. The wet, tearing tarmac took one upward look at Dean and turned to hot sticky liquid, clinging to the soles of his feet. Dean started to limp/run through the crowds and the Christmas shopping, losing his phone in the crush. She had control over everything; the city was hers. The pavement was on her side; widening the cracks between its separate slabs, snapping at his heels. The walls too; shifting, making a maze of streets Dean once knew. Windows spat glass at him as he ran and a streetlamp sprung like a scorpion tail, narrowly missing his back. Every inanimate part of the city was a means for his murder. She had turned Birmingham against him, causing it to fold in on itself and collapse around Dean. The eyes in the night sky twinkled in sadistic delight.

 

‘Impossible’ thought Dean.

 

The shifting streets had led him back to the toy shop, to the crowd of Christmas shoppers and the boiling, aqueous road. What struck Dean first was the silence… then the crowd turned to face him, unanimous. In every socket in every head there was a black night sky and in every black night sky there was a star in the place of a pupil; every one of them trained on Dean. Now, not only were the material parts of the city against him but the crowd too, their eyes replaced with Hers. The bags dropped from their hands, already outstretching towards him. The Bullring followed suit, the scaled back of Selfridges rising and writhing as the architecture of the city continued its crawl towards Dean.

 

He thought of Mom again and ran into the nearest phone box. He dialed the number he knew off by heart. Again the machine answered for her.

 

‘You have reached the voicemail service for – ’

 

‘Mom. Mom, it’s me. It’s Dean again. Don’t go outside. Whatever you do, don’t go outside. Forget the shopping. Forget Christmas. Don’t. Go. Out –’

 

Dean screamed; blood filled his ear. He ripped the phone handset from the side of his face, its newly-formed teeth snapping. The cord of the telephone writhed, wrapping around him like a snake. The glass panels of the phone box shattered as its walls closed in on Dean. The accumulated sounds of the city seemed to bubble over into a prolonged, diabolical giggle. She looked down on Dean and…......


 

 


Writers' Relay 1 | Post 2

Writer: Joshua Elliot

Profile: Joshua Elliott has an undergraduate degree in English and Theatre Studies from the University of Warwick and is currently a student on the M.Res Playwriting Studies programme at the University of Birmingham, for which he was awarded the AHRC/BGP Professional Preparation Masters Award in Dance, Drama and Theatre Arts. He has had his work performed in the West Midlands and Warwickshire and is a recent graduate of the Lyric Hammersmith’s Writers’ Programme.

In addition to his work for the theatre, Joshua has scripted treatments and screenplays for organizations venturing to use film to affect social change. In this capacity, Joshua’s clients have included registered domestic violence charities Tender and Respect, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the UK government’s Department of Health.

 

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Writers' Relay 1 (Instalment 1) - Lewis Bates - Theme: "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

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Writers' Relay 1 (Instalment 1) - Lewis Bates - Theme: "One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World"

This post is the first of four instalments for the story 'One Guy's Dystopia In A Seemingly Peaceful World'. 

 

Dean felt the cold gravel pressed against his cheek. Opening his eyes, he pushed the ground away from his body, lifting himself to his knees. Deans mind whirled. His body swayed. The alley was dark but for the opening to his right that was flooded by a blinding streetlight. Dean took a deep breathe. Streetlights meant roads. Roads meant people. People meant a brief moment of safety before She returned.

 

He pressed his hand against the chill of the brickwork to his left. Shifting weight from left hand to right foot, Dean brought himself to one knee. With another deep breathe, he lifted to a stand. Gravel rolled from his cheekbone, as the wind caught the warm flux leaking from his eyebrow. No time to worry about that. He began toward the light. White hot pain shot through his Achilles with each stride of his left foot. No time to worry about that.

 

The streetlights were further burning his retinas with every step. As he inched closer, the tear of car tyres on wet Tarmac filled the night air. Dean came to the end of the alley, shot glances left, right, and one over his shoulder, before coming to rest against a shop wall parallel to the road. He reached with his hand toward his coat pocket, but the haze filling his mind made the unfastening of the button seem cryptic. Eventually it gave, and in dug his hand searching for the cold of his mobile. Got it. In his hurry, it was unlocked before it had left the warmth of his pocket, and already in his contacts. The screen blurred as he scrolled through the names, stopping at 'M'.

