University of Bedfordshire Senior Scriptwriting Lecturer Toby Norways has been named one of five winners of the national screenwriting competition ‘Twisted Tales in Lockdown’.
The competition, hosted by ‘Owdyado - a touring theatre company based in Cornwall, known for producing darkly comic dramas - challenged writers to pen a five-minute ‘twisted’ audio drama based on the theme of ‘isolation’.
Toby’s script, titled ’10 Items or Less’, was one of five to be selected from 335 entries and will now be recorded and produced by the ‘Owdyado team.
Toby, who joined our School of Culture and Communications in 2013 said: “It’s always gratifying to be selected as a winner from a large field of entries.”
“I’m always on the lookout for suitable competitions, for both myself and my students. To beat the odds you need to have faith in your ideas and have a thick skin. Your ideas will face rejection much more often than success’.
Charlotte Bister, Co-Artistic Director of ‘Owdyado said: “We really liked the idea of running a competition, firstly to provide an opportunity to other creatives who needed something fun to do in the lockdown, and secondly, it was a good opportunity to find new talent”.
The competition received submissions from all across the country, showcasing a wide range of voices and (dark) imaginations. Having written many short stories and film scripts, as well as teaching students at the Luton Campus, Toby could draw upon his experience to navigate the challenges.
“5 minutes is a very short amount of time to tell a complete story, with a beginning, middle and end”, he said. “Any short form of writing requires succinctness and precision, and the writer needs to create an intriguing or compelling character,”
‘Ten Items or Less’ is about a supermarket cashier that gains insight into customers’ lives by observing their mundane purchases. The cashier begins to have suspicions abut one particular customer, who conceals a dark secret.
Toby said: “I took a more lateral approach to the theme of isolation, focusing on a protagonist who feels isolated at work. However, the isolation she experiences at her checkout till drives her creative imagination.
As well as winning a £500 prize, Toby will now get to hear his script come to life in the form of an audio drama performed by the ‘Owdyado cast.
Charlotte Bister said: “Performance-wise, the script does a lot of the work. It’s written as an inner monologue in a naturalistic style and the quality of the writing means that the actor doesn’t have to ‘force’ anything to make the script work”.
Toby’s fellow winners are the scripts ‘My, Myself & A.I’ by Liam Kelly, ‘Mother Lode’ by Adam Elms, ‘The Undertaking’ by John Paul Jones and ‘Mouse’ by Charlotte Cromie.
The School of Culture and Communications offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. To find out more about our creative writing options at the University of Bedfordshire please visit https://www.beds.ac.uk/howtoapply/departments/culture-and-communications/creative-writing/
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