Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated with words as a means to express myself through the medium of storytelling. At Primary School my teacher Mr. Baldridge allowed me to direct the whole class in a short story I had written about explorers in the Amazon jungle. In my late teens I formed an amateur drama group along with other young people from various churches in my home town of Darlington. We performed in churches, community halls, fetes and even some street theatre. The majority of the material was either written by me or adapted from other sources.
When myself and other members of the group got married we drifted apart, but I continued to write short drama sketches that the youth at the church I attended performed on special occasions. Then came a big leap forward…
Not long after turning thirty I was approached by local Christian organisations to form a Theatre in Education company to tour local schools and take Christian themed assemblies, Religious Education classes and various workshops. Over a seven year period we regularly visited 20-30 schools in an academic year and had contact with 10,000 plus children and young people. We used a variety of mediums; puppets, drama sketches, magic tricks, visual aids, story boards. Again the majority of the material we used was either written by myself or adapted from original sources.
Following a career as a social worker, I returned to college to take a diploma in Performing Arts and studied acting, dance and singing. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the course, as a side-line I wrote two drama plays ‘Fabrication’ and ‘Ball’s Up’ that were entered in consecutive years as part of the National Student Drama Festival. They were both performed before an appreciative audience and I remember both of my drama tutors having words with me on separate occasions, both said “you make a better writer than an actor.”
From there I was accepted onto the MA in ‘Screenwriting for Television & Film’ at the ‘Northern Film School,’ Leeds, UK. I immersed myself in the art of screenwriting, the medium I am most comfortable with. To assist with the cost of my MA I was given a bursary by Channel Four for students who demonstrated industry potential.
Since graduating I have been supported by the former UK Film Council, Northern Film & Media and the multi-award-winning TV production company Tiger Aspect. Of the eight screenplays and two TV drama series I have written, I have been optioned six times and have had the privilege to have my work in development with several production companies including Factor Films, Hurricane Films, Jeep productions and Rotunda Films and met on my travels and various meetings some truly inspiring people.
To date I continue to write and hope to see the publication of my first novel, ‘Da Vinci’s Last Supper: The Forgotten Tale’ early in 2019. The novel is based upon a screenplay I wrote, and after being persuaded by industry friends that the idea deserved a novel I adapted the novel from the screenplay, fully aware that in most instances it is the other way around. Without giving too much away the story is based upon Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic painting ‘The Last Supper.’ The story is a heady mix of religious and political intrigue, bodice ripping, violence, murder and redemption.