 

Phone pressed against his ear, Dean took this chance to take in the streets activity. People filtered in and out of shops, laughing and joking, last minute Christmas gifts and clutch purses in hand.
"You have reached the voicemail service for-", Deans dejected head fell back against the wall, wanting to avoid the monotony of the automated voice.
"Hi mom, it's only me.... I won't be home for Mass tonight, but I'll be there in the morning". He did his best to sound breezy, but he wasn't so sure. He didn't want her to worry. He hated it when she worried.
"See you", and with that he clicked end call, and slid the phone back into his pocket. 

 

Not sure which way to turn, he headed left, where a young family had just exited a toy shop. He limped his way down the street, doing his utmost to ignore the pain. Every few steps he shot a glance over his right shoulder, praying she wouldn't be there. He beheld the black canvas of night overhead with his mind on his phone call. Mom was usually in bed exhausted before the light had left the sky. Through pursed lips Dean prayed that was the case. And smiled at the thought of mom.

 

The feeling of nostalgia deserted him as a figure............

 

 

Writers' Relay 1 | Post 1

Writer: Lewis Bates

Profile: Our first post for our first writers' relay comes from our very own Lewis Bates. Lewis is one of the Managing Directors at Fourth Wall and a talented actor, writer and director. Notable roles include Marc Anthony in 'Anythony and Cleopatra', Ariel in 'The Tempest', King Henry V in 'Henry V', Tybalt in 'Romeo and Juliet' as well as Judd in 'Bouncers'. As well as working at Fourth Wall, he is part of a touring theatre company called The Base Tikes and is a qualified personal trainer!

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The Launch of Our Writers' Relay

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The Launch of Our Writers' Relay

Today we launch a new project that is being ran and managed by our interns.

 

A writers' relay is a story that is written by a number of different authors. As with a relay race, at a certain moment the metaphoric 'baton' is passed on to the next writer, who continues the story where the previous person ended.

 

The aim is simple - to connect people of different ages, backgrounds and ethnicities together through storytelling. Whether you're a professional writer or someone starting out, an OAP or a student, English or Brazilian, you can contribute to weaving a story that transcends time and space.

 

We want to encourage artistic expression, collaboration and create opportunities for those who have always dreamed about putting pen to paper, but have never had an outlet for their work, or a reason to do so.

 

The short stories will be brought together and performed at a new monthly 'Scratch Night' (coming 2014), and will be published in a book each year.

 

Our rules for the Writers' Relay are simple:

- We have 4 writers per story

- A new writer's work will be post every two weeks (the second and fourth Friday of each month)

- The writer must write 500 words then stop - regardless of whether he/she is mid-sentence or not

- Each story will be prompted by a stimulus, theme or idea

 

If you want to take part, do not hesitate to get in contact. Simply email info@fourthwalltheatre.co.uk with the subject header 'Writers Relay'.

 

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Introducing... Fourth Wall

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Introducing... Fourth Wall

 

The Fourth Wall Theatre Network has gone through some changes. Here’s the lowdown.


First and foremost, we’re now simply called ‘Fourth Wall’. ‘What? That wasn’t what you were called before?!’ I hear you cry. There are a number of reasons for this, but most importantly we wanted a brand that was sharp and snappy. Fourth Wall Theatre Network was useful in telling people what we were, but we feel we’ve got past that stage and need something more professional and succinct. Plus, most people just said ‘Fourth Wall’ anyway. 

For those who have always wondered ‘why Fourth Wall’.... Picture a stage. It (usually) has a wall either side, then a wall at the back. The fourth wall is the invisible ‘wall’ between an actor/actress and his/her audience. We as an organization are about breaking through that fourth wall – reaching out off the stage and into the community to create truly wonderful and unique drama. Feel enlightened people!

Secondly, our logo has changed. We were not going for a complete brand overhaul. The general ‘feel’ of the company has remained the same, but the new logo is necessary to tie with the new name. What you think?

Thirdly, and probably most importantly, we as an organization have redefined our focus. We have always wanted to support aspiring arts practitioners in setting up their own company. Because of this, we’ve decided to make that our primary focus. Young actors, freelance producers, graduates – anyone with the necessary skills and right mindset – can set up a theatre company as a franchise of Fourth Wall. We then connect actors of all ages (see below) to the company right for them.

Fourthly, we are not just working with young people. As an organization we are still ridiculously passionate about creating opportunities and raising aspirations of young people – but it’s not just under 18 year olds who need this kind of support. Watch this space for our first 18+ company launching very soon!

This means something. It means that we’re growing. We’re changing. We’re evolving. And you can be part of that.  

 

Daniel Bridgewater, Founder and CEO of Fourth Wall

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